A Bum's Dream

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

I have this dream.  It's a bum's dream.  I read online about a man in Utah in the States who lives in a cave with no money.  Something in me soars at the idea.

Of course it's a utopian dream that the ground which we walk upon and which sustains us could be free, not fenced off into small commodities that people shore up into their bank accounts.

I know that will never happen.  And anyway, the songlines were broken up.  How else would a people live on this land when the songlines were broken up?  But nevertheless, dreaming is still free.

Living in a cave would be a crazy, wild and whacky thing to do, as far removed from my present reality as the thought of not having to pay a thousand bucks' rent a month, of having to do jobs I despise, of being paid to do things I like.  But everything changes, and strange things are realities.  Indeed, one of my best friends lived in a cave in Spain for eight months, hardly spending a cent, doing yoga in the sunrise.

I wonder if you lived in a cave in Buchan, or the Grampians, how long it would take for the authorities weed you out and move you on.  Back in the thirties in the Great Depression, itinerants set up camp in the land at the end of Dudley Street and along the Moonee Ponds Creek, over 60 humpies.  They flew under the radar until World War II because this area was considered a wasteland of sorts,  under nobody's jurisdiction.

What a grace the wastelands are.

The authorities do not like people to clutter up the landscape in this way today.  It gets in the way of tourism.  Cluttering up the landscape with your need is an ill-considered spectacle when there are housing estates that contain like-minded blocks with the same coloured roof tiles, their doors shut tight against each other.

I worked for several years in the CBD of Melbourne, transcribing court cases acted in by lawyers and presided over by strangely attired judges.  There were so many statutes and rules and sections of Acts to follow, handed down over the years, composed into tomes, that the situation right before them needed to conform into.  The most interesting conversations I had on the streets of Melbourne at that time were with a homeless woman with a penchant for philosophising who the cops harassed regularly for cluttering up the outsides of Flagstaff Station.  We sat on the ground together and ruminated on the nature of stuff.  She had irregular dreads, irregular teeth, an irregular psychology that kept her out there.  God, I loved my conversations with her.

She discovered, slowly, she was an artist in her preceding years living in the city.  She sold her art, beautiful, complex geometric patterns on black paper, drawn with gold or silver gel pen, drawn almost in a trance, soothing and smoothing out her soul somehow.

I have an overactive nervous system.  I have gone from one acronym to another, from CFS - chronic fatigue syndrome - to HSP - highly sensitive person.  It's just a label, something for me to discard on a deeper level, something helpful in other ways to understand this body I inhabit.  On a frazzled day, a visit to the shopping centre can send me almost spare, needing a good meditation session and a yoga session to boot, to recover me from the fluorescent lights, the plastic shit, the wafting anxiety of the people walking past to buy plastic shit, intent in the lie that they are different from, separate to, the other that they are hating in front of them, getting in their way.

I feel like I take in so much some days that it thumps my heart, floods my adrenals.  Too much.  I see too much, it revs up the circuitry.  Like a 5/4 rhythm composed upon a jangle of nerves.

That's how it is some days.  I think that's why the cave looks so good sometimes.  Less need for working as long, space to think, to ponder, to piece together, no rent.  Just as long as I had access to a shower, so the library would let me in to use their internet connection :)

The supermarket washing powder aisle was one traversed with bated breath when I was living in the previous acronym, CFS.  What they put in that shit I do not know, but the smell rammed itself in through my eyeballs and fuzzed up into my head.  No one is so dirty that they need to get that clean.  


  1. Hey there! Interesting read. You're a poet in your own right. I take it that neither one of us are fans of this money based system. That's probably an understatement though. If only the world would wake up the virtues and simple and yet profound truth that both Suelo and Jacque Fresco have both figured out in their own unique ways.

  2. there's a cave you can hire in the blue mountains as an alt accom type thing, and i once read of a guy who lives in a cave in nsw, somewhere around the hawksbury river i think...

    i so relate to the shopping centre reaction...have always been a bit that way myself, but since moving to the country we don't have any here, so when we get to the city it's a total overwhelm - an hour under those flour lights and i become a bear with a sore head

    and the washing powder aisle :-)))

    love your life observations

  3. Some days the desire to rid myself of the so called "creature comforts" that seem to consume my time and finances is overwhelming.

    I mean, cleaning, for instance...all these things we own that need to be cleaned on a daily basis...it seems so ridiculously redundant. And yet, it's perfectly normal.

    And the closed doors...that drives me crazy. When we bought our house it was because it was the biggest we could afford. Aside from that asinine decision, we bought a split level that is so completely removed from society because our living space is on the upper level. Now, it makes me feel isolated from my neighbors. Today, I hate it.

    Just rambling....

  4. Just to whet your appetite for low or zero dollar living, you might want to check out Dan Price, a modern-day hobbit: http://www.squidoo.com/danprice
    and our very own Mark Boyle, who started a community called Just for the Love of It and has been living money-free for a year: http://www.justfortheloveofit.org/blog-1371~my-impending-dilemma

  5. Blue Wandering - thank you :) I think many people *are* waking up. Or at least I try to remind myself of that often. It's easy to get sucked back under the water again, unfortunately, in this system, but on my more hopeful days where the clarity is, I do believe change is on its way. I haven't heard of Jacque Fresco. Thanks for mentioning him; looks like someone whose feet I could sit at and listen.

    Kel - you can hire a cave? I guess I'm not surprised :) I want one for free, though :) So what physical reactions do you have under the fluros? There are full spectrum strip lights you can get. Health Food Shop Ed has them in his shop, and they give off a nicer light without any of those awful physical effects.

    Erin - I agree, it's all perfectly "normal." And yet, that disconnect, that feeling that at some future point we will look back and shake our heads at how trapped we were in what was "normal." And how it drove so many of us insane.

    Tess - thanks a lot for those links. Mark Boyle I'm familiar with (his freeeconomy vision is great and stretches all the way round the world - pretty inspiring). Not familiar with Dan so thanks. It's funny, I don't think I could do this myself but I am completely and utterly inspired by the people who are - like, sorta whimsy-inducing wonder-inducing joy that bubbles up in my solar plexus. We are more free than we think :)

  6. the big shopping centre flouros make my eyes sore and red and usually trigger headaches (if I'm in them too long it can escalate to migraine territory)

    oh my ..... just looked up the link to that cave in the blue mountains and it's called Hatters Cave [the hatter is popping up everywhere now!]

  7. I think we don't realize how much our stuff clutters our life. In our journey with, in, to God, we are being transformed but housed in the same shell. Until we experience a new shell, we cannot understand how far the transformation has gone.

    I went to a silent retreat a few years ago and I found my bliss. My monkey mind had no trees to swing from so there were a few hours of utter anxiety and then I finally looked around and within. I saw that I needed nothing more than to be in this zone, this place with Him. And the physical of this world immediately became less important.

    I think the downside to this is that we can become so into this new place, that we don't want to be in the old place. I think that would just be molding ourselves into another shell. There has to be a place where they meet. They have to coexist for now.

  8. In the US in the Great Depression, those itinerant villages that would sprout up were usually called "Hoovervilles" after President Herbert Hoover who was in office when the Great Depression started (but only served one term due to his inability to pull the country out of the Great Depression).

    Your story reminds me a bit of the story of Christopher McCandless (the guy who the movie and the book, Into the Wild are about). He too had that "itch." To shrug off the restraints/shackles of wages and what not, to fend for himself in the wilds of Alaska.

  9. Kel - cool, thanks for that link.

    Jo - oh, isn't that excruciating, the monkey mind anxiety before it calms! Eek :) I agree, there is very little needed, in the end. But oh, I'm so glad you wrote your last paragraph - I feel sort of weird when people write about the physical becoming less important. It doesn't feel that way to me. I feel like I can remove myself from my body, from the earth, from my connection with all of that, and it disconnects me from God. I LOVE how the both coexist :)

    Perplexio - hi there, Darin :) I loved Into the Wild. There is such a pull in that direction for me, but I do not think I will ever go that way myself. I am fascinated and enamoured by those who do, however, and that movie just broke my heart.


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