It was a warm summer night a few years ago, probably around 2am when I sat with some friends in my living room. I am blessed with friends from all over the world so our little meeting was quite international: friends from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Germany and Ghana were present and we discussed politics, economy, philosophy and the world’s condition all night. It can be a bit depressing talking about these deep topics since the world is far from being paradise. So, the mood was slightly thoughtful when my Namibian friend sighed and said, “Thinking about all the wrongs in this world that we cannot fix, I wish I could just unplug myself from the system, maybe build a hut somewhere in the forest next to a stream, being self-sufficient and living peacefully without hearing or thinking about all the cruelties in the world.” I am sure everyone has had this thought at least once since it can feel hopeless to deal with the things that go wrong. But my Nigerian friend answered: “You can do that and peacefully live there – until someone finds oil under your hut – and back you are in the system.”
The world is round, what goes around comes around. We are all connected to each other and cannot escape forever. It is a romantic thought and sometimes thinking about this “option” helps us get by in our day-to-day lives. But it is an illusion to think that we can unplug from the system. Even if we lived near a lake or a stream, being self-sufficient, as soon as a nuclear power plant somewhere explodes or industries dump their chemical waste into the waters, we are back in the system.
Many people nowadays daydream about life as a hermit, but what they must keep in mind is that their little paradise can only last if they do their part making the world a better place for all… otherwise they will be back sooner or later.