The big lie says progress is good
We have come to accept it as the natural way of things
Frank Smith is a farmer and retired teacher who lives with his wife on a small farm west of Lindsay. He enjoys gardening, riding horses and cycling.
When I was young and wanted a drink, I went to the kitchen sink, poured myself a glass of water and drank. In those days, it never occurred to me that the water might be contaminated; I just drank. There is something in the act of drinking water out of the tap without a second thought that makes it one of faith. Everywhere you look today, that faith is being lost, with terrible consequences to society.
Currently, one-third of the world’s population lacks access to clean, safe water. By 2025, that number will have grown to half of the world’s population according to the World Health Organization. We know that we are responsible for this inequity, but since that knowledge is too great a burden to carry, we deny it. Yet, our insatiable desire for things requires others to pay for our pleasures. That was our reason for creating The Big Lie in the first place.
The Big Lie says that what we make is good. The things we make have value in that they create the money that feeds progress and progress is, by definition, good. What God makes, however, is called raw materials which have no value until we sacrifice them to progress.
Therefore, water’s only value is for fracking or removing toxic waste from industries and cities; food’s only value is for engineering either genetically modified pseudo-food products or junk food for the snack counter; air only serves as the reservoir of all the pollution that our smokestacks disgorge. Thousand-year-old trees are no more than lumber, and mountains only exist for minerals. We know progress is a lie, but we have come to accept it as the natural way of things, even though we have also come to fear that there is no safety for us or for our children anymore. No peace, no joy — just endless service to progress.
Rather than trusting the water that comes out of the tap, water that our health authorities have deemed safe, we have fostered a $306-billion bottled water industry in this world that sells more than 365 billion plastic bottles of water each year, or one million bottles a minute. Every year, billions of these used bottles end up in the ocean, out of sight and out of mind. The choice government makes in this phenomenon is to feed bottling companies unlimited access to precious groundwater at almost no cost and with virtually no oversight.
Our addiction to things is so great that withdrawal seems impossible. Nevertheless, there are only four things that we really need. We must have clean, safe water; clean, safe food; clean, safe air; and a clean, safe place to live. Everything else is superfluous.
The distance back from the brink seems immense, but the first step is easy. Plant seeds. Care for them as you would care for your children. Watch a bean break through the earth. See it as a child would, filled with wonder at the magic of life.
Watering your garden can help you understand our collective need for clean, safe water. Tending it can heal your soul. Sharing the bounty can teach you our need for community. All of these acts throw back the veil under which The Big Lie flourishes, revealing it in all its weakness. Do this and you will find that your addiction for needful things has diminished, because when you tend to the healing, nature will do the rest.
–Frank Smith is a farmer and retired teacher who lives with his wife on a small farm west of Lindsay. He enjoys gardening, riding horses and cycling.