Living in Another World

I’ve been in a real funk lately and feeling very disconnected from people. I have a physical ache in my chest and I can only describe it as a feeling of deep loneliness. Even though I’m surrounded by people, I want nothing more than to spend time with my family and given that we are isolated in another country, my family here equals Brendan and my dog Zoe. I haven’t been able to articulate what I’m feeling until I read this passage on Dave Pollard’s blog this morning. This very closely approximates what I’m feeling these days.

(H)aving rejected every notion of civilization culture, I no longer have anything to talk about with most people.

When I’m out in public I often listen to conversations, and what I hear is nothing but vapid time-wasting, echo-chamber reassurances, regurgitated propaganda, sob stories, unactionable rhetoric, appalling misinformation, self-aggrandizement, gossip, manipulation and denigration of others. I hear no new ideas or insights, no cogent discussion of how we can prepare for, and increase our resilience in the face of, the impending sixth great extinction and the economic, energy and ecological collapses that will push that extinction into overdrive and bring down the most expansive and least sustainable civilization in our species’ short history. And what else is worth talking about?

Yet, all around me, people who have not had the luxury of time and resources, as I have, to learn how the world really works, and what is really going on, and to imagine what we might do about it, and how we might live better, carry on as if nothing much is wrong and as if everything in our unsustainable and doomed culture somehow makes sense, and will somehow continue, and get better.

For much of my life I felt as if I were the one living in another, twilight world, shut off from everybody else, unable to make sense of, connect with and be part of the seemingly exciting world they lived in. But now I feel it is all these people, lost in illusion, who are in the twilight world, the one that makes no sense and has no substance. Part of me wants to rescue them, but part of me knows that they are not ready or able to listen, that their worldview is so utterly different from mine that it is as if we spoke unfathomably different languages.

There is a kind of comfort in learning so much, in being “too far ahead”, in knowing that I am more aware of the terrible truths of this world and of our time, than most people can or will ever be.
But it is a cold and lonely comfort, one suffused with grief and a sense of anomie, rootlessness, purposelessness, directionlessness. As I am reconnecting with all-life-on-Earth I am disconnecting from the culture I have known all my life, and all the people attached to it. It is a bleak and anti-social journey I am on, and knowing that it’s right, and inevitable, and will help me become nobody-but-myself again, is, at this frightening moment, small solace.

Photo by: gari.baldi


  1. Hi Mia,

    What can I say but: “welcome to my world”. My father is currently going through the same thing that you are (and I did some time ago). It’s no fun.

    Still, it lets you focus on the things that really matter and throw off the stuff that doesn’t. I think that Dave Pollard’s post is a nice summary of our situation.


  2. Oh, Mia, I am so there with you. I feel listless, depressed maybe, unmotivated, pointless and like something is missing… I have things to do, but no energy or drive. I wonder what is the point. I wonder is it all real? If there really is going to be economic, environmental & energy collapses… why are more people not aware of it? Why are the leaders & powers of the world not preparing?

    All this research & reading & thinking & worrying & planning & the basic preparing, I have done in the last 6 to 12 months… now I feel like maybe none of it is ‘real’, I was just getting caught up in it & egged on by what I was discovering. My husband is of the same mindset as me, maybe we’ve encouraged each other and got caught up in it? The more you read, the more you can justify the actions and it’s like you can seek out things which support your view, which carries it all along. Maybe if we just went back, somehow, to not knowing, we’d be fine and could live in blissful ignorance? I don’t blame other people for living the way they do, because they have been lead along that path and encouraged to support the economy, growth at all costs, bigger is better, there will always be more, more, more!

    The sacrificies & changes my husband and my family and I are making, what impact are they even having? But then, if I don’t have ‘environmentalism’, if I don’t have ‘being prepared’, if I don’t have being a ‘better human’… what do I have? I couldn’t go back to overconsuming and overindulging and exploiting the planet for my own lifestyle… but is living a ‘simple life’ or trying to live with a lower impact, the way forward for my family? I have always had trouble finding the balance, trying to be happy with how far we’ve come, instead of looking & worrying about how far we have to go.

    I was feeling quite positive that we’d come to a decision to focus on our backyard, so to speak, to not spend so much time on the www, absorbing more information, wanting to take on new challenges or worrying about the future. We are getting our real lives sorted. Then, having been sick for a couple of weeks, I now feel like I too am in a funk. No energy, no motivation, questioning, trying to relax & enjoy our holidays & clear my mind, trying to get the focus back… but only feeling more & more lost.

    I am hoping that tomorrow night, we are going to a pot luck type dinner with the new group I have joined, SEE Change, and hope that being around like-minded people and talking about facing the same dilemmas and challenges will bring me out of myself & my zombieness?? I hope you can find something too, maybe plans for returning home will help get you through. I know when I’ve been living overseas in the past, that last phase before you head home can be SO hard. So close, yet so far.

    I am so glad I got to read your blog today, and also apologise for me-me-me’ing so much! (Maybe I should be blogging this!!!)

  3. Hi Mia,

    I’ve felt like that most of my life. Even at High School I would listen to my friend’s conversations and shake my head. Everything they talked about always seemed so trivial and inane. As an adult I find little has changed, if anything it has become worse. I work with a lady who constantly complains about how her landlord trims one of her trees. I’m standing there thinking ‘the world is falling apart and you’re complaining about THAT’.

    It can feel extremely lonely and isolating at times but I think I prefer living in that world rather than the one most other people seem dtermined to stay in.

  4. Dixiebelle,

    Seeing how you’re taking a blogging break I’m going to have to scold you here insead of on your own blog 😉

    Woman, give yourself a break!

    You’ve been very sick for several weeks and before that you were looking after a sick family. You’re tired and rundown which probably the main reason you’re feeling zombie like and unmotivated. You should know better than most that recovery sometime lasts longer than the illness. Go out and have fun at your pot luck and take some pressure off yourself.

    To both you and Mia, you know in your hearts that you are doing the right thing, otherwise you wouldn’t be so passionate about what you do nor would you put in the time and effort that you have.

    Lecture Over.

  5. Thanks Nev!! I know, but it sucks… the feeling of not connecting, of being lost. I does not likes it!!

    (Sorry Mia, for hijacking your blog post! Thanks for the link too, as I am reading his blog post now.)

  6. It is a challenge and to a certain extent I am lucky because I am not in a workplace where this type of behaviour is in my face every day. That in itself gives me the freedom to choose who I spend my time with.

    In Mia’s situation I wouldn’t consider it worth it but I will say I have worked really hard to connect out into my community. I have worked solidly for close to 2 years joining existing groups, being an active part of start up groups and generally prioritising community connections. At this point I have a core group of “like minded people” that if I wish I can have those discussions with. We don’t agree on everything and we often don’t specify exactly what we personally feel that the future will look like but we agree that the current is not sustainable and change is necessary, which thankfully is enough for me. That said I would be out there celebrating along with everyone else if the mainstream woke up tomorrow and that we are up to our knees and rising

    Having those people to talk to and support the fact that I am not a total nut job means that with others that just aren’t in that space yet I can look for the value in the person by just appreciating them as a person. Sure the things they currently consider important are superficial but the passion they have for the new shoes they just bought shows they have the capacity to be passionate. That gives me hope that at some time in the future if I and the groups I work with engage positively, that person will get to a space where their passion is being utilised somewhere in the sustainability sphere.

    Do I think we have the time to wait for them to wake up, not really. The thing is I can’t see any other choice so I am going to work as hard as I can with the most positive pathways I can see.

    Kind Regards

  7. WOW. I will go explore this blog more but just have to say… Well I can’t say it any better than what you, your link, the comments say….

    I to have been very confused. I stop reading and learning to try and get a break but then before you know it another piece of the puzzle is filled in and for the life of me I don’t want to be in the unknowing group but the alienization I feel at times is overwhleming.

    My husband is very slow to change and take on new ideas. I have to present one piece of information at a time for him so he has time to absorb things and then we move on. He is very insiteful and not a consumerist at all but he teachs me that just as my first steps were baby steps to learning and opening my eyes to what is happening in this world and to this world he must be able to take one step at a time.

    It is just I don’t feel we have that much time. And like Dixiebell said – it is like being on a roller coaster when we doubt our descisions. I watched a film clip the other day and the man kept saying – Trust Yourself. I think that is good advise.



  8. Oh man, do I know how you’re feeling. Last night I got home from a full day of ass kicking for 16 hours, and the first thing I said to my wife was, “9 million people, and I have NO friends.”

    But, at least I have her. Thank God.

  9. Hi Mia…..

    Yes, I go through stages like that too. I’ve rejoined the Matrix, temporarily; landed a job selling solar panels! Even though the pay is less than modest by normal standards, I feel like I’ve got heaps of money, and have somewhat rejoined the consumerist legions…. I justify the whole lot by telling myself all the things I’ve bought are reducing our electricity consumption (new digital TV that uses 1/3 the power of the last one, a laptop that is so thrifty it hardly registers on the power meter, and a new freedge to join the ranks of our first one to store/mature cheese.)

    We are also extending our PV system with another 2.2kW which I can now buy at a good price…

    The worst thing was buying the car to travel for work… it’s pretty good on petrol, and it’s very very nice to drive, but it gives me the guilts. I just wish the whol;e system would just collapse so I can get on with the rest of my life!!!


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