By the age of 39 I was hugely successful in the ruthless corporate world, living what I believed to be the “good life”, and striving alongside everyone else to achieve the “high life”. I had all the material trappings that come with the Western definition of success, but it something didn’t feel right? Although I didn’t fully understand it, my soul yearned to be free, and needed to be part of Nature’s Grand adventure. I dreamed of adventures, sailing the oceans and exploring the world, but actually I was searching for something much deeper. I wanted to “belong” to the planet, our home.
The cruel death of a close friend, before he had time to make his own dreams come true, brought home the urgent need for me to act if I wanted to escape before the “dream thief” came for me too. It was time to turn traitor within the capitalist system in order to create the wealth I needed to break free by the age of 45, and to never need The System for money again.
I knew I would never achieve the necessary wealth as a corporate executive. I needed to transform myself into an entrepreneur, sinking my own money into business ventures. There could be no more hierarchical status, power, big salary or corporate comfort and security. I had to be prepared to risk everything and I had to start again at the bottom of an entirely different system. Knowing what this would entail, I decided to move to the more enabling business environment of Australia in order to execute the first stage of the plan.
At the same time I wanted to curtail my pursuit of conspicuous material consumption and accumulation and live more simply. Real freedom would mean never having to work again once I had left The System. I had to judge when “enough is enough”, so that I could stop striving for more, no longer needing to keep increasing my expenditure for status reasons. By doing that I was sure I could find a richer, simpler, low-cost way of life.
I developed my “traitor’s plan” to escape from The System with “just enough” wealth to provide the key to start exploring freedom, searching for the truths and this higher purpose.
It worked, and in the process of becoming a respected entrepreneur, and joining the global elite’s “one-percent”, I was able to explore and understand the inner workings and values of the capitalist system and upper echelons of society. I realised that as well as exploring the truths of myself, society and the planet, I wanted to find a way to survive and prosper outside the destructive Western system. I decided I would do all that by having adventures and, with Nature as my teacher, I would find a new definition of success and the spiritual connection to our home, Planet Earth.
During my first ten years outside The System I wandered and explored in the broadest possible way, experiencing life in the remotest communities as well as the biggest cities. I sailed solo nearly half way across the world, including two Atlantic crossings, and trekked to both the North and South Poles, tackling the desolation of Antarctica and the South Pole on my own. I cycled the length of Africa and cycled and kayaked across untouched wildernesses from Alaska and Siberia to the jungles and deserts of Africa and the mountains of Patagonia. There were times of great danger and personal challenge, but there were also the fantasy times; island hopping with lovers around the Caribbean, the South Pacific, the Azores and the Mediterranean, or kayaking down the Yukon with my blind friend, a professor of philosophy.
I had to learn to survive as an outsider amongst the crowds in cities like London as well as living a fulfilling life alone, deep in Nature’s wilderness, or immersed in traditional societies. I was forced to transform who I was because sometimes it meant the difference between surviving and dying. The anthropocentric, western values, which I’d required for success in the capitalist world, often clashed with Nature’s values. As the intensity of my life increased I liked who I was becoming, a radiant creature of Nature again. On my journeys back into the great cities of the world, re-visiting The System and western society, I could see clearly that unrestrained consumption by the wealthy is the planet’s problem, and increasing wealth the cause. At the same time I could see in Siberia that communism offered a worse alternative.
It became clear that the wealthy “one per cent” in their Way of life and its icon for success are leading the a huge conflict with Nature’s management of our Planet. I know this because I was one of them, but I had crossed the chasm which currently separates Society and Nature.
I gradually came to understand how the capitalist system that I had been part of has triumphed, and how the greed implicit in that system is wrecking the planet at an unprecedented, exponentially increasing rate. As capitalist anthropocentrics, we are living outside Nature’s sustainable value system and the consequences are devastating. I had transformed and now my values clashed radically with those of western society. I was becoming an anarchist.
With my new way of life I was no longer pursuing happiness through consumption, wealth and material grandeur. I was now an authentic human being, living intensely, sustainably and freely across my full human capabilities, constrained only by Nature.
After ten years I felt I was finished with exploring. I believed I had seen the truths but could do nothing about them. It was time to find a new “good life” in Africa, outside The System. I decided to look for my final “dream place” in Africa, a piece of land where I could work with wild animals.
in 2014 I bought a motorcycle and spent close to a year searching the continent. I was shocked by how much had changed in the seven years since I had cycled from Cairo to Cape Town. I was presented with numerous opportunities to create my dream place, but Africa was transforming radically. I realised my dream was out of date. Everywhere I saw evidence of the rape and pillage caused by capitalist greed and the blind pursuit of growth. A form of neo-colonisation was well under way and I finally came to understand the truth about the global injustices of The System, the futility of our endless search for pleasure and happiness and our fear of risk and struggle.
Global Leaders and the rich countries are subjugating people in the developing world through simultaneous humanitarianism and exploitation. They are replacing successful traditional cultures that were once on Nature’s side of the Chasm, (where I am now firmly entrenched), with capitalism and the lure of the Good Life and its linked definitions of Success. In the process they are creating vast new levels of consumption in an already unsustainable world system. This is a humanitarian crime of unprecedented proportions.
The focus on technological solutions and alternative energy must continue, but with the Good Life’s fundamental flaw of ever increasing consumption, the focus must turn to how our way of life conflicts with Nature.
Over the past twelve years I have created a new “Good Life” for me, which questions and transforms all the values of our society. I crossed from an unsustainable, anthropocentric way of life to become part of Nature’s team. It is a transformation journey that Society, its leaders, and elite may need to learn form. The focus of our amazing human capabilities has to be redirected to totally different goals and the “celebrities” of the future will be people who aren’t even recognised yet.
We must find a way of living that fits with our fundamental human transcendental purpose; a new, morally and ethically sound way of belonging with our communal home, the planet. We must cease being active participants in the worst humanitarian crimes in Mankind’s history. Taking back our humble place in Nature, as non-anthropocentric and holistically intense humans, is a goal that stands above all religions and can accommodate all of us.
We need a brave new type of leadership that values our full, human intensity and can mobilize the huge power of human innovation, directing its efforts towards a new definition of success. These leaders must bring in a new world structure that can stand above national boundaries and put the planet’s needs first, while minimising human sacrifices. This will be the greatest challenge ever undertaken by humans.
The “Good Life”, that is central to the developed world’s Definition of Success and its tenets defined in the UN Development Index, is no longer THE good life because it is destroying the planet. We cannot afford to continue flaunting and admiring it, constantly increasing our demands for more and more, better and better of everything.
One Point Zero is my way of trying to assist the transformation WE need.