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The village — a personal experience: taxes, safety, the fruits of nonviolence

Taxes
Safety
The fruits of nonviolence

Taxes

In the area where I now find myself, earthquakes are not a rare occurrence. You can hear a rumble underground almost every week, light tremors occur every 3-4 months, and sizable ones are no rarer than once a year. The strongest and longest one that I have experienced was a series of earthquakes lasting two days, with a maximum magnitude of 3.7 on the Richter scale, and the epicentre was only a few tens of kilometers away from my village.

In general, these tremors are always a good reminder to me that we are guests, not hosts, on this planet. But it is nonetheless unpleasant, especially when the tremors happen at night. Unfortunately, not all residential housing, especially in rural areas, can withstand the shaking. However, there are very old ‘sturdy’ buildings, usually made from stone, that last for centuries without suffering significant damage. I’m currently spending the winter in such a building.

What precisely am I going on about?

Spring is approaching — time to pay your taxes. It’s time to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, thereby agreeing to your own helplessness and inability to withstand the centuries-old mechanism of violence and extortion, whose output is not just good deeds, but also horrible, evil deeds.

But there is also good news (of course, it is far from ‘news’, but still...). I’m referring to the fact that many countries’ tax laws allow for real estate concessions, if the property is assessed at a figure less than the minimum (base) amount specified by the tax code. In some cases, this base amount is calculated by the assessed value of the housing, and in others the size in square metres.

As a rule, old rural houses, which many progressive and cultured people are in a rush to demolish, fall under one of two categories: either their size is smaller than the taxed norm, or their real value is less than that established by the government. In either case, their owners have NOTHING to pay.

There’s more! This rule applies not only to buildings, but also to land. Therefore, there may be specific provisions related to the category of land that you plan to use: for example, for agricultural land the tax can be zero regardless of value or size.

Keep in mind that, however you earn a living, one of these must be true:

  • you own housing/land and have to pay property tax
  • you rent housing/land and the owner must pay property tax
  • you use housing/land for free, and consequently someone else will pay tax in your place

You and your landlord can rest easy if you live in moderation and use only what you need.

Of course, this is not a measure, but rather a half-measure, aimed at ‘beginners.’ Credit for this real estate concession can be given to the system, not us. It does not get around your need to register with the tax authorities. It does not cancel the payment of other taxes (income, goods, public works, etc.).

But this, as a minimum, is a realistic step towards non-participation in that mechanism of violence that is fueled by your own work. (Work is what, among other things, teaches modesty and moderation.) But each of the themes in the title above — taxes, safety, and the fruits of nonviolence — has its own individual solutions. Looking at each theme separately, we now come to:

 

Safety

“Aren’t you scared?”

This question, as a rule, is normally one of the first to be asked when people find out about my search for an exit from the surrounding world of violence and threats and moving to a simple rural area with the aim of minimizing my participation in distorted social relationships which provoke fear and anger.

What can I say?

Indeed, sometimes it’s really scary and uncomfortable. For example, when there is a strong powerful storm, in a large anthill of a city each section is blocked so that you don’t notice anything, but here it pours and rumbles overhead with such force that you simply feel like a small grain of sand.

However, we are not talking about safety in that sense.

Nobody wants to (and nobody has to) place themselves at the mercy of human stupidity, greed, and arrogance. But, even under threat, we cannot allow ourselves to raise a hand against a person, let alone use weapons.

There is a solution: to entrust (at least partially) safety to the one who always did this function the best and who was created by nature exactly for this reason: a dog. Better: two, if possible. Intelligent, calm, but always ready to raise the alarm and protect its owner.

Are there any flaws in this solution, perhaps some kind of hypocrisy? Undoubtedly. Even doubly so: we not only ensure our own safety by the use of someone else, but we also expose a living creature to risk. However there is a difference between having a dog and employing violence.

You can lie to people, talk to them, lull them into a false sense of security, get close without being noticed — and they simply won’t have time to be warned: they will fight or flee. But it is rather difficult to do so with dogs, it is in their nature to be ready. They always start with a warning, then drive away the danger, and then if the situation is not resolved, they attack.

Thus, the difference isn’t in the effectiveness of one or the other method of protection; the difference is that the dog is first of all a warning, a watchman, and only then (if he has the necessary skills!) — protection:

  • With a dog you will know of an approaching attacker in advance, and you will have time to make a decision or remove yourself from conflict
  • Criminals will, in turn, be aware that you know of their presence, and this 50% of the time will cause them to abandon their intentions
  • The dog is an intelligent animal and rarely pits itself against a threat stronger than itself

I’m anticipating the following question: how can you treat a living being in such a utilitarian manner? How can you?! Of course, they are first and foremost friends who trust you. And strictly speaking, I don’t expect anything special from my dog — my main task was to save his life because most of the puppies in his litter had already starved to death. But he is able to do something more than this, and this ‘something more’ is one of his most important interests in life, just like practically every village dog.

But most importantly… When there is nobody around for miles (except for several neighbors) then to rely on someone or something is simply pointless, let alone on an animal. According to urban habits, you firstly lock yourself in with a key, check the windows…. Then you realize that if something were to happen, only God can save you. And so at night you just close the door and set the hook, just like all your neighbors.

 

The fruits of nonviolence

How quickly does the path of nonviolence bring rewards? The answer: Fast enough if you have the correct tools. Let’s start with them.

One of the few questions that this article doesn’t give an answer to is medicine (and everything associated with it). Any person, even the most healthy, will sooner or later come running back to the system — the system that we know depends on violence — in order to take advantage of its fruits and outcomes, including health care: clinics, doctors, medicine, procedures, manipulations. If that’s what a healthy person does, you can imagine the situation of someone with chronic illness.

The low ceiling in the basement, the low furnace, the animal feeder — all of these little things can make rural life unbearable if you have back problems. But the most important thing (and it is also the most inconvenient) is the cultivation of land, which involves daily work in a bent or squat position, which is unanimously forbidden by surgeons and neurologists.

But a solution, as always, does exist. This is the use of the correct tools.

I, like many others, began to do all the weeding and similar work on a small bench, but in the end I found a more comfortable position: on all fours, occasionally changing hands. In other words, I’m crawling on the ground. In order to do this I needed short, homemade tools rather than long ones. In some cases it’s the opposite — instead of the traditional short tools, I use longer ones in order to avoid bending over while standing up and working, creating an uneven pressure on my spine.

This is what my path of nonviolence looks like today. Already up to one third of the foods on my table are from the garden. Bread, cereals, sugar, salt, and vegetable oil still remain on my shopping list. I soon hope to replace my neighbors’ honey and milk with my own.
You may be wondering what all this has to do with participating in killings? By relying less and less on other people’s work we:

  • Become less dependent on the material benefits of the system of violence, learning not to take part in it either directly or indirectly.
  • Stop needing what others are ready to defend with weapons and require us to do likewise.
  • Reduce the amount of time other people have to divert from their own lives to take care of our needs, leaving them with more opportunities to stop and think.

Find your tools. Reap the fruits!


Aleksandr A.
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P.S. Over time I realized that the best choice for agricultural work with a bad back is to look after fruit trees or shrubs, in combination with wearing a brace/bandage (at least while working) and performing gymnastics.

P.P.S. Also, over time, I realized that a suburb or a very small town is more suitable for the initial stage of migration. This will provide the necessary level of autonomy for the initial period, and opportunities for working the land.

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