Tag Archives: individualism

Food and the illusion of individualism

While the Corona virus is spreading quickly over Europe now, there is no reason to panic yet, but it’s always good to be prepared.  A friend recommended to stock up on food in case supermarket supplies would be affected. So there I went this morning, for a few walks to the supermarket: enough long life food supplies in the house now to survive for weeks. Asides from the practicality of having so much in stock it was a very valuable shopping trip that got me thinking about what kind of foods to buy in possible disaster situations, but mainly about the bigger question of how we organize our societal food supplies. About the essence of it all.

While we are living in an era where we all focus on our personal development, growth, personal leadership courses, how to find the ideal job, the ideal partner, a bigger home, the ideal holidays, maximizing happiness, individual life coaching, there is still one brutally simple thing that really matters at the end of the day and that is: food on our plates.

We think we have it all sorted as soon as we have a good and steady cashflow of digital numbers on our bank account coming in, and can declare our highest independancy, but is it really like that? The globalized food system seems very fragile. This morning I went to stock up on rice, pasta, nuts, beans, lentils, life long milk, cheese, tinned vegetables, frozen vegetables, but where to get fresh dairy, eggs or vegetables in case such a situation would last longer? I would really miss having a garden where I could keep some animals and my own veg growing patch. Where I would be more self sufficient.

Maybe we are still much more depending on others for our individualistic lifestyles than we would really like to admit. Maybe more than ever in history? Global food supplies seem a very abstract system and thus more fragile. Maybe we should go back to relying on our local neighbourhoods more, if even possible at all? I would like to hear your opinions.

In the meantime I’m off baking my own homemade bread. A very meditative and happy exercise.

Session culture: let’s get together!

This weekend I was reminded of probably the most important lesson I learnt over my years working as a musician in Ireland: be social and collaborate! It’s something that’s often forgotten in Dutch individualistic culture where some people seem to be overfocussed on their own careers and results. And musicians can be the worst here!

I found this very different in Ireland on all social fronts: neighbours helping each other out with gas heaters in cold winters when needed, my landlord telling me he didn’t want me to pay the rent the month after the company I worked for went out of business. I saw some famous musicians still making music for fun in corners of pubs, and helping each other to set up gigs, lending out sound systems etcetera. Not really making a difference between buskers and festival musicians. Probably a remainder of the traditional session culture.

This weekend it was St Patrick’s Day and Luuk Lenders and I were spontaneously joined by a very talented wellknown artist from New Zealand Graeme James on violin and mandolin during. It was such a great contribution to the gig! Now if he were Dutch he might not have offered to. A lot can be learnt from the folk session culture. Put your egos aside: let’s share our talents, don’t go too low when negotiating gig deals, and make the music scene a better place. Because in the end: the music is bigger than us!