My friend is taking me into a huge building. I'm on the ground floor now and it is thronging with people of all ages. Many of them are obese, including sadly, their children. It seems to be some kind of shopping mall, although it's mostly comprised of run-down cafés and snack bars. The air smells of greasy hamburgers, bacon, sickly sweet doughnuts and sweaty bodies. It is not pleasant. My friend pushes us through the crowds – I've not seen him this aggressive before – and I get the occasional glimpse of shops that are not devoted to eating. There are charity shops, chemists, one dollar shops and what appear to be huge TV screens showing recent block-buster films
turned up to full-volume. It must be hard for anyone to talk above the noise.
I shout. “Daniel! Stop. I hate this. Can we get out!”
“Not out but up. Hang on tight, we're nearly there.”
We've arrived at the foot of an escalator. It has an iron grid in front of it. Security guards are continually pushing back people who are trying to figure out some way of dismantling or circumventing the barrier. Daniel holds up a card and the guards step aside for us. He places the card in a kind of swipe slot and the grid opens slightly. “Quick as you can sir” says a guard.
We squeeze through before anyone else can take advantage of the opening and set foot on the escalator. It immediately begins its ascent and we leave the desperate and envious crowds behind.
We reach the next level and here things are a little quieter. It is still busy but there are fewer obese people and not so many eating places. The cafés are small and basic. I spot one with blue gingham tablecloths which give it a clean, bright look. We wander through and into one large store packed full of Primark-like clothes. They are ridiculously cheap. There are the usual chemist shops and small supermarkets. Value House stores full of trinkets, cheap plastic toys and tat jewellery. We come to what looks like a canteen filled with people carrying their trays of food in the hope of finding a place at a table.
“Why are they eating here and not in the cafés?”
“Workers” says Daniel. “Look – over there”
And sure enough over beyond and behind the canteen are lines of people emerging from a what appear to be a well-lit walkway, the walls of which are covered with adverts.
“They work in shifts – some an 8 hour day, others the same at night. It never stops. They leave work, come here to eat, do some shopping, go to their homes – tiny basic units in the building adjacent to here “– he points to another walkway, I'd not noticed before.
“Then back to work again”
I watch two young women making their selection from the food counter.
“It's a capitalist's utopia then” I say, “– the workers work, shop, sleep, work, shop... – and the investors and middlemen reap the profits”
Daniel scowls at me. “It's the way of the world. There are workers and there are the money-makers, the creators of wealth. It's what drives the economy. It's what makes civilisation.”
“So where do they live?”
“I'll show you.”
With some difficulty we manage to find a window. I look out and gasp in amazement.
Outside, as far as the eye can see, are huge buildings – square, uniform, grey, and, apart from the very top, all connected at each level with covered bridges.
“Each building is either a complex of offices or industrial units or residential. All connected through the bridges or tunnels. Each level is self-contained within itself”
“So people do not move much amongst levels?
“Hardly at all. Which is why you are a very privileged young woman to be rising through the levels with me."
“So where do we go next?”
He takes my hand and we find another escalator. There are crowds at the bottom of this one but they seem weary and half-hearted in their attempts to access the escalator. Daniel swipes his card as before and we leave the sea of sad, tired faces far behind.
The next level is spacious and airy. Most of the people are young, smartly dressed, in their twenties and thirties. They walk in pairs or on their own but everyone is talking on his iPhone or preoccupied with her iPad. They rarely look around. Every mobile device has a GPS which enables its owner to go directly to whatever he or she is looking for, whether it is a restaurant, coffee house or designer boutique. The shops are bright and enticing like those in a modern airport. There are elegant benches with large potted plants adjacent.
There is a pleasant smell of good coffee, so we follow our noses and find a smart coffee bar.
I spoon half a teaspoon of sugar into my latte.
“So where do these people live?”
“In an adjacent block, but the apartments are bigger – most will have a balcony, air-conditioning and a concierge for each block.”
“And their work?”
“Solicitors, accountants, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, middle-management.”
“So it's a good life then?”
“Yes and of course there are connections to universities, hospitals, research centres. These people are very ambitious. They work all hours. Many choose not to have kids. There's little time for family life. They all want to rise up the salary scale, have more influence, more status. Naturally. That's what we, what our kind, are. Aspirants”
I'm suddenly reminded of the children's story where a fisherman who lived with his wife in a ditch was given wishes by a fish as thanks for returning him to the sea. The wife wished for barn which pleased her mightily for a time, then she desired a cottage, then she must have a mansion, then even that wasn't enough …..
“Can you show me their apartments?”
We find a window and Daniel points to them.
“Goodness me, Daniel. That block is leaning! Like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Supposing it topples?”
“Of course it won't topple. You're a bit of a drama queen aren't you. Come on, time to move on up"
We walk to the next escalator. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by now, to find a fair number of people gathered round the foot of the escalator. There's no jostling though. One or two tug his arm conspiratorially – I assume for some kind of deal or 'arrangement'. Daniel shakes his head. An extremely attractive slender young woman sidles up and whispers in his ear. He laughs. “One woman is enough for me!” and takes my arm, manoeuvring me through the barrier.
Up we go, the young woman flicking her head in annoyance, glares at me.
We reach the top.
Oh, now this level is something else altogether. It is exotic, wildly extravagant. A lavish, ostentatious manifestation of wealth. Rather than shops as such there seem to be themed spaces. The nearest one is baroque. There's a canvas wall mural of flowers from a 17th century painting, heavily brocaded curtains drawn against a mock window. An elegant upholstered Chippendale chair with a tragic looking model draped against it. I'm not sure if she is real or a waxwork. I wink at her and she scowls. She's real!
There is a French Brasserie with square marble pillars and seemingly more waiters than customers.
And now we come to a large area with super-sized day beds in a soft silver metallic fabric inviting you to lounge indolently like an ancient Roman and watch the huge screen showing Charlie's Angels (The ancient Roman of course would have been watching the Christians fed to the lions). Presumably they were trying to sell home cinemas.
We decide to eat at the Japanese restaurant. Daniel orders the rare Japanese musk-melon .
It has a sweet delicate flavour unlike any fruit I've ever eaten. We can still hear the sound of Charlie's Angels.
“How much would one of those home cinemas cost?” I ask Daniel.
“Around £50,000, I guess.”
There is a brochure on the table. It displays the dresses and accessories worn by the model in the baroque room. I spot the one worn by the grumpy model. £15,000. I turn the page. Here
she's modelling an embroidered calfskin dress, Encased from neck to ankle in calf-skin. No wonder she looks hot! And the price - £26,300. Twenty six thousand pounds – for a dress!
Suddenly, I've had enough.
“Daniel, can we leave now? We've seen so much and I really appreciate your bringing me here but can we go now?”
“I love your aspiration, my darling, but my card won't take us any higher”
“I don't want to go higher. I want to leave, go back down”
“Back down! Have you got a death-wish?”
“Please Daniel I want to get out now”
“Get out? What are you talking about? This is where I live. This is how I live. You wanted to come with me. Do you know how privileged you are? You've seen how desperate people are to get up to this level”
“I know, but I need some fresh air, something living. Some genuine people. There's no birdsong, no trees.”
He looks at me with an odd expression. It isn't pleasant.
“No trees. You're not some kind of closet tree-hugger are you?”
Alarm bells are ringing in my head.
“Well I ….” and I catch the eye of the waiter standing behind Daniel. He puts his finger to his lips and shakes his head gently.
“Of course not Daniel. I'm only joking.”
“Well don't. It isn't remotely funny”
Daniel orders the main course.
“Excuse me a moment Daniel, I need to find the loo.”
I leave the table
“Where is the Ladies room?” I ask the waiter.
“Allow me to show you, Madam” I follow him until we are out of earshot.
“Where can I find an exit down?”
“It's not easy. Why do you ask?”
“I need to go home. I need fresh air. I want to go outside”
He smiled enigmatically.
“Oh they'll find you some outside” He seemed to be talking more to himself than to me.
“I will show you if you really want to leave. But bear in mind you will not be able to return here. Certainly not to this level unless you get very rich or lucky. I have to get back to serving now but in the meantime, have a look round. Go on your own. Explore freely. And take this”
He hands me a small black device.
“Just press this key and I will be able to find you as soon as I've finished my shift. If you don't want your friend to come searching for you I would take that direction – towards the Swiss Chalet”
I walk towards a cinematic screen showing idyllic pictures of a Swiss-style chalet nestling against a backdrop of pine forest on the edge of a lake.
It's a clichéd image but what wouldn't I give to be there right now.
“Beautiful isn't it? Wouldn't you just love to be there right now?”
I swing round, alarmed by this echoing of my thoughts to see a smiling assistant.
At last – someone smiling!
“Indeed. Can you tell me how to leave here?”
“Certainly madam. If you come into our lounge we can arrange for someone to come and discuss your needs and currently available flights”
I spot a possible escape route.
“Where is the nearest airport and how might I get there?”
“No need to worry about that. We arrange everything. You would be escorted via high-speed lift to the top of the building to the heliport. You can be in your own personal Swiss Chalet in time for your evening meal”
“Well that is remarkable. Thank you. I will continue with my browsing and may come back to you later”
I'm wondering how many levels there are above us to warrant a high-speed lift.
I wander down seemingly endless malls displaying luxury goods of all kinds.
“One moment please.” I am stopped by a stressed-looking woman.”We are doing a film-shoot. We need to keep this space clear.”
I watch as strikingly beautiful women wearing bejewelled long gowns and the requisite Victoria Beckham pout, stride into a huge marble-pillared chamber. They take their allotted places where the finishing touches are added to their hair extensions and make-up.
Suddenly, one woman in a full-length body-skimming gown swings her long perfect body down through the centre of the activity. The dress is subtly translucent so that you can clearly see her legs from hip to ankle as she walks. The film cameras are all directed to her. She is the high priestess of desire. And she is selling Dior perfume.
I cannot pass and I do not want risk meeting Daniel by going back the way I came. I find a poorly-lit area to the side. I walk along and find a window. In the distance I see dense black smoke and random flashes of light. Invariably I am discovered by an attendant.
“What's going on over there? It looks like a terrible fire?”
“Best not to look out of the window, Madam”. He takes my arm and leads me away.
“Allow me to escort you to our new personal free-view cinema.”
I politely decline and wander on. As I pass enormous screens depicting exotic locations, I realise they are hoardings concealing something. I try to peek behind.
“Can I help you Madam?”
“What's behind here?"
“It need not concern us, Madam. Have you visited our newly opened Hawaiian restaurant?”
I'm beginning to hate this place.
I realise it's 6 o’clock, the time my kind waiter finishes his shift. I press the button on the gadget he gave me and find a seat. Five minutes later, he appears.
“Hi, how is it going? By the way, my name's Ben”
“Hi Ben. No-one will answer my questions. Can I ask you?”
" What is behind those hoardings?"
“Building work. It's all hush-hush but they've discovered a new concrete-eating bacteria. They're literally eating away at sections of the building. They've enlisted leading scientists and engineer
to work on the problem, but it doesn't look good – for those who live in sky-scrapers anyway”
“Good for the scientists and engineers though” (I thought of the Millennium bug and its legions of newly enlisted computer technicians).
“Indeed. A disaster somewhere is always good news for someone somewhere else” said Ben.
“Another question. I saw black smoke when I was looking out of a window, What was that?”
“A war zone. You will have seen a city on fire”
“A war? Between whom?”
“Good question. Wars are no longer a cut and dried matter of two opposing sides. It's nightmarishly complex now. You will have super-powers arming and supporting both the rebel armies and the presiding administration. Mainstream media doesn't generally report this. Of course it's a vastly lucrative market for the military-industrial companies. A mega-sized playing field to demonstrate the latest killing hardware and software. Killer apps. Precisions weapons that arms manufacturers drool over. You'll be able to bid for a drone on E-bay soon.”
“You are being ironic?”
“I hope so”
“Ben, what on earth are you doing here? You don't belong any more than I do.”
“Long story. I'll tell you later. Any more questions?”
“Yes. Where do these people live. Where do they get the money to afford all this stuff?”
“Most of them live in luxury apartments linked to this building. They will also have second homes in desirable locations for holidays and weekends. As to where the money comes from. Some will have legitimate jobs – company lawyers, judges, CEOs of large companies. There are a good number of footballers. Then there are the City brokers, merchant bankers, and other financial whizz-kids, and of course drug barons, people traffickers, and other insalubrious characters.”
“Quite a mixed bunch then?”
“Yes the only common denominator in most cases is access to money – real or debt-derived. It's the purchasing power that counts”
Ben leads me to another window.
“See that building over there?"
“Yes. I saw that earlier. It looks as if it's listing.”
“It is listing. There is subsidence under the foundations.”
“Is it really likely to topple?”
“Most likely at some point – unless they can buttress it. But if it does, it takes the adjacent linked buildings with it. They'll fall like a non-linear set of dominoes. More like an arrangement of skittles.
This is another example of the intrinsic weakness of monocultures – here in Corporcity we have a monoculture of buildings”
“So does that include this building?”
“None of these are exempt from failure of some kind. If it's not subsidence or concrete-eating microbes, sooner or later this city will fracture and disintegrate. It's simply not designed for sustainability”
“So what happens to all this stuff? All these people?”
“The people on the very top level are already planning to relocate. The heliports are immediately above them. As for the rest. Well you saw what happened on 9/11. Not many survivors. This is like an unplanned demolition in slow motion.”
“How do you know this? Can't you warn people?”
“Do you think they would listen? You've seen what happens when you ask straightforward questions. You are gently led to another eating place, another synthetic dream, another must-have status icon. It doesn't matter what level you're on. Bread and circuses vary in their level of sophistication and razzmatazz but they have the same objective and the same effect. The people here have no conception of the real world, the biosphere with all its the living connections and processes. Soil is something the under-gardener would deal with; you'll not find too many mentions of photosynthesis in Jubilee Street; man-made global warming is a gigantic hoax; ecologists are terrorists who want to take away 'our freedoms' todrive Hummers or replace rainforests with cash crops. It's simply not done to look out of the window and ask about the real casualties of war or unregulated money generation."
“Is it really this bad?”
“People don't feel bad. There is a certain amount of conscience money. There will be favourite charities and projects that will be supported and funded. These will be incorporated in your public profile. A bit like a carbon tax. You can safely ignore the consequences of your company's activities as long as you're being seen to do good to disadvantaged people somewhere else. This satisfies any moral dilemma."
“Is it the same on the lower levels?”
“It depends. The one immediately below us has many people who would be asking questions if they had the time. But all their time and energy is spent trying to sustain their present level of affluence or working to ascend to the next level. Those at the lowest levels are fully preoccupied with keeping body and soul together. Their poor diet affects their health and their cognitive abilities.”
I have much to digest. There is a long silence.
“Ben, can you help me get out of here?”
“I don't have any money for trains or taxis”
He smiles. “I know. People don't usually carry money when they're dreaming”
He takes me to a door labelled Staff Only.
We walk through a corridor to down- going escalator.
“There you are”
“Why don't you come with me? You haven't told me what you're doing here anyway”
“I'm here to answer the questions of the few, who, like you, believe there is another way of living.
I help them to get out, to find an exit to engage with and live with people and communities who have discovered this.”
“That's pretty brave.”
“Not really. I'm a bit of an anthropologist really – it fascinates me how these people live – I study the media, the language, the social constructs that shape their beliefs and activities. It's easy for me to lead this double existence. Like the servants and masters in the grand houses – the Upstairs and Downstairs people, the servants are privy to all the goings-on, the secrets, the affairs of the gentry precisely because they are invisible – the servants are 'not like us' so it really doesn't matter what they see and hear.”
“Will I see you again?”
“It's possible. Oh, before I forget, let me show you something”
He gets a pen and a note-let out of his pocket.
“Draw an upper-case P”
I do so. He turns it upside-down and draws two parallel horizontal lines on the lower part of non-curved side of the letter so that it looks like an F.
“There we are. PF. A Perennial Future. This is what we look forward to. A future that will endure for ourselves and for the creatures on this amazing planet. This is what we are shaping, this is our vision. Whoever offers the P for you to complete is one who has subscribed to this vision”
We hug each other and I step onto the escalator. This one leads to another and another. Eventually I am on the ground floor, which brings me, at last, to doors which lead outside.
This is a dream so I find a waiting taxi.
“Where to miss?”
“I need to find somewhere where I have a chance of surviving if this building collapses”
“I know just the place Miss”
We drive for some time through the skyscrapers and suburbs and along a highway into some quite rugged country. We stop at a large warehouse.
“I think you'll find just about everything you might need, Miss”
Inside is a vast, spare supermarket with row upon row of crates marked one month emergency food pack, veg pack, meat and veg pack, 12 month deluxe pack, gluten-free pack, family pack.
More crates – emergency water, emergency first aid. Another bay leads to tools of all kinds, spades, shovels, rakes, saws of every kind, a variety chainsaws. Ropes, pulleys, knives, fire-starters, multi-tools, wind-up radios and lamps. Another aisle leads to guns. Not just assault rifles and pistols but some heavy duty killing devices – including sub-machine guns. Crates and crates of ammunition.
Now I know why the shopping trolleys I saw at the entrance were pretty hefty.
There is a basic café selling coffee, tea and bacon sandwiches. I'm not hungry but I need to sit down to take it all in.
“Howdy miss” and a well-built, bearded man plonks his coffee down next to me.
“What you think, then? Everything you need for the Coming Times, the End times. You can buy enough food to last you 100 years if you've got the money. Enough guns and 'ammo' to protect you and your family against everything except rocket launchers and nukes. Mind you they'll even sell you the kit to make your own fall-out shelter.”
“Goodness me. So you really are convinced there will be some kind of apocalypse?”
“Sure thing, miss. It's in the Bible. 'For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.' But whether the Good Lord sees fit send hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, drought, earthquakes, we sure know how to prepare ourselves. Or whether starvation, civil war and disease sets the unbelievers against those of us who have had the good sense to make long term provision, we have the means to protect ourselves”
“So you feel protected against the worst effects of global warming then?”
“Global warming – as made by man? The greatest hoax of all time! Don't fall for it Miss.
The weather's always changing. I wasn't born in a barn in rural Mississippi to not know about weather!”
I am about to say I was talking about climate not about local weather events but I don't think he'd appreciate the distinction.
There is sugar spilt on the table. As an experiment, I inscribe a P with my finger.
He watches me and stuffs the last of his bacon sandwich in his mouth.
His phone rings “I have to leave you Miss – my order is ready. You take good care, mind”
I carry on drinking my coffee. A young woman appears.
“Mind if I join you?” I smile and she sits down. She looks at the little heap of sugar and slowly adds the two horizontal lines just as Ben had done.
I am amazed – it really works!
“You don't know how pleased I am to meet you” I say. “But what are you doing in this place?”
“I've come to buy some Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers. We grow a great deal of food and need to experiment with various kinds of storage. Mostly we use traditional methods – pickling, preserving, fermenting, clamps and cellars for roots, drying. We like to find as many ways as possible for the one purpose of prolonging the life of food. It's an aspect of poly-culture – a kind of poly-preservation”
“Do you buy much from this place? "
“No this is mostly for city and suburbanites who have limited space and know-how to grow their own food. It has its uses for us but there are more than a few weirdos amongst its customers,
religious fundamentalists, climate deniers …......”
“I know. I just met one.”
I finish my coffee.
“So where are you off to?” she asks.
“I've no idea”
“Why don't you come back with me. To our farm?”
And so that is why I am now being driven through rolling countryside with my new friend.
We turn off the main highway, and down a road which leads to Everglade Farm.
There are many buildings beside the main farm house which is a handsome, well-kept building, with a splendid vine growing up the side and partly across the front porch. A middle-aged woman is walking with two small children.
“Ah Jess. Just in time. The girls want to show you the new baby ducklings”
“New ducklings – I can't wait. Mum, this is my new friend I met at the Survival store. She's a P Fer”
“Good to meet you. Come and see the ducklings, then I hope you will share supper with us”
“Gladly” I say. “That's so kind of you”
The little girls lead us to the pond and point to the ten tiny yellow ducklings following the mother duck alongside the water reeds.
We watch for a while and then walk back to the house and into an archetypal farmhouse kitchen.
It is large, with a huge oak table in the centre. There are purpose-built shelves from floor to ceiling, laden with jars of pickled beans, gherkins, onions, chutneys, jams, jellies, marmalades, honey;
bottles of oils and flavoured vinegars, sauces, pesto; boxes of dried herbs. Another section has herbal salves and tinctures. Yet another wall is stacked with bottles of wine, mead, cider and beer.
Bunches of herbs are drying over the stove. In a corner of the room are oyster mushrooms sprouting from a large plastic laundry basket. Above that are more shelves with trays of living-salads and sprouting seeds and pots of fresh herbs.
“Supper won't be ready for a bit yet” says Jess. “I'll call Luke to show you around the gardens”
She disappears and comes back a few minutes later with a fair-haired, bearded young man.
This is some dream, I tell myself. Please don't let me wake up - not till I've got to know him a little.
And so begins my whirlwind tour of one of the most beautiful and productive places I have ever seen. Luke shows me the intensive raised beds which produce masses of annual vegetables; the aquaponic area where fish and more vegetables are grown. We walk to the forest garden where mushroom logs growing shitake and other mushrooms I don't recognise, are stacked at the entrance. Further in we walk along narrow grassy paths between herbs, perennial vegetables and salads. There are soft fruit bushes of all kinds as well as fruit and nut trees. Some of the trees have kiwi vines growing up them. Others have rambling roses.
Luke picks a nectarine and hands it to me.
“Scrumptious” I say as I try not to let the juice dribble down my chin.
“What is this doing on this birch tree?” I point to a small pipe sticking out of the trunk directed to a container on the ground.
“Birch sap. Makes delicious wine. I'll get Jess to give you a glass after supper”
We walk past giant rhubarb and stands of bamboo. Luke bends down and cuts a 2 foot shoot of bamboo just below the soil surface. He peels back the green outer covering.
“Taste this – it's the best edible bamboo – the one the Chinese use “
It is undeniably sweet and succulent. Luke picks up a strange object with evenly-spaced curved tines. He hands it to me.
“Roll this over the ground just here under the hazel tree"
I do so and to my surprise I have collected a dozen or so hazel nuts.
“We believe in keeping life simple” he laughed. “You want a nut roast – just come out here and hoover up the nuts. Cracking the shells takes a little work but we have a labour-saving device for that too”
“Luke, I am overwhelmed with all this. This is truly a garden of Eden.”
“You haven't even seen half of what we do here. We certainly have no shortage of food. We have enough for everyone who lives here as well as visitors and Woofers. We also store and preserve masses as you will have seen on the kitchen. We also have methods for long-term storage as well.
But we've also solved some problems of energy, community living, money, barter and sharing. But let's go and eat now and we can talk some more”
There are a dozen of us enjoying the delicious supper prepared by Jess, her Mum and her brother.
The salad alone would make any TV chef envious – with huge variety of salad leaves, herbs, sprouted seeds, edible flowers.
“And all freshly picked by the children.” Jess added to my compliments.
“I hear you've been to Corpocity? asks Ruth, Jess's mum. “Why did you go there?”
“A wealthy boyfriend. He took me up several levels. It was fascinating at first but I began to feel trapped, stifled. No-one would answer my questions. And when I wanted to leave, I found there was no exit”
“So how did you get out?"
“A waiter called Ben. He showed me this.”
I drew the P. Luke smiled and added the two lines to complete it.
“It's a code” he said. “There are plenty of ways we have to recognise other kindred spirits, but if you're a waiter on the 6th level of Corpocity, there would be little else to identify you or anyone else.”
“What does it mean?” Ben had told me a little but I wanted to know more.
“It stands for Perennial Future. We are creating a future that is perennial – in the sense that it will endure, year after year for our children, our grandchildren and so on down the generations. We are not only creating ways to survive and indeed, thrive, in these changing and crises-ridden times, but we are developing ways to remediate some of the harm we have done to the land, to the wildlife, to the climate. We are harnessing traditional wisdom and experience with modern scientific research and with systems thinking. This is the Permaculture way. "
“Can you really do all this? “
“We can do it. We are many. We may appear to be infinitesimally small in Corpocity, but globally we are legion. And interconnected. Tomorrow I will show you the Global Room where we learn from and share with people from all over the world through social networking, Youtube, on-line colleges, open-source software, Skype”
“But when the infrastructures and the buildings of Corpocity weaken and collapse, what happens to all the inhabitants?”
“The 1% at the very top level will probably survive” answers Toby, Jess's brother. “They have their vast wealth and their heliports just above. Of those on the other floors who knows? Some may find an exit in time, as you did.”
“But only if they are prepared to down-size, to down-grade, to follow the servants or the 'lower-classes' “
“That's right,” says Luke. “Perpetual economic growth, and the rule of free markets is, has been for some time, the current obligatory thinking. Anything else is seen as a throwback to peasantry, to some kind of medieval Dark Age.”
“Well looking at all this, they couldn't be more wrong,” I say. “But it hasn't been all bad. What about fine art, architecture, classical music, theatre. Surely these need need artisans, artists, musicians, and wealthy benefactors and sponsors to support them? Surely you need cities for these?”
Luke's face lights up as he tells me:
“Certainly and with the increased leisure that is integrated into permaculture design, there will
be opportunities for an efflorescence of these. I'll show you some of the things we're doing tomorrow”
I can't wait.
After the meal, I help with the washing up and Jess shows me where I am to sleep.
I am unbelievably tired. I lie down and close my eyes, thinking of Luke.
I am suddenly awake. An alarm clock is ringing. It takes me a moment to realise I am back in my own bed at home. I go over all the details of the dream so as not to forget them. This is one of those dreams you don't want to leave. Somehow I must find a way to return. Go back to Everglade farm. Go back to Luke.
Do I find a way? Yes. But you'll have to wait for the next story!
* * * * * * * * * * * *