There have been various attempts throughout history to solve the problem of the daily necessities of the human body, ranging from life in the wild with simple tools to life in the highly populated and mechanized cities. Physical and psychological well-being precedes any spiritual progress, so naturally one must address the basics of food, water and shelter first, with an eye on evolution.
For that, an evaluation of what Kheb would mean with respect to an individual and the surroundings is necessary. What distinguishes the evolution of a man living in the wild as compared to the man living in a modern city? Who, actually, is in a better position to evolve? To help figure that out, let us assume an individual being present in each setting. (As to who an individual is, please refer the discussion on psychological environments)
An individual in the wild has full access to nature twenty four hours a day, and therefore has a well-developed intuition for working with it, for identifying foods that are healthy for him and for identifying the nearest source for running water… he knows how nature speaks. He must however, spend a considerable amount of time in the process, and it might be a reasonable guess to say that nearly 7-8 hours of his waking time is spent in arranging and maintaining his vital resources. A couple of hours to identify and hunt for food, another couple to prepare it and consume it, and if he’s moving from place to place, that would increase the time spent in travel and establishing a new place. He nevertheless has a considerable amount of free time in the process, time which can be spent on developing the thinking faculty. His internal physical environment – in simple terms, his health – is generally optimal… no glasses, crutches or pills needed.
Now that he has time to think, what is the best use he can make of it? Thinking would lead him to figure out better ways to reduce the time spent on his daily activities, but there he soon reaches his limit, as the resources for experimenting are not available anymore! He has to restrict himself to what nature provides, as he is not able to access another aspect of human nature, which is tool-making or technology. To sum up, he gains with respect to natural intuition, health and free-time, but would be hard-pressed to develop his thinking and modifying the physical environment around him, both of which generally go hand in hand.
An individual in a modern city, by contrast, lives in a totally modified physical environment in which neither nature nor the person plays a role with respect to food, water or shelter. In other words, he is able to modify his external environment to a large extent, but as a social entity, not as an individual, and lacks the knowledge (practicing intuition) or the resources (quiet time and health) for working on his internal environment. In fact, he is as hard-pressed to manage the mental environment inside him as the one in the wild has with his physical environment around him.
What we see here is an either-or scenario, which can be rectified by looking at it from beyond either of them, and observing that for evolving, one needs both the physical and mental environment to be conducive to growth. Just as an organic garden is cultivated by human hands, but is neither left to the wild nor overdosed with chemical fertilizers, one has to obtain a physical and mental environment which interacts with nature and humans almost equally.
Looking around, which is the environment where an individual is able to reside in equal contact with people and nature? One good candidate for that is a farm or a ranch, or any settlement in a suburban area, which would serve as the intermediate zone, with access to the city and the countryside. When a sufficient amount of independence is obtained with respect to resources, the accessibility would not be that big a factor. A description of the interaction with the physical and social environments follows in the next two sections.
Kheb is a monastery, remote but not secluded, where people can have an alternative to the mercantile system that is imposed upon society by our political and educational institutions. It is a physical PLACE, and this topic is to discuss the facilities, structures, accommodations, and other physical constructs needed to successfully implement the ideas behind the Sanctuary Project, as well as the "political" structures of a new type of monastic system.
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