Choosing the north of Scotland with its extremely miserable climate was kind of mad too. Why not be self-sufficient in the Caribbean? Lying on a beach under a coconut tree contemplating the infinity of the Milky Way beats huddling in a sleeping bag in a leaky yurt on a freezing winter's night. The people who were enthusiastic about the author's Utopian Experiment were quite mad, and the author saw that. He just didn't see his own was as bad as the guy, divorced from society, who wanted to build an ark to sail on the rising waters from global warming he only wanted pigs though, not two of everything.
After all, as he put it, "the pigs will show the way", The author couldn't quite commit to his own project. He brought his girlfriend whom he marries and her child to a nearby rented cottage and spent lascivious nights topped off by a hot shower and cooked breakfast away from the rigors of home-made toothpaste and a communal toilet that was a bucket with layers of sawdust.
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The wife gets fed up and finishes with him and the author loses his marbles completely and is committed to the local mental hospital. He has some understanding of this as he had been a psychoanalyst himself until he gave it up unsure if it was more damaging to his patients than healing. Quite a while later he emerges from the hospital with instructions to live a conventional life and not get involved with anyone for three years. The author returns to the site of his Utopia, aware of his own insufficiencies but not his own unimportance in the scheme of things.
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He wants to tell people he doesn't believe in the Experiment any more and everyone must go home. But the place and the people have made a success of it without him. They don't need him any more, bye bye Dylan, you can slink away without guilt or anyone really even noticing you've gone. The experiment had been renamed Phoenix, a thriving commune of considerable self-sufficiency and apparently is still going today. The author returned to his profession of artificial intelligence in robotics and risk intelligence but got into trouble.
A female colleague brought a case of sexual harassment against him after he showed her don't laugh, be pc about this please an article on oral sex between you are going to laugh fruit bats! Some bats have really interesting sex lives , one male, lots of females and everyone going at it for what looks more like fun than breeding alone. Seriously, sexual harassment? He eventually got the courts to dismiss the university's harsh sanctions and condemn him only of the very mildest of minor sexual harassment.
But the life of a lecturer in various behavioural disciplines didn't take away from his yearning for the simpler life and he now lives on a ranch with his wife and horses in balmy Guatemala. The author is definitely 5 star interesting, the book is 3 star, good but not great.
So that's an average of 4 stars. View all 15 comments. Apr 17, Paul Bryant rated it liked it Shelves: autobiography-memoir. It was one of those things like when you notice someone has a funny way of blinking or compulsively pulls at their left earlobe. Every two seconds…YURT! We built a YURT.
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Then we built another YURT. I intended to spend the winter in my YURT. I became concerned about the sogginess of my YURT. YURTOPIA So… Dylan Evans was an academic robotics researcher who decided that he wanted to conduct a real life experiment to see what would happen after civilisation collapsed, no electricity, no manufactured objects, living off the land, old stone age, cool.
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Like Walking Dead without zombies. This was just the usual white male middle-class delusional fantasy which has spawned a million science fiction novels. Its half-heartedness and ambivalence mirrored that of its creator and the mild grimness of its grungy no-toilet-paper leaking-yurt daily-vegetable grind send Dylan into a mental tailspin which ended with a few weeks in a psychiatric institution, bemoaning the wreckage of his life. I could have rented it out and moved back in after… with less money to blow on ill thought-out acquisitions that quickly fell into disuse I could probably have done the experiment for a fraction of what I eventually spent.
Nor did I have to give up my job…. The concept was to inhabit a couple of acres of the Scottish highlands one of the wettest parts of the globe for 18 months only and advertise for temporary residents to come and participate. Yes, more yurts! Yurts stretching all the way to the horizon! Dylan seems not to have factored into his idyllic bliss-out the stress of vegetables. Anyway, a couple of gnarled ur-hippies join him in his yurtopia. One calls himself no really!
One day he sits down with Adam to figure out some basic rules for Utopia. But all I succeeded in doing was to open a can of worms. One rule was about what to do about outside purchases. This is of course the Walking Dead method of staying stylish — have you ever noticed their clothes?
In fact Dylan was a morass of psychological conflict from the get-go — some time after the beginning of the experiment he got his girlfriend to live in a nearby house so he could live both kinds of life at the same time — hot shower on Tuesdays and Sundays, cold yurts the rest of the time. At least, until they broke up. He became able to see it for what it was: Now, almost a year into the experiment, every trip to the supermarket felt like a betrayal. How valuable a simulation of life after the collapse of civilisation could it be, if we were still popping down to Tesco every week?
Beginning with three people, after a year there were usually between eight and twelve people working away at the vegetable gardens. Now he has no job, no house, no girlfriend, no prospects. He's spent ALL his money from the house on funding this ridiculous excursion.
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He gets suicidal and checks himself in to the mental hospital. More optimistic thoughts arose in his mind : Given that everything will come to an end eventually, does it really matter if humanity lasts another million years rather than just another thousand? Since civilization is bound to collapse sooner or later, does it matter when? Okay, try this : Even if humans discover how to prolong their lives the universe will eventually unravel and freeze.
And then there will be nothingness for ever and ever, and permanent darkness. So, you know, cheer up! Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we go to Scotland and live in a yurt. View all 11 comments. Mar 21, Veeral rated it did not like it Shelves: biography-memoir , non-fiction , read-in , science-nature-non-fiction.
Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. TUE is supposed to be a self-sufficient community after an imagined collapse of society. The author seems quite surprised that it mostly attracts survivalist idiots and hippies, most of whom think that end of the civilization is imminent.
What was he expecting? It didn't help that the author was suffering from depressi Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. It didn't help that the author was suffering from depression which was getting worse as he was realising the futility of his experiment when they were still buying products from a supermarket a year into the farce, instead of being self-reliant as he had envisioned before starting the commune. Nothing much happens throughout the book. In the end, the author seeks psychiatric help - which he should have done instead of starting TUE in the first place- gets better, takes a new job, assimilates himself again with the society, and after a few years, writes this book.
Behind the Book
View all 3 comments. Shelves: radio-4 , published , spring , mental-health , nonfiction , abandoned , next. While lecturing in robotics, academic Dylan Evans became increasingly concerned by the visible impacts of global warming, population increase, terrorism - and by our inability to cope with a doomsday scenario in a world engineered to just-in-time living.
The concern became an obsession and Evans left his post to run an experiment. He set up a camp that would create the conditions for a post-apocalyptic world.
It was established in the Scottish Highlands with a collection of people chosen for talents and skills necessary in a life without technology or comforts. The resulting story is a Lord of the Flies for the modern day, treating serious and normally sombre topics with dark humour. At its heart, however, is one man's well-intentioned dream and the price he paid for trying to do something good.
Why is it that folk who are so scared of a dystopian future start trying to live it long before that is necessary. Mr Evans comes over as rather a controller, and narcissism makes an appearance whe he reveals he wouldn't mind being thought of as a guru. Not for me at this time. Mar 19, Christine rated it did not like it Shelves: radio-bbc-4 , audiobooks , rlftci-challenge , psychology , non-fiction , authors-e-to-h , releases , wheel-a-thon It seemed to me that he was standing at the sidelines and just watched the utopia project go down the gully.
Why would someone like that go back to the beginning of it all?