"To know when you have enough is to be rich beyond measure -- Lao Tzu"
"It's an interesting project. I've read about similar things but haven't known anyone who did much more than talk about these ideas. I have a lot of respect for your putting your life where your politic is.
The problem, in my mental universe, is directly linked to Lacan's discussion of lack. Capitalism is the ultimate fulfiller of human being's sense of lack. I've meditated on alternatives for long periods of time, and do not think many of them can offer this same infantile satisfaction. For me, I am striving (ongoing) to appeal to the infantile while making matters of importance impossible to ignore.
I have a lot of questions about what you are doing and I'd like to have a conversation about it. For example, I wonder if in some ways there is a nostalgia underlying some of this, and if so what is it a nostalgia for? Is a project like this a form of vanity (I'm not saying it is)? Is there a desire for impact beyond yourself? These questions are for dialog, not for pointed inquisition.
Something I've been reading a lot about is early 20th century America. A large part of America was rural, which necessitated self reliance and community alliance. It is interesting to me that such a history is so close, yet has been nearly forgotten. I understand that our current way of living is new, and it has not become fixed (rigid). "
"Sounds like a worthwhile endeavor. We just watched The Day After Tomorrow which shows in super-Hollywood hyper-melodramatic fashion the stuff of my nightmares about consumption and its impact. The best I've been able to do is generally observe Buy-Nothing day. I think that your comments about getting stuff for work are spot on. Sometimes I fantasize about being about to stop consuming so much, but then I have to go to work and meet various kinds of expectations.
My general goals in this direction:
*Learn how to do things by hand, i.e., sew, knit, grow food. We actually have enough land that with dedication we could mostly live off it.
*Buy as little processed food as possible.
*Throw away as little as possible (don't let food go bad, compost, give away our old stuff to charity).
*Drive as little as possible.
A goal I should accomplish this year is to super-insulate the house to reduce our energy consumption. But there's no way I'll get even close to doing what you're trying to do. I would hate to figure out how much I spent on junk last year - I'd embarrass myself. "
"The new project sounds fascinating and challenging! It struck a resonant chord with us, since we just spent 3 months preparing my parents for a move to assisted living near my sister in Palo Alto. The daunting task of moving from a house where they had lived for 50 yrs. to a 1 bedroom apt. overwhelmed them, and we had to make all the decisions about what to take / leave/ donate/ throw out, so we totally understand the significance of your task. Not surprisingly, we have shunned shopping as sport ever since, and we used to be champions. We feel like the cigarette smokers who are forced to undergo the smoke-till-you-hate-it method. With possessions, the excess creates such powerful aversion, it's almost as visceral."
"these are things i'm always trying to do on a smaller and quieter scale.... and people think i'm weird. in LA it often translates into me refusing to go somewhere or changing plans so that i don't have to drive or be in a car."
"I totally dig it and am one of those "throw away and buy a new one" guys...But when I buy I hold on to it a long time...maybe another part of the study? How long have you had the things that you keep? And what constitutes the longevity of keeping something especially in space limited New York City."
"this is a huge undertaking in this city...much less so elsewhere - the country, for instance - where people are home-centric and resourceful…i look forward to learning about your progress. "