September 13, 2012 at 9:54 pm #257294
Recently had all my camera gear & lenses and high end laptop stolen. Anyway, the first thing that popped into my head was to replace it all, he cost… Blah blah blah, that was about a week ago but lately I have been thinking if maybe this isn’t an opportune time to reassess. I have the money to replace it, that’s not the issue.
It seems in moving to a simple life it gets complicated with stuff, regardless.
I am typing this on my phone,which sucks but there you have it. It’s like when my first marriage failed, I took the opportunity to really examine what I was doing, didn’t like it & changed from that consumption existence. Obviously this is not in the same league but still…
Wondering if anyone was ever in a similar boat? I mean I see thread elsewhere about issues with Ipad’s on the forums & it got me thinking, is that really the path I should go down?
Not having a dig at people with Ipad’s etc
eg I don’t seem satisfied & when I get another camera I know it will be a Nikon D4,so I am thinking maybe I should just not? I can enjoy the bush just as much without taking a photo of it.September 13, 2012 at 10:58 pm #527782veginoutMember
Sorry for your loss trandto, but I understand where you are coming from.
I’ve made the decision to buy/accept no more ‘stuff’ as I do believe that every ‘thing’ you own takes enegy to store/clean/maintain/charge/worry about being stolen/makes clutter – All of my energy seems to go into prividing for my posession/home/car/pets/property so I feel there is no time to enjoy the life I’ve created.
This is a totally unacceptable concept to the business sector and I am determined to become a shameful failure as a consumer – the economy will just have to function without my participation. To that end my supermarket spend last week was $3 for milk – haven’t made the $30 petrol voucher all year.
I do spend on goods that make me more self sustaining – solar pannels, dehdrator, fruit trees, seed packs, soil additives, goats, bees, fencing material. Gee I am a bit of a consumer – but no ipads or fancy cameras here.September 14, 2012 at 5:57 am #527783
veginout post=348786 wrote: Sorry for your loss trandto, but I understand where you are coming from
Lol that’s okay. Not the worst of it, my partner is freaking out ’cause we were drugged and knocked out so now she keeps thinking they could have done anything to her… anyway, we leave this apart of Cambodia in 2 weeks so that should help her. I am using her work laptop now, she volunteers at a local community centre (some of their money was stolen, it was wages for the local Khmer staff that my partner had just withdrawn from the bank… sigh) and brings the work laptop home at night for me to use.
veginout post=348786 wrote: I do spend on goods that make me more self sustaining – solar pannels, dehdrator, fruit trees, seed packs, soil additives, goats, bees, fencing material. Gee I am a bit of a consumer – but no ipads or fancy cameras here.
That’s another thing though I guess, as you point out it’s still all consumption isn’t it ? Honestly it isn’t a cost thing for me, I sold a very profitable business for a large sum of money so I funded my own retirement at 42, now 46 and have spare cash, and own our house and land outright. so I am not pushed into living simply because of circumstances or poor financial choices I made earlier in life but a genuine desire to explore life more simply.
I re-read the Ted Trainer treatise on “A Simple Way” again today, I remember scoffing the first time I read it but now… more reflective and maybe he has something. Even another thread here, someone bought a dehydrator and a bread maker and who knows what else… is that the way to go ? I can’t see how it is ? I mean if my fruit trees overproduce, so what ? Does it matter if it rots back into the soil, I have many fruit trees. Does buying it second hand help ? or is that just enabling eg I have friends say to me, “doesn’t matter, if I don’t like (whatever it is they bought) I will just flog it on ebay…” so is getting stuff just enabling an outlet to get rid of the crap they buy, so they can buy more crap ?
eg we had thought about buying a grain mill, but I don’t grow my own wheat etc so surely it makes more sense buying it already milled ie putting their big giant machine to more productive use rather then me buying another machine ? After all the grain still has to be transported, so does the flour, no loss/gain there (we bake our own bread) We do collect all our own water and generate all our own power, and collect wood for heating etc
Once again, not having a go at anyone, nor do I want to offend anyone else and the decisions they make…just trying to put some thoughts straight in my own head and looking for thoughts as I go, if people have comments or want to offer advice, that’s great.September 14, 2012 at 3:11 pm #527784
I used to think black and white when I was coming to terms with my “stuff”. Either I provided justification to have it, or if I couldn’t justify it, I shouldn’t have it. Yet this is at the heart of the issue of ‘stuff’ because it seems to take on a life of it’s own, while we feel completely disconnected to it.
Justification of stuff can never be justified though, lol. So the issues come back to what “stuff” should be – which is it’s uesfulness to humans. If it doesn’t serve a purpose then it will probably draw energy from individuals holding on to it. Which is why I occassionally like to do a severe cut of my possessions. Or if something breaks, I try living without replacing it for a while.
Inevitably I end up purchasing something new if the item in question was particularly useful. I did this with a wall oven which died suddenly. I tried cooking on the stove top, in the microwave and with smaller electric appliances. What I found is, I didn’t need to clean the oven or get it out to use it, which meant it gave me more time to enjoy cooking. I needed to experience the doing “without” the stove though, to recognise it’s usefulness.
I also had my camera break once too. It was a great little camera and I tried doing without another one. Instead I used my mobile phone camera I had at the time. What I realised is mobile phone cameras weren’t specialised like digital cameras were, so I got very little enjoyment from the photos I captured. So I went shopping for a new camera and purchased a similar one (really just a cheap digital camera) and found the process of taking images a lot easier, especially with the auto functional designed to help complete ameteurs like me. :laugh:
I couldn’t see myself needing a big fancy camera, although at times I know my little one doesn’t always capture the moment as well as I want. But then if I don’t take the time to learn the tricks with my cheap camera, then a bigger, fancier one will be wasted on me!
I’m currently going through another process with my dishwasher. It wasn’t washing dishes as well as it should, even after I did all the regular maintenance. So I started washing dishes by hand. But then found I could spend all day at the sink keeping up with all the dishes we create, cooking everything from scratch! I found the issue with the dishwasher myself, it just needed a replacement part that was cheap and easily accessed. Just when I thought I could get into using the dishwasher again, it started leaking underneath. Washed the dishes perfectly, but wet the floor afterwards. :shrug:
I suspect I know the culprit to this problem, but it’s located underneath a side panel. I couldn’t get it off to inspect the leaking part, despite the many screws I dislodged. I haven’t given up though. I will attempt it a second time when I have more time. But the one thing this exercise has taught me is I really like my dishwasher for it’s usefulness. I actually share the washing up duties with my dishwasher (when it’s working). When I have the time, I’ll do the dishes by hand, but more often than not, I find I load up the dishwasher with the items which can handle it, and then do a tray load of hand dishes left. I end up with a clear sink for about five minutes, lol.
Inevitably, I have found though, it’s not “stuff” which drains energy from me but rather I simply haven’t come to terms with the process of negotiating the usefulness of stuff. It’s not always a black and white issue, unless, like in the case of your recent theft, your stuff is removed without a choice. How can you negotiate that process? Other people can experience this too when a bushfire or flood wipes out their homes. I think when stuff is removed from you without your choice, there is a process of shock you need to allow through your system.
This doesn’t have to mean, all stuff is meaningless, simply because it’s not there. But rather, how do you negotiate the value of stuff by replacing it? The process is what determines what you end up doing, rather than a black and white response of not needing it because it’s no longer there.
As your experience involved some trauma, you may find it won’t be such a simple issue with you and your stuff. And please don’t underestimate your trauma. I did that when we experienced the Lockyer Valley floods last year. I felt I got away with my life, my family and the house wasn’t completely damaged. Yet the shock of what we went through, didn’t peak until about 9 months afterwards. At that point, we just wanted to do away with everything we had spent the past 5 years building. Because we expected we could a achieve the repairs in 6 months, what had taken us (two individuals) many years to accomplish.
Effecitively we poured ourselves into superhuman mode for 6 months and that takes it’s toll. The flood was enough of a shock to the system, and then we carried on in our hypo-achieve mode. So we had shock and then exhaustion set in. Anyone would want to dump their stuff after that. It’s too much of a burden to carry.
So issues for you will be – how useful is my camera to me as an individual, and allowing the trauma to pass through your system so you can decide.
One thing I will warn you of, although it will probably seem over the top when you were just asking about replacing equipment – but you and your partner will experience your trauma quite differently. My husband and I were like chalk and cheese after the floods. He went into the male denial state, that nothing could overcome his mental powers or physical strength. I went into the female state of super intution, where everything became a possible threat. Put us together and we became magnets with opposing forces. It drew us apart.
The reason I am saying this is, be aware of your partners super intuition state. If you are tracking denial as a way of coping, you will not want to engage with her super intuition state. If you have money to pay for good counselling, or just some really good friends, talk it out with others who are not so close as a partner is. Make sure you both get to talk it out with others. I know this seems really trivial, but you need to get the experience of being made powerless, through your system. It will surprise you in unfathomable ways otherwise.
My sister also went through something similar with her husband, only their’s involved being robbed at gun-point in their home. The experience plays with your ability to trust. I thought it was bad enough to read your stuff was stolen, but when I read of the circumstances behind it, I realised this was not just an issue about replacing stuff. This will be a journey about trusting what you have never been forced to question before, everything that makes you feel safe, in control and happy with life.
Simplifying may well help you at this point in time. It’s one of those things you will have to work through. Do you focus on a new camera, or do you focus on what really matters, you and your partner? No-one can answer that question, nor should they attempt to. It’s about working through issues as they arise.September 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm #527785RobyneMember
Sorry to hear about your loss but you were lucky it was all that happened you, On the news every night, here
there are robberies and home invasions murders. Makes you wonder what the world is coming too :shrug:
This passed year we have come tot he conclusion if we don’t use it, it has to go.
I put tape on all my clothes in an area that if I put it one it annoyed me like the sleeve ends or on a waist
band of a skirt. If it was still there at the end of the year it went to the opshop as I no longer wore the
clothes. I have lots of room. I have done it with all my stuff.
today I pulled down all my boxes of books and what haven’t looked through in the past year are going in our
garage sale on the long weekend.
I will keep my Kenwood, and bread maker as I make bread into dough its easier on my hands.
All the elctrical stuff I have is being seriuosly looked at as to wether I really need it or not and
if not, it to go. I will sell it and turn the profits into seeds for our future. :tup:September 14, 2012 at 6:15 pm #527786
Firstly, I am very sorry about what happened to you and your partner and I hope you can both heal from it and move on.
I recently sold all my stuff except what could fit in a 1m x 1m storage unit. We lived out of two suitcases for a year. We took the stuff out of storage seven months ago and I realized that I won’t need to buy clothes for many years! I got by with one pair of trousers and now I have several from storage. I ended up getting rid of more things after going through what I had stored! I have since bought more things, especially furniture and cookware but I took care to only buy things that I found beautiful, or if purely functional I bought the best quality I could afford. I haven’t bought more books, clothes or any kinds of trinkets. I have taken the time to hand paint my furniture so it is unique and beautiful. I am very happy with it and do not regret selling or giving away all the previous stuff.September 14, 2012 at 8:27 pm #527787
Thanks to you three above for replying, Metu,I hold her at night when she trembles with the fear of remembering and I hope I have some empathy for how she feels though I am not sure if I am in denial ? or honestly am not that fussed ? add to that we are leaving here in 2 weeks, while you could not just up and leave your place. As to counselling, we are doing Aid work in Cambodia, I doubt they have a counsellor in the country, it’s poor beyond the understanding of most in the West., and I always try to look at it with a sense of perspective, looking out my window at the people housed in the equivalent of my chookhose, it’s no big thing.
back on track…
I hear what you guys are saying but I am wondering if it is possible to transcend the justification of ownership by evaluation of utility ? I mean, asking is it useful, is that all it takes and saying yes it is or doing without as in Metus case with the oven and realising it was useful ? Surely not ? surely we also have to ask “can the planet afford to indulge me my choices ?” Is it okay to just consume a little less ? I mean I was reading a thread yesterday about manbags off all things, on a SMH website, and a few guys were saying how they were obsessed and had 10, and some other guy piped up he had 9 but had 25 pair of shoes etc.. As a keen observer f human behaviour, I found the article boring but the comments interesting. So I only have 5 pair of shoes (Steel caps, deck shoes, running/hiking shoes, cycling shoes and a pair of black dress shoes) and no man bag, I use all of them but surely that’s not all there is though ? I see the guys over here in Cambodia for example, some only have thongs, that’s it. Doesn’t matter what they do, welding on the roof, riding their scooter, going to the local cafe for lunch, everything is done in thongs or bare feet. So maybe societal expectation helps keep consumption levels up.
For example, I go to the occasional classical recital in Grafton, I can’t see me ever going in thongs but why not (aside from probably not being even let in) ? Is society forcing me to consume in that sense by imposing a sense of expected decorum ?
If all this stuff I here about the impact we are having on the planet being some magnitude of 10 too high for people in Aus and about 12 for the USA for example. If that is the case should those of us who understand that actually walk the walk ? sure a dishwasher is useful (not have a go Metu it was just a great example that you mentioned) but how do I justify digging a hole to mine the iron, to mine the coal, to ship it across 1000’s of miles, in ships that use the most toxic, dirty diesel there is, to refine it, to pour huge amounts of carbon in the air to smelt the aluminium… let alone ship it back to Aus, then the power it uses just to wash dishes… can I justify that ? Knowing all of that, if I go ahead and replace the stuff am I not just a huge hypocrite ?
I bet that hand painted furniture of Miaowzen is gorgeous, but isn’t it the case we have actually transcended utility in that instance ? I mean it functioned well before it was painted, so in buying that paint have we not just staggered into the consumption trap ? Like buying new curtains to replace existing curtains because they don’t match the furniture for example, hell we don’t even have any curtains and we both walk around butt nekid being on 50 acres :whistle:
It’s like those guys protesting CSG but then visiting the hospital the royalties from CSG pay for, or sending their children to school that was built from the royalties or accepting a pension etc from the resources from the tax paid by the business and staff working in that field, or cooking on electricity generated by the stuff. I can’t protest CSG because that’s me doing some of that.
and once again in no way am I being judgemental, you guys are making some excellent points and I am playing devils advocate out loud and hoping that bouncing a few ideas around I can get some better clarity in my own head. I am not casting any dispersions, I just bought a new high end pushbike for home to do some serious touring on. I bought it last month and had it shipped to my home back in Aus, we won’t be there for a couple months, I was betting on the high value of the Aussie dollar not continuing.
To give you an understanding of where my head is at I am re reading this stuff
Look at the second post by Geoff. Garnut states Aussies will never accept what we need to really do, is that the case, if so then all this hyperbole about carbon tax is simply theatre ?September 14, 2012 at 10:30 pm #527788
Sorry, didn’t mean to imply you were in denial, just because you were male :blush: just stating the case as it was for us after the flood. I wanted to raise the issue, not because you guys are incapable of looking after yourselves, it’s just that the trauma took us by surprise too. Being aware can help if things crop up later. They may not crop up, but you’ll have something to reflect on if things start spiralling out of control.
The thing with shock is, it doesn’t always hit you straight away. If shock isn’t involved though, then you’ll be fine and move on without issue. :tup:
I want to talk more about how much possessions is enough, but unfortunately I’ve run out of time for tonight. I will leave with these parting thoughts however, it’s always an individual choice for how much is enough. When we aren’t in the shoes of other people, we won’t understand their choices and vice versa. To reduce the concept into can or can’t to imply right or wrong, often doesn’t result in greater understanding.
Carers for those in the family with disabilities, will rely more heavily on technology to carry the burden of their responsibilities. Which is why I don’t like to view technology as a blanket waste. For some, it makes all the difference in coping with challenging circumstances. Who is to know? Only the individual can assess how much is enough for them, given that their circumstance may change at any given point in time. 🙂September 14, 2012 at 11:06 pm #527789
I don’t think it’s a ‘trap’ to consume. We consume every minute of every day. We start consuming before we even leave the womb and our bodies are consumed when we die. It is not possible to escape consumption. However we can choose what we want to consume. Yes, it is possible to be happy wearing thongs and perhaps just an animal skin for clothes and to eat weeds and live in a cave. But perhaps you can simplify without having to go to that level. It needs to be at a level where both you and your partner are comfortable otherwise you end up ostracizing your family.
Beauty, for example, is a way of expressing emotion and when surrounded by beauty many people feel happy. Now if you choose not to live in a house of course you will be surrounded by the natural beauty of the environment. But that natural beauty includes snakes and spiders and cold nights :shrug:
On the other hand, you could have one desk from a beautiful antique wood, or painted in colours that are special to you, and on that desk are your favourite books. You don’t need to keep books that aren’t your favouites of course. If you really love photography, your desk might have a special high quality camera and some well-framed pictures of your very favourite pictures (not a digital frame that shows every single picture you’ve ever done).
If you or your partner really loves cooking then why would you choose not to have any cooking equipment? Just get the best quality things and things that look beautiful and keep them. Use them and be happy. Don’t buy cheap crap and throw it out after a month like most people do.
It doesn’t have to be a trap, and if you think about it that way you may find yourself very unhappy with your imposed martyrdom.September 15, 2012 at 4:56 am #527790
Metu post=348812 wrote: Sorry, didn’t mean to imply you were in denial, just because you were male :blush:
ha ha, tis okay :tup: I have had a couple of near death experiences and some nasty crashes on my motorbike; punctured lungs, broken ribs, broken collar bones and legs at various times etc. shock makes me see the world in black and white, literally, I can’t see colour, has happened enough time for me to recognise the symptoms .. it’s quite odd and then I go bone cold… but that’s more medical shock.
Metu post=348812 wrote: I want to talk more about how much possessions is enough, but unfortunately I’ve run out of time for tonight. I will leave with these parting thoughts however, it’s always an individual choice for how much is enough. When we aren’t in the shoes of other people, we won’t understand their choices and vice versa. To reduce the concept into can or can’t to imply right or wrong, often doesn’t result in greater understanding.
I understand what you are saying but just to clear up a point, the list of things I can’t buy as an individual is longer then the list of things I can buy. Just pointing out that in no way is it up the individual eg I can’t buy a gun, a sling shot, a laser pointer (over a certain wattage), agricultural chemicals, etc , I also can;t buy a ferrari, a 747 etc because of financial considerations and how our society is set up. I guess I am disputing your point about how it’s “up to the individual”… there is also a plethora of things I can’t do because the penalities if I do them are severe; like throw littler, pee on the side of the road, pollute a creek, etc so my point there was, should my impact on the planet be totally commensurate with how many $ I have ? eg why isn’t a poor Cambodian lady as entitled to a dish washer as much as you or me (leaving aside the fact she doesn’t have electricity) Why are we entitled ? Is it just that we expect to be able to consume because we have a divine right when our neighbours (eg PNG) can’t ? Don’t they then have every right to say to me, well you need the equivalent of 8 hectares of land to support your western consumer lifestyle (according to Ted Trainer), I am only using 0.8, the planet can only support you using 2, so you owe me 6 hectare equivalents… and if we priced that at say $50,000 per hectare then all of a sudden, they have the wealth … (and that number will get worse as we get a few more billion on the Planet) and if we resit them, by virtue of force from them taking their share ie shoot and kill them if they try to come take it, is that a reasonable reaction ? Okay, a lot of big questions we will never solve but still…
This is getting way outside the scope of my original point, I am just a little at odds with this assertion that I am “entitled” to purchase what I want if I have the money. Is that not what has got the Planets ecosystem into the terrible situation it now faces ?
Metu post=348812 wrote: Carers for those in the family with disabilities, will rely more heavily on technology to carry the burden of their responsibilities. Which is why I don’t like to view technology as a blanket waste. For some, it makes all the difference in coping with challenging circumstances. Who is to know? Only the individual can assess how much is enough for them, given that their circumstance may change at any given point in time. 🙂
You raise an interesting point and I am being dragged off topic a little more but what the heck, I am not against technology at all… but to provide an alternate view point. The western world is consuming a vast amount of medical resources and vast amounts of money are being thrown at nonsense eg shaking leg syndrome for example because it can never be cured and they can sell drugs to you forever for it, let alone the nonsense of patents etc. A recent lecture I listened to from Dr Iain Frazer (the Aussie of the year a couple years back, cancer guy) stated Australian medical care is unsustainable (there’s that word again). It was at 12% of GDP when he gave his lecture and he said if it keeps increasing as it has been, it will be 20% and then go higher, comepletly unsustainable (his words), so what to do ?
Look to this lady she died for want of not being able to afford a simple operation to untwist her bowel and left behind 2 children, a $3000 operation would have saved her life… I only bring that example up as we helped her to die with some dignity and promised to help her children attend school etc. I am very uncomfortable with saying to her, you can’t live another 30 – 40 years for want of a simple operation but some Aussie lady needing $50,000 a year care can survive another 3 years, for example… I know at the moment we decide purely based on your country of birth but is that how it should be, should it perhaps not be needs based ? Why is not everyone equally entitled ?
Back on topic, I guess now I have thought about it more, my original point was more related to the fact even if we find the object useful or even want vs need are we still entitled ? I am still allowed to buy as much crap as I want and pay nearly no penalty aside from a modicum of GST and even then I avoid that if I purchase overseas and have it shipped ? Should we be changing the model ? If so , how ? IF not will that not just see the Planet go to hell in a hand basket, the only ting being in dispute is the timing. I am not sure we can change anything, greed and fear are way to high a priority in peoples mind … Should we just not care because, in all honesty the small decisions you and I and the others in this thread might make STILL puts us into the overconsumption basket, we still consume way more than our “fair share” on a per capital basis, even living a supposed “simple life”. So should it just be wtf and get whatever you want because our small contribution has no impact at all ? Of course then I think of that Gandi quote
You must be the change you want to see in the world. – Mahatma GandhiSeptember 18, 2012 at 7:35 pm #527791
so my point there was, should my impact on the planet be totally commensurate with how many $ I have ? eg why isn’t a poor Cambodian lady as entitled to a dish washer as much as you or me (leaving aside the fact she doesn’t have electricity) Why are we entitled ?
If I can reverse engineer this concept, what if the Cambodian lady was given a dishwasher that runs on solar power. Does that make her possession and use of one, “consumeristic”? Or would you take into consideration someone donated it to her, she works extremely hard to provide for her family (more than most Westerners) and if it was going to go to someone on the planet, why not her?
I think all your questions point to some rather interesting concepts we haven’t contemplated in the search for “how much” and why though. What does consumerism mean? Is it like skin colour used to be in the past. Where black meant slavery and white meant demi-god? Outlandish I know, but if there wasn’t those people who refused to be locked into those standards (in other words, they made up their own minds) would there have been a successful push for society to make skin colour irrelevant to opportunity?
The question I raise to you is, if we voluntarily live like the Cambodian woman on our Western shores, does that make life “equal” for her, where she lives? In theory, it would work this way – we give up resources so they can go to others. The reality is however, there are bodies of interest which have Cambodia indebted to the point of slavery. The only venture that will set her free, is to break the possession of slaves.
Is it really an effective tool to make “consumption” the only weapon of choice? As much as we may give up resources of our own accord, those lone bodies of interest will not let her country go of their debt. They will just squeeze harder to keep their own costs from spiralling out of control. Because slavery is cheap. If consumers stop buying, slavery has to be priced cheaper.
This isn’t a simple solution that will be matched by simply not buying. Obviously the answer then isn’t just to keep buying either. That’s why the solution has to be discovered during the process of change. I know when we made our so called “Simple Living” switch to the land, we thought we just had to apply the same determined mind-set we had in suburbia, and transplant it here. We figured it would be “better” used here. Nature all around us. Great! Turned out the land had it’s own ideas of what it needed, and was going to slowly teach us to adapt.
Because of this very simple lesson nature taught me, I recognise all the concepts in the world, all the PhD’s and government departments, don’t add up to a lot if it’s not based in the real world. I’m not talking about a conceptual real world, the one we like to paint and vote for, but the reality of the world we live in. The one where people die of cancer, or have a motorbike accident (life is unpredictable and hits different members in the community). It’s also a world where food isn’t distributed evenly amongst local communities.
That’s an Australian problem too. Why is it that those on the low side of the socio-economic scale cannot afford to eat Organic? They can only afford the cheapest, lowest quality of food the govt regulates to allow corporations the greatest market share. Anyone who understands economics will know the cheapest food is becuase the production is high. Where the production is high, quality is often low. So those on the high side of the socio-economic scale in Australia, are the only ones who can access high “quality” food.
I think the global reality just amplifies what we have running though our local communities, closer to home. When we can focus on changing where we are, rather than uprooting or selling possessions to bring about the perfect world, then we will see the global mirror reflect a different image. It’s not that I don’t care about the Cambodian Lady, I have a friend in the US who is in debt to the tune of $250,000 all because she was diagnosed with cancer after the economy took a downturn, and her husband lost his job. Health insurance is majoritively administered through employers. The Cambodian lady $3,000, an American lady, $250,000. It is about the cost of living (for the living) and it is about socio-economic status.
So how does giving up stuff in my own country, change a lot of that? Well, I won’t say it doesn’t change anything because it wouldn’t be true. It changes a lot when you evaluate what you have, versus what you need. It gives you a different perspective. Which is why I would say if you feel you need to see what going without a camera is like, then go without. Even if you did get another camera eventually, that process would’ve given you a perspective you didn’t have before. It may lead to another test down the track, where you find change is a little easier. You may give up a whole lot more in the long run, and it will mean something to you.
Permanent change for individuals (or at least in my case) has to be through being able to identify with the process. It’s not enough to have a concept forced upon one’s life and expected to get it. People have to experience it by choice, otherwise it’s just another random act Ye Gods/Politicians/Parents have inflicted upon mankind. When we translate the world in this way, we respond with random acts of conscience ourselves – we want to fix things we still don’t understand.
Why is it we get this privilege to decide by choice, and not everyone else does? Shouldn’t the more important question be, what will we decide with this responsibility, and how will we judge fairly? Rather than the alternative of avoiding giving ourselves permission today, until we can get everyone else in the world the same priviledges.
What if that never happens? What if we cannot effect the rest of the world how we hope?
I’m not saying your deep concerns are unfounded or should be tossed away. I’m saying, how do you judge what fair is by treating everyone the same? You get a whole lot of agony on your conscience, because it can only mourn reality without believing there’s still life to be enjoyed. Not just rights and priviledges for others, but enjoyment for you too.
I grew up on the low side of the socio-economic scale, so I have a dual perspective. There is a balance to be learned between how much is enough to enjoy the fruits of your labours, and how much is too much, so that you don’t waste it? This is not a question the Lady in Cambodia, my friend in the US or even my net worth can answer. It’s funny you know, because it’s only when I pitted my own nature against Nature that I started to make the connections about sustainable.
It’s not a number, a culture, a priviledge. It’s right in front of you, where you are and it’s going into your lungs as you read this, Yes, it’s invisible and you don’t understand it. But nonetheless, ALL life depends on you understanding it. Sentiment between humans means nothing, until we wrap our heads around how nature gets things done.September 21, 2012 at 7:06 am #527792
I deleted the rest of your stuff, not because I disagreed with it or thought it ludicrous but because I thought it thoughtful, provocative and engaging… I had a looooooong post in reply and deleted it, as I realised that was taking us to places way outside of where I had hoped to go, so if you forgive my indulgence. I am trying to steer it back a little to the key point of what I was trying to get to…
Metu post=348926 wrote:
It’s funny you know, because it’s only when I pitted my own nature against Nature that I started to make the connections about sustainable.
and here it is… By living our lifestyles, you and I, as we do, we are challenging nature. By challenging I mean we are living outside a sustainable level, no population anywhere has ever been able to do that indefinitely, I can’t see how we can either ? The floods you saw will be repeated, only next time bigger and harder. The drought we saw before it will be repeated, longer and drier, what then when there is another 500,000 in SE Qld
You say it’s important to be happy but I think we’re a long way from even defining that. I ask my partner if she is happy, she says yes, then I make her cry when I discuss this stuff with her, so is she happy or deluded ? I suspect you can’t have the former with out the latter. I am struggling for an analogy but here’s one perhaps that might convey what I am trying to say. I think if you asked any smoker as they puffed away, if they were happy, they would say “absolutely”, if they are then riddled with lung cancer 10 years later at deaths door, I am sure every single one of them would regret the decision to ever have taken up smoking, are they happy ?
If we know in advance that every single purchase we make is killing the ecosystem (in your face on the price tag of every item we bought), is it not our responsibility given that we know this**, to ensure we don’t engage in a similarly harmful activity. Are we perhaps suffering similar cognitive dissonance to a smoker ? Like a smoker who gives up, should we at least not try to reduce the impact and if we fail, have another go. I know there is a difference and my analogy is not perfect but are we not bringing down the death and destruction on others (ie worse then doing it to ourselves) by the simple act of millions of us buying cameras, a tin of dog food, a phones or …. ?
We are effectively saying, we can OVER consume (and I use the word “over” on a per capita basis because I think every other measure is deeply disturbing) because we are entitled by birthright. If the climate guys are right, we* will see drought and rain like never before, we will see average temp rises of 4 + that turn into local temp rises of 10+, we will see aridity and sea level rise on a scale we can’t dream of and the figures are so scary, many just scoff at them as alarmist… and are happy to mine CSG (for example) to burn in powerplants because someone conventionally decided the methane damage was easily spun with political rhetoric we’re lowering CO2 even though we can;t actually measure the production of it and when it did come out it was a issue, they’re political careers would be long past but we voters knew better and did nothing. Ex Science Minister Barry Jones admitted CO2 production was an issue for his Government and that’s Hawke’s era…!
It’s not that we should be rising the living standards of the lady in Camboida, it’s that we should be reducing ours to hers, surley (albeit education and health care should alwasy be priorities).
I am starting to feel very uncomfortable knowing I did not do my part in lowering my impact to a sustainable level.. and what is a sustainable level ? I guess at the moment I am using Ted Trainer’s treatise as a guide as an no one else is offering much of anything else ?
and I am starting to suspect that the simpler (but still over consumptive life) I changed to, was done for no other reason then to assuage guilt with little effective outcome because my simpler lifestyle is still consuming way to much…
*we = the peoples of the planet towards the end of this century, but in in place by US…albeit the change seems to be accelerating if the recent dearth of Arctic Ice and growth in Antarctic Ice is alarming even the alarmists.
** or are we still at that stage were we ignore the Climate Scientists ?September 24, 2012 at 4:32 pm #527793
I’ve had a few days off with family, doing regular stuff around home base. Being in my garden helps me ponder bigger things. I’m glad I took time away to ponder this post a little more too.
I didn’t wish to come here to tell you not buying a camera was “implied” wrong, compared to my dishwasher and various technologies I have found useful. I hope I didn’t give you that impression, as it was not my intent, After reading the title “Opportunity to reassess”, I worded my own reassessing process and how it has turned out for me. To which you may have felt the need to ask, why isn’t anyone else reducing consumption when it’s for the greater good of those without?
Reasonable enough question too. However it’s not something you can answer for anyone else, by how you look upon your own reassessing process. That’s why I ask you to be conscientious, as you read articles about the pro’s of reductions, to consider they are generally written for those of able bodies, with an option to cast off their “excess”. It becomes a different story however, if you have dependents (be that young, elderly or the infirm) in your care, whilst you also try to navigate reasonable reductions in consumption, and earn a living too.
And by earn a living, for those who do have the financial burden of carrying the costs for the young, the elderly or the infirm (as they cannot pay for themselves) it’s not always about buying a bigger television. Earning money goes towards medical care, trips to needed specialist appointments, and special education fascilities for those children with special needs. That’s before money can be spent on minor luxuries like repairing or replacing needed technology.
But then the real cost of those carrying dependents in our society, rarely gets factored into current economic models, let alone discussions about alternative ones. I know this is outside your personal reassessing process, but it’s the world happening outside your own. I only hoped to bring it to your attention (not to prevent you from charting your own course) just not to lose sight of those with financial disadvantage, looking after dependents in our society which cannot simply cast off their excess.
If I didn’t share it, how else would you know? :hug:
By living our lifestyles, you and I, as we do, we are challenging nature.
I agree. This is how it started for us, but it’s not the end of the journey. Nature had some important things to teach.
By challenging I mean we are living outside a sustainable level, no population anywhere has ever been able to do that indefinitely, I can’t see how we can either ?
I agree, living to the point of excess to prove one is living, is unsustainable. But to give you an example, relating to what Nature had to teach us along the way: we have learned the value in planting trees to control climate around the house, rather than importing electricity off the grid to run an air conditioner.
We denied ourselves an air conditioner from the outset. We also denied ourselves a connected to the grid solar system – all because we wanted to find the alternative to doing without. Nature provided that alternative solution, only just recently in fact. We had planted trees a few years ago, but as everyone knows it takes a few years for trees to start casting shade. We had some unbearably uncomfortable hot days recently, and yet under the shade of a tree, we loved it.
The tree never allowed the sun to dry the earth underneath, so there wasn’t any heat radiating up at our faces. The warm breezes which had to pass through the leafs of the tree, were cooler when they reached us. This particular tree has only started to shaded part of the house too, so it’s much cooler inside.
So while we may have started being a little deluded moving to the rural outskirts, thinking it was just a matter of taming nature. The reality of a more comfortable existence in the long term, required factoring nature in the LEAD.
While we come at it from different directions, I think we probably agree in essence that we have to start factoring in nature, more than man-made desires. We agree this is the goal, but how do we get there? I happen to believe Nature loves diversity, so maybe there is room for everyone to challenge the status quo, and make improvements in the ways they are capable.
I’m sorry if any of my commentary appears to shut down the direction you were heading. I don’t want to shut down your enquiring mind. I only have one view though, so it appears to have limited the discussion somewhat. Anyone else, besides Tranto and I, want to contribute, feel free. 😉 I agree we all must look at reductions, but how that process looks for every person is going to be different. This is why I don’t take my cues from articles that process numbers instead of people. I’d much rather deal in teaching people how to do better with natural things, than espouse numbers as corrective behaviours.
Having said that, I do happen to know that numbers are also what encourages some people to change. My way, is by no means, the only definitive way. I hope you and your partner are doing well, considering the challenges you’ve had to face recently. 🙂September 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm #527794
I wrote a long post in response to your post about my art being consumption, but I accidentally deleted it at the time. Since the thread is back I’ll add something brief.
I don’t think my art is consumption. It does something to my being and makes me a happier person. When I am happier I have a full cup and have more to give.
It costs money to paint, sew, knit, make things etc, but if I was forced to live 100% utilitarian I would feel imprisoned and very unhappy.
Some of the most beautiful and creative works of art came from the most primitive societies and so they must have set aside resources (peopl, tools, inputs) just for the creating of art. Having paints available to me to buy simply means I don’t have to make them myself. And why should I? We live in a more high-level society these days and don’t have a community to fall back on so we use retail trade in place of community.
If it is consumption, then consumption per se cannot be bad.September 25, 2012 at 1:25 am #527795
I think all your points are completely understandable. Metue, your issue with the added cost of care for special needs dependents etc is evident in the increasing cost of healthcare, my warning here is not from me but from others with greater intellect then I. Health care we now have is unsustainable ie its growing at a greater rate than GDP, if GDP stagnates (and it has too to be more sustainable), then healthcare costs will spiral out of control. Something will have to “give”. I guess it’s human nature not to face the issue until it’s too late, one just has to look to climate change for evidence of that. I do agree that heath and education should be paramount in ones community, many others disagree. I asked once about cutting the defence budget in half and using that money saved for pollution reduction, health and education and was pariahed.
As to your point on individuality, I agree, I just think it will be the death of us if we don’t price in genuine environmental damage now eg if Miaowzen paints cost $20 but does $500 in environmental damage because they had to be transported across the World and the materials sourced to produce them are done so in a destructive manner then the cost needs to be $520… and I am not having a dig at her, just using it as an example that was bought up, same thing could be applied to my camera. As to feeling spiritually fulfilled, would you say that guys doing burnouts in V8 cars who express something similar should be allowed to continue, where do you draw the line at being able to be fulfilled at the environments expense, who gets to determine another’s spiritual satisfaction ? My point is, surely you draw the line at where it’s sustainable, you guys seem to be saying that there are other concerns, I can only retort if you take more than the planet can give, eventually you have to run out and what’s sane, fair or sensible about that ?
I, like Thoreau, get fulfillment from being in the bush, so from that point of view all I have to do is wander off the front steps…. As to A/C, we deliberately chose a “golidlocks” climate for that very reason. We said, don’t fight nature, work with it. I think we used a pedestal fan about 10 times last year ? The mudbrick place we live in is reasonably well insulated as well
I had this debate we’re having with my partner, it “raged” for hours… she raised all the points you guys made, she said I was insane (I get that a lot in these debates… sigh) I finally got her to see… what’s the point… if we need to consume X to live in a sustainable planet bursting with over population and we cut back our consumption to X+Y, from X+Y+Z what’s the point ? why bother ? To feel good about … what ?? we haven’t achieved any outcome aside from self delusion. If you guys are right, self delusion leading to happiness is enough, is that a fair encapsulation of your arguments ?
She finally agreed but said, how do we determine X. I said, “I am buggered if I know” but I pointed to Ted Trainer’s piece as the only treatise I am aware of that genuinely addresses the topic (I am NOT saying it’s right, as I haven’t done the math and there may be alternatives) but if Ted’s right, our minimal lifestyle is anything but… and if the climate science guys are right, then we are all just kidding ourselves with nonsense like the carbon tax doing more harm then good as it deludes some who are concerned into thinking “we’re on the right path”…
Of course, none of that means the Planets ecosystem is saved regardless, the population momentum alone sees nothing but a bleak future ahead.
PS In no way was I trying to be disingenuous cutting out the rest of your points Metu, I just thought each point would make for pages of interesting posts by themselves and already we;re far from succinct.
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