Newsgroups: talk.bizarre Date: Wed, 1 Dec 1999 23:35:50 +1030 From: Fred Hawes <email@example.com> X-Sender: fhawes@salam Subject: [FTSD] SimPLISSSSSSSSSS-ity! Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.3.96.991201233058.16784I-100000@salam> MIME-Version: 1.0 Lines: 75 My sister's been e-mailing me over about the last year and a half, telling me how she's discovered the life of Voluntary Simplicity. This began with a concern over how she was being bombarded with advertisements for useless products through the entertainment media. She also wanted to know if I could put her in touch with more "conscious" people, since she was losing patience with the people around her, all sleepwalking through their lives, absorbing those adverts for the useless products, buying those useless products, and Just Not Thinking. She wrote, at one point, that "in my various readings, I've discovered the Buddhist concept of Right Livelihood," which for her means a job that doesn't require dealing with frustration, so that she has decided to take early retirement. Beats me, I thought she already had Right Livelihood, she was a doctor. But what do I know? She's gone on to decide she needs to cut out all the useless consumer goods from her life, and radically simplify her life by getting out of the city altogether. She and her fiance are serious about this -- log-cabin-in-the-Oregon-forest serious! I especially like the way that, in every e-mail when she writes about Voluntary Simplicity, she says "I mean, *you* don't have any *choice*..." Don't get me wrong, I love my sister. But she's pissin me off with this. I think it's interesting, though, that, as we approach the end of the Middle-Class Century, more and more people are rejecting materialism and turning to this Voluntary Simplicity life. It's one of those amazing social trends that make good cocktail party talk; Simplicity as a growth industry. There are books to tell you how to do it right, clothes and appliances that integrate with the Simpler Life. I mean, I can see how it could happen. You'd be out yuppie-grazing with your coworkers, talking about derivative financial instruments and secretly cursing them for bringing up shop-talk at lunch, trying to eat your Gordian cha-soba gracefully while Tina Turner yowls over the PA about how "you're simply the BEST!" (and for a moment you fantasize that she means you personally, you feel good about that for a moment), and your cellphone goes off, and everybody in the restaurant checks theirs at once because they've all set the ring to "The Toreador Song" just like you did that morning, and you'd be saying to yourself, "What did I forget, what am I missing? -- Oh, yeah, SimPLISSSSSSSSS-ity!!" So then it's off to the bookstore, to get a copy of that excellent Edward deBono "Simplicity" book, with the flat white cover, title in white letters in bas-relief. Nice touch. Good read, too. Tells you you're on the right track. AFFIRMS your values. You're trapped by the trappings of the mindless consumer life, you realize it now, and you want to get OUT! You want to get Simplicity into your life. The right livelihood. The escape from consumerism. Clothes from Land's End, because they don't assault you with advertising, because they have that good, down-to-earth, home-spun quality. Ordered on-line to avoid the frustration and hassles of the mall. A life where you can BREATHE. The simple homemade virtues. The smell of homemeade bread, straight from the MACHINE. Uncluttered, unfettered, you can stay in your log cabin, it's simple to fix a fine simple meal because your large well-lit kitchen has only the best appliances. Uncluttered, unfettered, you can e-mail your friends, to tell them about the latest breakthroughs in your meditation, about how happy and peaceful you are -- except you can't yet, the T1 link isn't installed, they can't get their damn truck up the mountain through the forest. Sleepwalkers, DAMN them. You didn't have any trouble getting up on your dirt-bike this morning, what's the matter with them? How dare they complicate your life?