Bike Forums

Bike Forums (https://www.bikeforums.net/forum.php)
-   Living Car Free (https://www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php?f=226)
-   -   How simply do you live? (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=163801)

cerewa 02-27-06 03:08 PM


With losing my truck, renting a smaller place, no cable and other oods and ends I expect I can save roughly $700.00 a month if not more. Some I can put to charity while the rest can go into helping me open my own PC shop one day.
Way to go, DavidLee. In my opinion, it's good for the world, when people decide to live in spaces no larger than they need (and don't have to clean/heat/cool a larger space than they need) and let go of possessions they don't need. There are plenty of people who could benefit from having more possessions and resources, and those of us who have more than enough can do our part by not overconsuming and voting/giving in ways that hopefully direct resources to people who need them.

Crazy Cyclist 03-02-06 11:07 AM

I have nothing against having nice things ( plasma tv's, I Pods, Pc's) but if a person can't afford to buy them, than they shouldn't buy them. I have a bike, a tv ( not a plasma or anything like that) a CD player.

I have no car ( I have a drivers licence though) and I am happy. If Icome across some extra money and I can afford to buy something than I will buy it. I try and buy things for my bike before I buy things for myself. I pretty well have all I need.

pakole 03-03-06 01:13 AM

Hey would not buying things for your bike be buying things for yourself as well?

kf5nd 03-03-06 08:17 AM

Living simply is next to impossiblewith kids, because you've got all of their cr** and sh** to deal with. Honestly, children are the most messy creatures on the planet, and it seems to get worse in the teen years.

When my son goes to college in four years, the house will be much simpler and cleaner!

koine2002 03-04-06 12:28 AM

Well, I live in community with about 30 other people. We cook for one another and have a chore schedule to keep our 5 acres clean. It so happens that I also live across the street from the office. I pay about $200 for room and board as well. I walk to work everyday and use the bike for getting around town. I own a computer. I'd be completely car free, but as an itinerate speaker, I'm on the road a lot and driving is a vital part of that--though I usually rent one or use a company car. I'm with a non-profit doing aid work in the 2/3 world and many of us seek to model a simple lifestyle to reflect the lives of those we are seeking to impact.

vrkelley 03-04-06 12:36 PM


Originally Posted by smilin buddha

But the guy across the street was spending 30 dollars a day on gas to run his large tv and all the items in his house. I realized I can be happy with a hot cup of coffee and a warm meal. It was nice to go to the spare room and see so much space. I

No hurricane here. Yet I'm thankful also for these same things. Hoping this will go better for you smil'n

sfcrossrider 03-21-06 01:19 PM

I live across the street from Ocean Beach and next door to Golden Gate Park. All I care to do is surf and ride my bike, so my needs are met by default.

smilin buddha 03-27-06 05:09 PM


Originally Posted by vrkelley
No hurricane here. Yet I'm thankful also for these same things. Hoping this will go better for you smil'n


I am hoping for a quiet year. But you never now. I found that the generator was not needed by me. I spent several nights reading by lantern. Of course it was nice to have the guy across the street for one hot meal a day. Of course the gas powered shower gave me something to look forward to.

Portis 03-27-06 05:19 PM


Originally Posted by pakole
Hey would not buying things for your bike be buying things for yourself as well?

Hey that's a good idea..."honey, it's not for me, it's for the bike!"

jww106 04-22-06 07:39 PM

wow this is an amazing thread
 
my partner and i are going through some of these issues. she got admitted to a phd program at mich state starting this august and we are debating whether we want to buy or rent-either way we want to get a bigger place than we have now so that we have a space to store and work on bikes besides next to the dining room table. :) and possibly create a rock climbing space-i think the majority of our stuff is based on the activities we like to do-ride bikes, camp, rock climb, snow shoe-your typical outdoor couple.

but i also am coming out of 3 years of making little money - being in grad school, then doing a one year stint in Americorps-all that time depleted my savings account-although aside from school debt, my ccs are pretty much untouched. but having a regular full time job is a real struggle at times-i already bought a new bike-and sold my old one through craigslist-but i felt like the whole time i was making less money i was making a list of things i "needed" to do once i got a paying job again-of course i didn't realize that until the last couple of months-when the paychecks started rolling in...

NuCommuter 04-25-06 11:36 PM

Inspiring.
 
This is one inspiring forum. I don't live very simply at all--three part-time jobs, multiple sports (kayaking, skateboarding, swimming, running, biking, and chasing my 8 year old daughter around the house), and a very cluttered schedule and house. I am interested in reducing my footprint on planet earth, and have taken some modest steps in that direction--I'm vegan, live purposefully in a two-family house in the city rather than the 'burbs, drive a biodiesel-fueled car, give a good chunk of my income to The Nature Conservancy, and have been biking to two of my three worksites for a couple of months now... but I'm a serious clutter-head, as is my wife. You've given me much to think about; I'm not sure I'll ever look at shopping in exactly the same way again. It's so easy to fetish-ize objects. Rather than thinking what I "need" for my bike and outdoorsy lifestyle next, I'm thinking in reverse--what can I do without? Muchas gracias,

NuCommuter
Cambridge, Mass.

Starven_Marven 05-01-06 10:57 AM

I've been trolling this thread for a few weeks now. I want to say thank you for this great thread. Though I am far from simple living, this has helped in evaluting many of my own wants and needs. Anyone that has made it car free has my praise, as this seems so far away from what I could do.

Keep up the great work and thanks for the great thread.

Jack Burns 05-05-06 06:58 AM

"Throw your tv at your car."

I love that tagline! Very Abbeyesque!

Jack Burns 05-05-06 07:42 AM

Wonderful thread, except for some of the personal attacks.

I tip my hat to my fellow "simple livers" and offer sincere words of encouragement to each. I was once a heavy consumer, drunk on the elixir of things and a fat paycheck. But one day while sitting on my patio over looking the unnatural deep green landscape of a golf course, I suddenly came to the realization that something was terribly wrong.

Over the next ten years, I went through a process of reeducation and devoted my life to sustainable living and environmental protection. But it's not been easy.

I'm the Chief Operating Officer of a high tech company, have a good income and lots of responsibilities working with people who do not share my worldview. As far as I can tell, I'm the only corporate officer in my city that commutes by bike to work. And I don't know of any other companies that use consensus process for decision making and offer all employees ownership and decision making ability. I guess you could say it's my own little social experiment. But I digress.

I'm married and have three kids. Of course, all want cars. One in college has a car; one in college does not. My wife drives my 1988 BMW 528e, the last car I ever bought, and I'll never buy another.

We currently live in a rented house, and there are very good reasons for this choice. iBarna, you are not alone. I'm not a big fan of the whole land/home ownership thing, although you can easily make a sound fiscal case for it. I've always more closely identified with early Native American concepts of land stewardship and occupancy. However, my goal is to ultimately purchase some land and build a small cabin somewhere. I think that's the only way I'll be able to protect land from development, not worry about being kicked off, restore native flora and protect native fauna.

But the fact remains that home ownership has become a cudgel of sorts in our society. A way for people to accumulate wealth and therefore power over others, and it also drives development and the exhaustion of resources and is therefore inherently unsustainable.

I do own books, music and art, most of the latter produced by friends and my son, a student at Maryland Institute College of Art. And camping gear. I'm an avvid backpacker but not a "gear head."

We live in a community where everything is accessible by walking or by cycling, and we're fortunate to have a network of bike lanes.

I maintain a garden, and I'm working to produce as much food as possible.

Our landlord is gracious and kind and has agreed to let me convert the property to a wildlife preserve of sorts, never using chemicals and allowing some deadfall and refuse to remain for the critters. I'm also an amateur ornithologist.

I don't use credit cards and only keep a debit card for traveling needs.

In short, we attempt to "live in place," meaning, we try to live locally, buy locally and use as little fossil fuel as possible. I believe this is only path to sustainability. Sustainable means that the society does not consume more natural resources than can be replenished by natural biological and geophysical cycles, and does not produce waste faster than can be dispersed by natural biological and geophysical cycles.

I think its pretty clear that any group that does not follow these simple guidelines will not long last.

Want a sustainable society? Well, social systems derive from the actions of the people, reflecting those actions and instructing new members of society on how to be a successful human being. It seems unlikely that we can change our social system without first changing our behavior. There must first be a successful society of people living in harmony with local cycles, before it can be a model for all human societies, in their infinite variations on the theme.

So, we can start with what we have, discard what we don't need, reject the foolishness and destructiveness of the present consumptive example and begin to ease toward a lifeway offering a path to a more sustainable future.

adgrant 05-05-06 08:49 AM


Originally Posted by Jack Burns
But the fact remains that home ownership has become a cudgel of sorts in our society. A way for people to accumulate wealth and therefore power over others, and it also drives development and the exhaustion of resources and is therefore inherently unsustainable.

Ownership of land has always been about wealth and power dating back to long before the feudal system of government in Europe (one notable example of this is William I of England and his "Doomsday Book"). It is in no way new nor is it limited to "our society". Life is for most people (and animals) a competition for resources.

The U.S. lifestyle probably is unsustainable for economic reason if nothing else. Unfortunately, China is waiting to take our place.

Jack Burns 05-05-06 12:36 PM


Originally Posted by adgrant
Ownership of land has always been about wealth and power dating back to long before the feudal system of government in Europe (one notable example of this is William I of England and his "Doomsday Book"). It is in no way new nor is it limited to "our society". Life is for most people (and animals) a competition for resources.

The U.S. lifestyle probably is unsustainable for economic reason if nothing else. Unfortunately, China is waiting to take our place.

That is a true statement. However, my concern is with the present society.

But you are not entirely correct about "competition for resources," and I would add that humans are animals, which is another problem in our society. Many (most) people (anthropocentrism) see themselves as somehow separate or superior to other animals, and they are not.

In the current orthodoxy, the term struggle is endowed with Hobbesian and Social-Darwinian meanings: struggle is the war against all and the survival of the fittest in a regime of continual, mutual aggression. This notion was not Darwin's, and it is not only ideologically distorted, but in my opinion, factually wrong. By no means do all creatures behave in this way. In fact, no creature, not even the "king of the jungle," endures wholly through predation. Look at the simplist creatures, microscopic cellular beings on which the entire biosphere rests.

The British palaeontologist Richard Fortey points out, the first "sustainable" systems, the mat creatures or stromatolites whose lineage goes 3 billion years back to the Precambian period (roughly 2.4 billion years before the emergence of more complex multicellular organisms), and that still endure in certain protected locales, are composed of layers of prokaryotic bacteria, the topmost, doing photosynthesis, the lower layers breaking down the waste products of the upper by fermentation, the whole given structure and nutrient by trapped grains of minerals. It's a sustainable system in miniature, one where existence at base can be thought of as reciprocal rather than competitive.

And there are other example, as well, in pre-contact and post-contact societies.

FXjohn 05-05-06 01:11 PM


Originally Posted by Jack Burns
Many (most) people (anthropocentrism) see themselves as somehow separate or superior to other animals, and they are not.

.

Maybe you aren't, but I am.

Jack Burns 05-05-06 02:46 PM


Originally Posted by FXjohn
Maybe you aren't, but I am.

Well, I'm happy for you. But I have to ask....

How so?

FXjohn 05-05-06 03:55 PM

If you don't think your life, your emotion, creativity, etc aren't superior to a fieldmouse, who am I to disagree with you? Hell, chop yourself into catfood, equal it all out.

Jack Burns 05-07-06 07:18 AM


Originally Posted by FXjohn
If you don't think your life, your emotion, creativity, etc aren't superior to a fieldmouse, who am I to disagree with you? Hell, chop yourself into catfood, equal it all out.

Superior? Maybe so. Maybe not. That's a human term and value system you are projecting on to the fieldmouse, who (for as far as we know) is perfectly satisfied with its existence.

The fieldmouse can live anywhere and doesn't pay rent. He doesn't have to deal with divorce, the IRS, drive by shootings and maintaining an expensive residence. He just gathers his food and keeps a watchful eye for snakes and hawks and spends his or her days running about and making other fieldmice. So, maybe the fieldmouse has the "superior" existence.

I used to think as you do, but my point is this. The fieldmouse and all species, including humans, all play important roles in an ecosystem. In the world of biology, no species is more or less important than another. This concept of "superiority" is a construct of the Judeo-Christian world and its theory of man being the only species created in the image of god, a belief that has contributed heavily to species extinction.

Folks can believe, based on faith alone, these sorts of stories, but the equality of species in an ecosystem is rooted in scientific fact.

SmithW6079 05-07-06 10:57 AM


Originally Posted by schiavonec
man is rich in proportion to things he can AFFORD to leave alone.

This may be an assumption on my part, but I am curious as to how many of the respondees are:
- not in profession careers where appearance matters (this isn't a dig, but some folks have to wear suits 5 days a week - thankfully not me);
- married
- with children (a whole host of 'crap' comes along with the lil ones);
- business owners;
- pet owners (larger than 10lbs);
- caring for parents or elderly family members;
- property owners
- business travelers (not always a bus available when you need a 4:30 am red eye flight)
- coaches for traveling sports
- dependent on medical devices for basic health maintenance

None of these are digs by any means though, just aspects that make simple living not so simple. Overall, it may be easiest to live simply when young (18-28 and single, or older (65+ and single). I applaud anyone that can live simply and raise a family: it is a cummulative triumph for them.

I've long been a lurker on the Living Car Free forum even though I currently own a car. I bike and walk as much as I can in the summer but living in a harsh winter climate makes that more difficult. However, my father cycled or walked 2 miles to work for over 30 years so I know it can be done. I live a reasonably simple life (besides the car), rarely shop for anything, and could care less about the Joneses. Most of my recent purchases are related to my bike: a new rear tire after riding on the original for nearly ten years, some fenders for commuting in inclement weather, rain gear, a better light, etc. I own some books, CDs, and clothes but will attempt to purge some of that as I will be moving shortly.

My question relates to the post quoted above. I'm not single but will likely be falling into the "renter/home owner, married with children, and possibly pets" category soon. The idea of a simple life is very appealing to me as I think one of the most precious things in life is time and the ability to spend it how we choose. I'd rather own less things so that I can work less and subsequently have more free time. My girlfriend on the other hand is more career driven and more materialistic, but not nearly as bad as most people. I want to live a simple life but it looks increasingly less likely to happen if I stay on the current course. Has anybody tried to pursuade a significant other of the benefits of the simple life or is it a lost cause? I think James alluded to the fact that simple living is not necessarily about the number of possessions but about your attitude. I might be able to convince her that some "needs" are actually "wants", but regarding her attitude towards life, I'm not so sure...:(

One confused Canadian

donnamb 05-07-06 12:17 PM


Originally Posted by SmithW6079
My girlfriend on the other hand is more career driven and more materialistic, but not nearly as bad as most people. I want to live a simple life but it looks increasingly less likely to happen if I stay on the current course. Has anybody tried to pursuade a significant other of the benefits of the simple life or is it a lost cause? I think James alluded to the fact that simple living is not necessarily about the number of possessions but about your attitude. I might be able to convince her that some "needs" are actually "wants", but regarding her attitude towards life, I'm not so sure...:(

I have seen several relationships end amongst my peers because of this very issue. Person wants to live simply but partner isn't interested in that. Even if person tries not to push the issue, they begin to feel some resentment because they cannot live in a way that is important to them. Partner begins to be defensive and indignant about it, and often swings further in the opposite direction just because they feel pushed. This causes the little issues and resentments to be magnified in both of their minds and break up occurs. It can happen over months or decades. I've seen it happen to all kinds of people because of a great many issues such as meat eating, religion, gun ownership, sexual practices, interest in types of sports or travel, and even hobbies that can be life changing. If the couple is lucky, they break it off before children or pets enter the equation.

I hate to sound super negative, but when someone has a strong belief in something that is totally life changing but their partner isn't interested, that someone either has to shelve it, drastically modify it (which is a lot like shelving it), or end the relationship. I have never seen anyone successfully convince anyone else to adopt lifestyle changes this drastic for the purpose of maintaining a relationship. (I make a distinction between these big issues and the "little things" that one always has to negotiate and compromise in a relationship.)

atman 05-08-06 10:57 AM

Here's a thread that seems worth posting to...

My driver's license expired in 1999, which brings me to this forum in the first place. It wasn't long after that that I started living with the woman I'm now married to, who owns a car, so I can't be said to be car free, just a passenger extraordinary who has organized his life so all daily needs can be met by bicycle or public transportation.

I believe in the Way, and following it has lead me to an appreciation of the natural. Nature is simple, but never simply simple; she takes as many forms as needed and none other. A natural food such as an apple is vastly more complex than a heavily processed one such as an oreo cookie, which is simpler in composition despite having more 'ingredients'. I strive to eat food which are full of nutrients and closest to their unrefined state as possible; in preparing a curry I might use twenty ingredients not counting spices.

I think I own more stuff than most people my age. In our last move a lot of dead weight was shed, but we still have a lot of stuff. It's carefully chosen stuff. The bulk of it by weight is books. I grew up in a household with a captivating and large library of books, which is a legacy I hope to pass to our childen. Words are my special gift in life and as a literary person it is a privilege to maintain a library, which I use as a foil for my creativity and as solace in the dead of winter.

I am also a lover of tools, and use them, so I have many. What I don't have is huge boxes that are meant to provide every conceivable tool for any job; my tools are typically acquired one at a time, for needed work; it's just that as my interests in making and repairing are wide-ranging, I have many of these tools. It would not simplify my life to be rid of them, it would merely simplify my moving process. Many of these are kitchen tools; we are notably lacking a microwave, which we consider unhealthy for food, and a dishwasher, which didn't come with the apartment and is unneccessary.

I consider my life simple. Our flat has an open floor plan, with one large wall that separates a bedroom and bath from the other room, which has the kitchen, half bath, an elevated area, and a large open gallery. I wake, make tea, maybe eat, stretch some, and begin working, which I do from my computer station. I have a desk for art, with a chair, and two other chairs for older folk or those accustomed to it to sit upon, and a couple futons on our platform for floor sitting. A piece of melamine-covered plywood on top of two sterilites provides a table and storage and is put away for cleaning and other uses of the space. Drums and circus equipment is along another wall, with fittings in the ceiling for trapeze and all that. The bikes take up more room than they should, and soon will be hanging from the ceiling also. The open gallery is for yoga and dance, and sees a lot of both.

The space is fit to our needs. Everything supports us in some aspect of our lifestyle. We own a CRT tv, which is hauled up maybe 6 times a year from the basement storage and laboriously set up for movies; someday with some more money, we'll get a projector, which is simpler by virtue of disappearing when not used even though it's more expensive than a large TV that would dominate the space off or on.

I own an xtracycle and use it to haul drums, drive my wife out to our favorite Thai food joint, and pick up organic groceries at the local greengrocer. I consider anything within a 15 mile radius fair game, which covers my city with overlap to the important suburbs. I'm a vegetarian with increasingly strong vegan tendencies, who just put a leather saddle on his bike.

Balance is key; a plant can support so many healthy branches and no more. I feel healthy with the number of activities I engage in, as wholesome to my nature: to read, write, play music, paint, tinker, prepare delicious food, ride my bicycle, spend time with my friends, these bring me satisfaction. I hope someday to build a home from natural materials such as cob, off-grid and self-sufficient in heating and water, as a base from which I may live calmly; I have no interest in further debt after what I owe is paid. It would be wonderful to travel the world by boat and bicycle; this too is within the envelope of the possible.

If an object or activity is not in keeping with my Way, we part ways, amicably if possible. Many of my happiest days have seen my possessions kept in a single backpack for months on end; I believe that this freedom can be combined with a smart built and cozy home base, full of books, a shop, beautiful art and a space for physical activity. The simplest life is lead by mendicant monks, and I admire it but do not wish to emulate it. If I am guided there, there I will go.

0_emissions :=) 05-10-06 07:19 PM

I live quite simply as well. I have a bed/futon, coffee table, shelving, and everything else like clothing, bike stuff, food, etc. I don't own a TV, and don't own a computer. I use the one at work, which is why i'm, ahh, not working right at this moment.:D But yeah, It feels good, especially at moving time. Carrying sh*t upstairs sucks...

_BK_ 05-11-06 01:34 PM

Smithw6079 - I've been with my wife for 10 years. Not long, but long enough to realize that people change over time. I am not the person I was, nor is she the person I first fell in love with.

I suggest you just live your life how you want and your partner needs to be let alone to make their choices as well. Lead by example, if your way is working out well they may just adopt it too. If not, that is OK.

As for having a child, a large dog, a house, and a business, etc. Those things are in my life. They are my life. We have two cars. One is now a prius and the other may become one soon.

I lurk here because I believe in simple and a little reading here now and then keeps me inspired.

Good luck.

heywood 05-13-06 10:15 AM


No car. I don't own a computer. I don't own a cell phone. I don't own a TV. I have never ...

Then dude...how are you posting on a web forum???

c'mon guys we're using the ultimate in western late 20th early 21st century communications systems..riding bikes that have come from centuries of materials experimentation and design that is the product of even more centuries of technology and advancements that have given us the ability to have "free time" that allows us develop and advance more. All those geniuses that have come before us and the engineers and scientist and labourers that figured out metal smelting and sidewalks and concrete mixing, etc..etc.. seem to being swept under the carpet by alot of posts on these forums.

I agree that most of the general western population don't have any clue about the concrete under thier feet or the light bulbs in there homes, but by dismissing all the wonderful things that our western society has produced we dishonor those brilliant men and woman that came before us.

Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater!

The internal combustion engine is an amazing invention but like nuclear technology it's gotten out of hand and we have to start reigning it in before it ruins what we've all built over here.

Take a trip to a third world country and you'll start appreciating what we have. They're many stupid and wasteful people in these countries too..sometimes it's one of the reasons why they're a "third world" country. Fighting wars is really stupid when you should be bringing the crops in.....(not that we should talk).

Sorry I'm rambling...keep up the conversation..just don't forget those that gave us this society, the concrete under our feet the metalurgists for our nails & wires, the mathematicians for our operating systems, the guy that keeps our **** in the settleing tanks at the treatment plants, etc...

One more thing...those air miles and point (loyalty) cards that C-cards give us are just a really cheap way for these companies to track you spending and living habits it saves them tens of $1,000's in marketing and research fees while they give you back a few percent of what they've saved..I personally don't touch them...Always pay cash! Although I am being a hippocrite since I have to use a card to purchase stuff online (Damn!)..

SmithW6079 05-15-06 11:43 AM

donnamb and BK,

Thank you both for the advice. I think I will attempt to simplify my life and lead by example as BK suggests while also trying to love and accept my girlfriend for who she is. Maybe we'll be able to achieve a balance or maybe the whole thing will come crashing down like a house of cards. I guess I'll see how my significant other reacts and only time will tell whether donnamb will be right about a potential breakup. The good news is that we will likely be moving closer to where I work, so that at the very minimum I will become car light since my girlfriend will likely be taking over the car. I'll still have to pay for a portion of it though. :(


Originally Posted by heywood
Then dude...how are you posting on a web forum???

c'mon guys we're using the ultimate in western late 20th early 21st century communications systems..riding bikes that have come from centuries of materials experimentation and design that is the product of even more centuries of technology and advancements that have given us the ability to have "free time" that allows us develop and advance more. All those geniuses that have come before us and the engineers and scientist and labourers that figured out metal smelting and sidewalks and concrete mixing, etc..etc.. seem to being swept under the carpet by alot of posts on these forums.

I agree that most of the general western population don't have any clue about the concrete under thier feet or the light bulbs in there homes, but by dismissing all the wonderful things that our western society has produced we dishonor those brilliant men and woman that came before us.

Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater!

The internal combustion engine is an amazing invention but like nuclear technology it's gotten out of hand and we have to start reigning it in before it ruins what we've all built over here.

Take a trip to a third world country and you'll start appreciating what we have. They're many stupid and wasteful people in these countries too..sometimes it's one of the reasons why they're a "third world" country. Fighting wars is really stupid when you should be bringing the crops in.....(not that we should talk).

Sorry I'm rambling...keep up the conversation..just don't forget those that gave us this society, the concrete under our feet the metalurgists for our nails & wires, the mathematicians for our operating systems, the guy that keeps our **** in the settleing tanks at the treatment plants, etc...

One more thing...those air miles and point (loyalty) cards that C-cards give us are just a really cheap way for these companies to track you spending and living habits it saves them tens of $1,000's in marketing and research fees while they give you back a few percent of what they've saved..I personally don't touch them...Always pay cash! Although I am being a hippocrite since I have to use a card to purchase stuff online (Damn!)..

heywood, you bring up some very interesting points. I believe a lot of confusion is created since simple living means different things to different people. Mention it to some people and they'll assume you want to go off and live a hunter-gatherer lifestyle in the woods. I don't think there is any formal definition for the term, although many posts here have given some great ideas for it. Regarding technology, one's attitude towards it can make a world of difference. For example, one can apply advances in science to create energy efficient homes (passive solar, wind turbines, solar panels, etc) or we can use science to build better weapons. Perhaps we can even do both simultaneously. I'm not sure if anyone here is advocating giving up concrete streets or sewers, but perhaps we are trying to think of ways to use these technological resources more efficiently. With a little forethought and the fortitude to put it into practice, we just might be able to build communities that don't require driving 20 miles each way to work everyday on
6 lane highways from our 3000 square foot home with its 3 car garage.

It all comes down to what we value as a society. Even if most people don't currently get the point that the current Western lifestyle is unsustainable, they may finally see the light when the consequences of the rest of the world emulating our lifestyle become evident. We can only live the way we do because the vast majority of people live on $1-2 per day. I'd like to hope that we can voluntarily adopt a simpler and sustainable way of life before it is forced upon us by ecological disaster or political and societal collapse.

pakole 05-27-06 12:52 PM

What ...? So you tell me that if a person enjoys the company of another person then he or she should not be willing to make any changes for that person that they supposely enjoy their company. That sounds like a pretty shallow or weak-minded person or shallow or weak relationship. My viewpoint have change greatly during my time in college, and my financee has been cool. She has also change and I give her room to grow as well. If people do not feel passionate about things then life gets bland real will quick.

atman 05-29-06 12:02 PM


Originally Posted by heywood
c'mon guys we're using the ultimate in western late 20th early 21st century communications systems..riding bikes that have come from centuries of materials experimentation and design that is the product of even more centuries of technology and advancements that have given us the ability to have "free time" that allows us develop and advance more. All those geniuses that have come before us and the engineers and scientist and labourers that figured out metal smelting and sidewalks and concrete mixing, etc..etc.. seem to being swept under the carpet by alot of posts on these forums.

I agree that most of the general western population don't have any clue about the concrete under thier feet or the light bulbs in there homes, but by dismissing all the wonderful things that our western society has produced we dishonor those brilliant men and woman that came before us.

I don't feel particularly "western" riding around on my Taiwan-made bike with Shimano components. :-O

To address your actual point, a bicycle and computer (the two things everyone on this forum can be assumed to use) represent to me the pinnacles of human engineering. The bicycle + rider is able to move more efficiently than anything else on earth, while the computer + programmer is able to do numeric analysis on dizzying orders of magnitude past what was once possible. And yet, for a few hundred dollars which can be acquired in the simplest ways (manual yard labor for example) these marvels may be had, and will last years for the computer and decades for the bike, with a little love.

A wheel has 36 spokes around a hub, but it is the space that makes it useful.
A cup is made of wood or of jade, but it is the space that makes it useful.
A home is made of brick or tyvek-sheathed 2x4s, but it is the space that makes it useful.

When I fill that space with objects, the usual couches and carpets and dining room tables, televisions, gadgets, and the like, I cannot use that space. It belongs to things. I cannot dance, twirl my staff or poi, do yoga. Most importantly, my environment is too complex to be calm, and so I have difficulty connecting to that calm inside myself. So I go through that environment keeping only the beautiful and useful, and I cultivate a home and workspace that is simple because it is transparently functional. With fewer objects I am free to arrange them associatively according to the flow of my work and play, until I have a space that is arranged to accomodate the landscape of my life.

A simple life, to me, is one where one lets habits and things go as easily as one acquires them. Ideally, we do and have only the needful, while the rest is allowed to flow by. This is simple living as (when) I practice it.

horsec8z 06-06-06 05:29 AM

[QUOTE=iBarna] But you guys should try the grilled eggplant sandwich at Herbivore on Valencia Street.

Oh my! I'd almost forgotten the Herbivore. One of the best restaruants In SF too.

Living simply. Wow, a long time ago, I used to brag about how everything I owned could easily be put in the back of my pick-up(excepting the animals). Then came the great job....Insanity took over and I really think I tried to own everything we couldn't afford when I was growing up. Art, books, gadgets, tools, STUFF! I had a home (rented) on acreage where I could keep the horses so I got more of those too:eek:
And then one day, after helping relatives clean out a house of a mom who had died, I started to get sane again. All this stuff is just my way of making some sort of mark that I was here. Graffitti on the walls. When I leave this existance, do I really want those who follow, have to deal with this STUFF? No. Do I need to haul this STUFF around with me while I continue to discover this incredible life I have? No. All I need from life is to try to leave good memories. I rent a studio that my friends think is far too small. I love it. It keeps the STUFF to a minimum. I do still own a vehicle. because I have a need to go to remote places in the desert and mountains to see what life has to show me. I could do that on my bike, but I would like to return to the job in a timely manner...
When life gets to the stage when I want to live in one spot; I'll buy some acreage and build my Straw bale, off the grid home. I will use the horses for turning the land ( they gots work too) . Simple works for me. And it gets simpler all the time. I have learned that most of my needs are really wants. And so most of those wants are not acquired.
I recently went through a cancer scare. When life may end sooner than you'd like, it really gets you to thinking about what is important. The best that I could come up with is that I have Loved and am Loved. The rest is just stuff....
Cheers
horsec8z


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:01 PM.


Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.