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  1. The Worst Mistake in Human History

    The basic idea being: community. Without it, you're just some dude (or dudette) foraging berries during the day and gnawing on a deer leg at night around the fire by yourself. Which does sound kinda cool, but it would not be, really. You need a community. One group hunting while another forages, and while others are making things, preparing things etc. As one person out in the wilderness, life would be brutal, hard and lonely. As a community, yes. Much better than the agricultural system. But there are only a couple places left, deep in the jungle, where this is still happening, and their way of life is severely threatened, and coming to an end. Hard to believe they lasted this long. It's as proven of an idea as any archeological/anthropological fact, that hunter gatherers had more leisure time than we do. They didn't have healthcare, but they were much healthier because of their diet and lifestyle. And modern research is showing how a healthy diet and lifestyle is more important than the whole medical system in most cases for most people. And when the first European settlers came over to America, it was common for whites to go over and live with the natives, or if captured during war, to happily live with them. Never once happened the other way around, until much much later when it was clear that the whites weren't going anywhere, and would take over, and take everything. So some "civilized", agricultural folks went native, happily. Preferred the lifestyle and people. Of course because of racism it couldn't happen the other way around. But that's all a part of the same system we're talking about here. There has been a lot of romanticizing of hunter gatherer culture which stretches the truth. But if you think it's actually all just romanticization, and that if you went back and lived it, you'd realize agriculture really is better and it's good we went that way...I think you'd be in for a big surprise. I don't think many of us can comprehend the type of happiness, and the daily mindset, of a hunter gatherer. To call ourselves "free", would likely sound like some cruel joke to them. So to say "go do it"...There needs to be a community. And though there's plenty of wilderness out there, there is not necessarily the huge swaths needed for seasonal migrations. And don't think that because the vast majority of us are sheltered from warfare and abuse, that it isn't happening on a huge scale out there. We have a military who fights our battles for us. That doesn't mean the battles aren't happening. Thousands of people are dying, all over the world, in modern society. You're more likely to get killed by a person than a wild animal. Etc. You're surrounded by toxic chemicals in your house, in your food, in your water, in the air. You couldn't get away if you tried. Cell phone signals. All that. Off grid communities, ecovillages and the like are probably the most realistic route for people who believe in the above stuff enough to try and live it. We're at where we're at and I'm happy with my life; but yeah, there are times when I truly believe I'd be happier beyond description if I were born in an earlier time. I say "oh well" and get on with my life. But it doesn't change the facts.
  2. Living Simply

    Except one more to apologize I got a little carried away. People were engaging me on stuff so I started talking too much and lost perspective. To anyone who has experienced hardship, sorry I've been acting as though my problems are serious. I know they are not. I got caught up feeling that people with security were preaching against security, speaking about discomfort from a place of comfort, and it annoyed me. If I came off as though I can speak for hardship just because I don't have a job, I'm sorry. That's lame. If I'm going to offend people by venting my frustrations of insignificant (significant to me, but not to anyone else) problems, I should do it with friends and family and not strangers on the internet. I've used a couple people, indirectly, as examples of who shouldn't be talking about living simply, and I'm sorry for that.
  3. Living Simply

    You're one of the very few who is giving advice, who has actually lived it. If this is sounding like a pity part I apologize. I already pointed out I'm talking 1st world problems. My problems are problems a lot of people would wish to have. I know that. I realize this has gotten a bit out of hand and maybe I'm not sure what I'm arguing anymore. What's kept me posting is that I have the feeling that most of the people advising others to live simply and be happy with nothing, are living a life far from that. I'll stop now.
  4. Living Simply

    You have them there? We have a bunch of colonies. I don't think rural life is easy. But it is much more simple. The problems are real life problems. Not "wait, what's html code? Do you know sequel? Crap, we have to hire someone. Now how do I go about making money on the internet?". I think a lot of people would agree that chopping wood and carrying water, while physically demanding, gives most people much more satisfaction at the end of the day, is much more "simple" than modern life. Get a job, working for someone else. So you can make money. To pay bills. The bills are for heat, water, food etc. As opposed to: get wood for heat. get water. grow and hunt food. Neither are easy. One is simple and for some, a much more satisfying lifestyle. Though harder to sustain into old age, as you point out.
  5. Ok, I get where you're coming from a bit more. My post on how I defined "success" in life left out spirituality because it's such a personal thing, and if someone wants to be atheist, that's cool too. For me with what I want...well, check the living simply thread. Being my own happiness and maintaining enlightenment within, no matter what I'm doing, is not in direct conflict with wanting a change in life, and pursuing it. I don't need to settle for a 9-5. I find that I have a need for a lot of alone time, and time on my own terms. Weeknights and a 2 day weekend don't quite do it, for me. I practiced rising above the pettiness and negativity of the office for 8 years, and I did pretty well. But eventually you start to think that, partially for your spiritual progression, that being surrounded by that negativity is not beneficial. You can't hide from the real world. But you can make careful choices about what sort of energy you're exposed to on a day-in, day-out basis. Hugely important. I get what you're saying, more than I was before. A lot of the frustration coming out over the last couple days is the result of a cycle that I've been going through, of knowing everything will be ok, having all sort of cool ideas of where my life is going, then suddenly going the other way and having everything turn negative and stressful in my head. And part of the problem is that there are all sorts of great things to do. If you give a shit and want to do them I'm working on breaking that cycle now, and yes, it'll come from within when it happens. This is probably very good for me. It's easy to be content when you have a paycheck coming in, or you're living off a decent savings. It's a much better test of whether you can be content when you don't have a paycheck or savings and have to figure out what direction you're going to go. My plan: free place for the winter, which I have. Use this time to read, brainstorm, write, play music, cultivate. All the stuff I never feel like I have enough time for. Then, get into the city as much as possible, get involved in local groups and meet a ton of people, and start getting exposed to what people are doing for work, from those working their ass off, to those just piecing a living together with some random stuff here and there but working as little as possible. Then take that and hopefully get started on my own deal in the spring. And yeah, I'll need to get a job for the winter. But as I'm doing all this, I will be working on myself, and being sure I'm not chasing something external. I think I'm completely justified in searching for a new way to make a living. The trick is not getting caught in thinking "I'll just be happy if x is my job", or similar lines of thinking. Which I already know, I just need to keep reminding myself I know it.
  6. Living Simply

    Yep. And let me make clear that I don't want to drop out of society and live in the wilderness. Well...not really. What spawned this thread was that I laid out an example of "success" in life, in my opinion, and it got nicely criticized as not being true to spiritual nature (somewhat rightly so), and still too materialistic. And in that thread, there are all sorts of people with jobs and "security" talking about how security is an illusion and being happy with basically nothing, and continuously using the example of some person not knowing where their next meal is coming from yet being happy and without worry. So this was kind of my "show me" thread. Is someone doing this? Or is it just some idealistic construct of what people believe is possible and like to talk about from the safety of their security, but no one is putting into practice. They just like to tell you that it should be your goal. I'm exaggerating a bit but that's the feeling I was getting. So I was just asking if anyone here is, or knows someone who is actually living this life, happily. Steve says he's met some people. I don't want to renounce society. I don't plan on living a ascetic life. I'm just curious if anyone who likes to talk about it as advice, actually does it. Personally, I'm so much happier working "light" manual labor than I am an office job. It's just that unless you're a tradesman, the labor doesn't pay well. But does my preference for light labor over office work mean I have issues? I'm just happier doing labor. I can be happy in an office, but it takes a lot of work. Yes, yes, that's an opportunity to work on myself. But I'd rather just do labor. I've been taught that preferences are fine, so long as you don't define yourself by your preferences, or as long as your preferences aren't unhealthy. I wonder how many people on this site who are saying that you should be happy with whatever you're doing, actually put this into practice. Yeah, I'll bet a few do, and a few more are consciously trying. The rest just like to talk about it, and have made MANY life changes for the sake of happiness, and probably a lot of those changes worked out for them, for the better. I don't think that all the people you talk to who made a major life change and will talk about it for the rest of their lives, about how it was such a great decision, the best thing they ever did for themselves, are all spiritual infants who don't understand life.
  7. Living Simply

    Good point, on the resistance thing. I know it's all about attitude and that usually takes care of it for me. But knowing something and your body and mind living it aren't always the same thing, right? I agree security is an illusion. That's the reason I quit my job. Death could happen any time, so what the hell was I doing there? However I still haven't been presented with one of these people who don't know where their next meal is coming from, and are happy and worry-free. But their absence in my life or on this site doesn't mean they don't exist, I know. Yes, I agree. But I think we can also agree that when some sort of life change happens, a person can be expected to freak out a little, even if they are aware of all these things. I don't look at a simple, happy life as one devoid of responsibility. Only one devoid of unnecessary complication.
  8. Living Simply

    Yeah, you're doing better than me, that's for sure. Better than anyone I'm friends with. Absolutely. The plane ticket usually is (and should be) the most expensive part of the trip. Not because I agree with the cost of air travel, but because it's so damn expensive, it better be the largest cost! I'll have to check into this whole "astral travel" I keep hearing about Yeah I hear you. I know a person who stresses is a person who stresses. I'm usually pretty good. I don't stress much. But I haven't made this major of a life change in quite some time. Unchartered waters, for me. But tons of other people have been this route before, so there's plenty of advice and help. It's really just been in the last week that I let it get to me.
  9. Living Simply

    Agreed Not positive they're in the book. It's something I read somewhere else, but it's been a while since I read the book so it could be in there. Oh they're scandalous! Just kidding. I think he just had a few friends over for some wild picked berries and stuff like that. Yes but the LAND. The land, man. That's the issue. Though I agree otherwise. I'm not ready to become a squatter and build myself a hut on Forest Service land. Yeah, they do. I'm living with family now, and my friends have been getting some comical emails. I know it'll all be alright. I'm sleeping fine at night, and I'm happy. I just have a lot going on in my head, probably mostly because I'm overcomplicating things. I honestly didn't think it was as big a deal until I started ranting about it in these threads...apparently it's been bothering me!
  10. Yeah and I don't mind working towards something, even something 15 years away. That's a goal and that's doing something and has meaning. What's agonizing is just treading water, not knowing where to start, because you don't know what the goal is Other than the lifestyle.
  11. You know more than me then! When I applied for Obamacare, I entered my income as $6,000 for the year, since that was my best guess as to how much I'd make before quitting my job this year. I qualified for 0 discounts. Depending on which you state you happen to live in, you get way more help if you make somewhere up towards $20,000 a year, than if you make nothing. No help for those with no income or extremely low income.
  12. Living Simply

    Well for me, at least right now, it's part of it. Lack of security makes it hard to be comfortable. If you don't feel safe, either financially or otherwise, it's hard to be really content, and hard to be happy. But I'll admit that how you define security, comfort and happiness plays a huge part in where you're going to come down on this argument. Security can just be basic access to healthcare, money in the bank in case shit goes down, and some kind of income to meet simple needs. Without that I feel like it's pretty easy to stress. Pretty hard to be content. When you have no money, and bills are coming due, it's hard to tell yourself "if I am content within, then I am happy", and believe it. But all you gotta do to fix that is get a damn job and get the bills paid. I think I'm just in the toughest part of my transition to some sort of different path, right now. The money I saved up is gone, and it's winter, so I can't just camp and live out of a vehicle and act like I'm on vacation, working seasonal jobs. Things just got real So how much I'm willing to work, and what I want out of life and what standard of living I want are very much on my mind, including the prospect of being dirt poor with no safety net (other than family and friends, which is actually a pretty good safety net). I've been going back & forth between knowing everything will be fine, and freaking out a little. And I'm not the type to freak out. By the way, Thoreau lived within walking distance of town, and went there regularly, as well as having visitors over for dinner parties. He didn't preach against or deny society. He just wanted to be an example to everyone that you could slow down, live simply, and be happier than you were before. That much I already know about life. If I had access to a cabin in the woods, fairly close to town, you can bet your ass I'd be living there, and at least 30% of what I'm currently stressing about would be gone. I don't think he had any mortgage or bills needing paid to disturb his calm. Anyway, sorry I've made a couple threads "all about me". I'm a little frustrated right now and it's clouding my judgement. But even though it's blinding me to some pretty simple things, it's making it pretty clear to me that talking to people helps me nail down exactly what it is I'm looking for. I think what I'm asking out of life has changed a bit over the course of writing in these two threads, which is eye opening. It's pretty clear I'm still a little confused on what is the end goal, at least in the worldly sense. As the Dude said "my thinking has become very uptight"...or something like that...
  13. That's kind of where I'm coming from. It's part of being in modern society, if you want to take part in modern society. Part of it is learning what you're willing to tolerate, then just getting on with it, I suppose. An 8-5 office job can be good. But there are definitely certain jobs and work environments in offices which are not healthy. Mostly I don't want someone with a job and health insurance and retirement telling me I need to give up all that to be spiritually true to myself.
  14. I can see that, definitely. But we do live in the world...I don't think avoiding it is the answer for anyone, except for short periods of time. That was definitely directed toward Nikolai though, since he seems to have strong views on this.
  15. Ideally, yes. In reality? A person not happy with what he/she does and has, who is working for minimum wage at a fast food restaurant will not therefore never be happy with anything. They might be perfectly happy with something "better". Sure, maybe an immortal would be happy with it. The idea is valid. People are always saying "if I just had this, or made this much, I'd be happy!". And it's not true. But there is a point where it is true, for most people. For example...I see, in more populated areas, the life that low income earners live. They're in apartment complexes in less desirable areas of town, driving cars that work less often than not, have to commute far to work, and struggle. Compared to low income people in smaller communities, who might be able to live in a rental house or nicer apartment, within walking distance to everything, able to get out and camp and hike, go to the farmers market. In one there are class divisions, and a lot of things against you. In the other, not so much. Totally different life, with the same pay. Difference in location. Will the person living in the more populated area never be happy? Or will they be, if they just moved somewhere which was laid out in a way that made money matter much less? Some would, some wouldn't. But some definitely would.