Friday, April 23, 2010

Learning the Abundance of Just Enough

Read this and turn away from your screens for a piece and look about you. Look at your stuff; really look at it. Chances are that you have way more of it than you know what to do with. I think I have twenty coffee mugs. I'm a single man. I only have two hands and four chairs and the chairs are in storage. I have a car that I haven't driven on an actual errand since August 2009. I have boxes of books and more boxes of kitchen ware. Look at your stuff and wonder; is it enough? Do I use all this? What's the point of this stuff anyway?

The "economic recovery" is crap. Anybody who tells you differently is lying and that's pretty much the entire mainstream media and most elective office holders. If you're anything like me you know a few people who are flat out-of-work and a few dozen more whose "job descriptions" rely heavily on yoga, tofu, pampered pets, massages, house plants, house-cleaning and handyman descriptions. Their actual incomes run about half to a third of what stable full-time employment would bring them. Surprisingly, no-one starves. Most have housing even if they move frequently. Their clothes may be worn but are usually clean and in fair condition barring fashion statements. They aren't going to be buying new: cars, houses, appliances, furniture or any other major purchases anytime soon. For some of them that may extend to ever again.

Yet they have enough. Most have the cars, bicycles, computers, clothes, furniture, kitchen-wares, linens etc. that are required to keep them comfortable. Many are concerned about losing weight. They all have cell phones. Everyone who wants recreational substances, alcohol, pot or whatever seems to be able to afford them. Utility bills get paid. Their medical care is deferred or billed to the state when their ailments get bad enough that a doctor is required. For most, it is enough.

In the next year millions more will be invited to learn the abundance of just enough. State and local governments are bankrupt and the federal government refuses to consider bailing them out. Jobs will be redlined. The american people have been told that governments can operate without raising taxes for thirty years and it's always been a flat lie. They've been told that they've been living in a capitalistic system also and that's been a lie as well. Look at the maps of which states pay funds into the federal budget and which states take money out. Most of the country geographically is on the dole one way or another. Reality and Congress are not in regular contact.

So as the economy rachets down due to reasons like Peak Oil, Climate Change damages and Finance Sector parasitism most of us are going to have to learn to make due with less. This is going to be painful for many until they learn to bicycle around, cook food from scratch ingredients, grow vegetables, glean fruits, mend clothing and get along with roommates. More than a few of us have learned how to treat everything short of major trauma and cancer without Big Pharmas big price tags. We'll learn to entertain each other as television and radio becomes increasingly, desperately, focused on extracting every last penny from those remaining in the "real economy."

We're better off.

Depressed? Slash the tires on your car, buy a bicycle and find something five or six miles out of town that you just have to get to. Lonely? Not with three roommates and their 28 friends wandering through you're not. Bored? Learn to play an instrument, paint, sew, knit, garden, fix bicycles, hack electronics, build furniture, boats, kilns, stoves and/or weld. Hungry? Learn the endless variations of beans/tortillas, hummus/pita, rice/curry, beets/cabbage or dhal/chapati that feed the rest of the world. Tired? Sling a hammock in a friends garage.

Learn to laugh as you dance. Comfort each other. Sit meditation. Paint faces. Learn to walk together. There is time enough and love enough for all. Just enough, if we share.