Ten birds that will not land: Some thoughts on school, the simple life, and independence
1. I’ve read a bunch of blogs (played leap-blog, if you will) and surfed around the net reading what folks are writing about student debt. The main theme? We’re up shit’s creek.
2. I’ve read a lot about living simply, about paring down, about the various contests (The Uniform Project. The 100 Things Challenge…). A lot of people are talking about living with less, how to work less, how to live on less money. A lot of people talk about student loan debt. They don’t talk so much about the overlap, which is what I’m interested in.
3. It’s interesting that we like to turn living with less (things, money, work) into a contest and to blog/brag about it* when this is what most the world just does ’cause they have to.
4. It’s interesting that Oprah had a “living with less” challenge (in 2008, it seems), and yet she is one of the biggest product pushers around!
5. It’s interesting that when I read about people who quit their jobs and are advising others on how to work less and be happier, they often talk about doing work that can be done alone, from anywhere.
6. It’s interesting that all of the folks that I have read about so far are able-bodied, healthy young people. What about people who have some physical challenges to address? (Age, handicaps, chronic conditions, etc.)
7. What is the nature of “independence”? We talk about it like it can actually be achieved and that it’s a good thing. What if neither is true? Who defines what independence is? Isn’t there a whiff of machismo hanging around all this back-to-the-land “I can rough it” talk? What about people who need help? What about ways to work together?
8. I think it’s easy to say “you don’t need a college education (or masters, etc.)” after you’ve already attained yours. When people with PhD’s are farming, it’s admirable. When people who don’t finish high school farm, it’s called being a hick. The people with college (and up) education are writing eloquently about their return to the land (in the spirit of Walden).
9. There is virtue in education/learning. The structures are amiss. The competition, the cost, the hierarchy, etc. But, let’s be real. Some jobs require proof that you know how to do them, which is usually a good thing.
10. So far I find the best way to digest the blogosphere is to take a dip, get soaking wet with all the ideas floating around and then seek some dry, un-virtual shore so I can think about what I actually want in my own life and for those around me.
* [Ed. note] Liking the rewild.info is not meant to infer that the site is primarily about posturing or even “living with less.” NOT has a great deal of interest in the discussions on the site. Nonetheless, it is a good place to look to find a considerable amount of talk about one’s un-civilized approach to living.