Thursday, October 09, 2008

Economy and Checking Out

I am sitting on the campus of the world's largest software company in Redmond, Washington wondering what to do with my life. Is like meant to be a constant struggle for survival? I suspect yes and that the lucky few of us on this planet not having to struggle are a huge historical exception. Human existence, animal existence, is a struggle and this holds true for every creature except my cat who does not struggle in the least. I carry its poop out of the house for Christ's sake. But, what if a person is doing so well that they can turn back the dial on their forced activity and still survive with less effort, but much more freedom? What is the choice? Spend more of your life's energy working to accumulate more things, money and security, or reduce the security a little but increase the freedom. The human animal is willing to sacrifice present pain to avoid the possibility of a greater pain in the future, right? Isn't that what saving is all about. We sacrifice today avoid an unknown pain in the future that is greater than the present pain of sacrifice. How to adjust, that is the question?

I think I need to go back to Tom Hodgkinson's "Freedom Manifesto" to get a better understanding of what I am missing in this life. Of course, these thoughts have to come up when I am in the middle of a kitchen remodel that isn't going to add much to my life--it's just a room where we cook and the room we have is working fine, but it's not attractive enough. God! What crazy things do we get ourselves into. At one time the price of this kitchen remodel would have been enough to keep me totally satisfied for a year--rent, beer, food, pleasures of every kind, but now it pays for some appliances, flooring, cabinets, etc. What have I become?