April 18, 2014

More Time vs. More Money

There is no time like the present - enjoy it by choosing
 more time over more money.

"Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you." 
- Carl Sandburg

Once a person's basic material needs are satisfied, additional income makes little to no difference in their level of happiness.

Considering this, about 12 years ago Linda and I sat down to figure out how much money we needed to meet our basic monthly material needs. At the time, I calculated that I needed to work one week a month to pay my share of the expenses. Linda earned less, but her share could still be gained in about 2 weeks of work.

Since that time we have worked to live rather than lived to work.

While we were engaged in paid work we would toil the required amount, then take the rest of the month off. If we wanted more money for something we would work more, but usually we chose more time over more money.

And as sure as the big hand follows the little one, once we changed our priorities, pleasant changes in our lives followed.

We are determining how to spend time, the coin of our lives, ourselves. With that coin we are buying a better, more satisfying and more independent life.

April 16, 2014

Advertising Avoidance

Advertising programs us to buy, buy, buy, whether we notice or not.

Many people report feeling that advertising doesn't work on them. That is understandable. No one wants to be led around, especially toward buying things they know they don't need.

But advertising is more insidious than many realize, and may be more effective than we want to believe.

Researcher Laurie Manwell outlines the mechanics involved in glancing at an advertisement:

“In fact, visual stimuli, transduced by the rods and cones in the eyes, and sent by electro-chemical signals to the central nervous system via the optic nerves does not go directly to the occipetal cortex which is the primary region responsible for processing information. 

Instead, it first goes to the lateral geniculate nucleus of the Thalamus, another region of the brain that is a part of the lymbic system and important to emotional arousal.

"To put this in simpler terms", she says, "this means that you can experience an emotional reaction to something before you are consciously aware that you have even seen it."

Knowing how your brain works can help guard against the mind parasites that advertising plants, often without you even being conscious of their burrowing. It is important to understand that we can react to something before we even are aware of it.

Armed with this knowledge, we can identify the initial emotional rush, then wait for the higher order thinking that will eventually come. It of course, will tell you not to buy anything you don't really want or need.

Those sneaky ads don't even have to worm into your consciousness in order to have an effect. Considering this, the frequency of advertising may have more of an effect than we know, whether we are paying attention to the ads or not.

If ad frequency is the problem, ad avoidance is the answer. The Centre for a new American Dream also proposes that we take a look at reforming advertising rules.

They say on their site:

"Advertising pervades every aspect of our lives and stimulates demand for junk we don’t need. We need to reform laws on advertising to better constrain it, to limit children’s exposure to it, and to stop mental pollution. 

The good news is there are ways we can do this, and some bold political leaders are working to do this."

You can read more on their website about places like Sao Paulo, Brazil where officials declared victory in their battle with billboards, effectively banning them from the barrio. It looks like freedom to me.

When the globe goes ad-free and ends the hyper-commercialization of everything, we will find out what we really want, and what we really need, not to mention what we can really afford.

In the meantime, avoid advertising at all costs.

April 14, 2014

Mental Madness Monday

Anyone who would claim rampant consumerism is good for the environment has a serious struggle with reality. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are committing ecocide, a tragically stupid thing to do that borders on mass mental illness.

Ecocide is the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystems of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been or will be severely diminished.

Since we are dependent on healthy and functioning ecosystems, committing ecocide is one step removed from committing suicide.

We are choosing self-harm, which indicates this madness runs rampant.

Many that are leading the destruction, not only suffer from delusions of grandeur, but also suicidal tendencies. They should be identified and be involuntarily committed, long term, until they can demonstrate they no longer desire to destroy themselves and everyone and everything around them.

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