March 29, 2017

It's Not You - It's Your Cage

There are times we may not feel good, perhaps lack energy for the daily grind. We may try to find solace in buying things we don't really need. Inevitably, we blame ourselves for our predicament. Unfortunately, so do our keepers.

We aren't ambitious enough, they say. Not trying hard enough, not driven to excel. If you aren't working yourself to death you're doing something wrong. Poor work ethic. They want us to believe it is a moral failing.


What people are feeling is an adverse reaction to the increasingly bland and dirty cage our keepers have built for us. Feeling down and drained right now seems like the proper response to what is happening to us in the consumer enclosure.

We are lab rats in a mad scientist's experiment that we didn't sign up for. Run on the wheel all day, forage for stuff, sleep. Repeat. Escape the cage for a day or a week off, then right back in. Run on the wheel all day, forage for stuff, sleep. Repeat.

Lab rats in similar conditions are driven to drugs to cope, then die an early death. And it's not just lab rats.

Similar results occur when humans are put into cramped, stressful cages. We also turn to drugs, whether cocaine or consumerism or a busy work life. In Japan, working one's self to death is called Karoshi, and victims only get off the wheel and escape the cage after dying of a heart attack or stroke due to stress. Corporate and social pressure props them up till then.

We don't naturally want endless amounts of work and buying stuff - they are understandable and socially sanctioned responses to the effects of coping with a bad cage and a sick experiment. We don't need to increase the number of more ambitious workers willing to shop perpetually, we need a better cage.

That is precisely what living simply provides - a better cage. The door is always open and the environment is rich in nature and community.

A simpler life is a less stressful, more contented life. Rather than concentrating on the few moments when grandiose living gives a temporary shot of feeling good, the simple life focuses on recognizing, and being grateful for, the special little moments of each and every day.

The simple life gives more time to do things that are important, like connecting with other humans in a deeper way than brief commercial exchanges. It is engaging your passions, unhindered by the mad scientists that want you to stay in their sad enclosure. It is about finding meaningful work that gives a sense of purpose and contributes to making the world a better place for all.

Feeling down? Can't help buying things you don't really need or want?

It's not you. It's your cage.

March 27, 2017

Remembering Chuck Berry

Thanks for Rock and Roll, Chuck Berry.

"Chuck Berry died on March 18th at the age of 90. Jim and Greg celebrate the life of Berry by looking at his iconic tracks, as well as his vast influence on future artists. They also talk about his work in later years and what it was like to share a stage with the guitar legend."

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