February 27, 2018

A Post-Consumer Parade

"What do we want? The simple life. When do we want it? Now!"

Sometimes I envision what a meeting of the readers of this blog would be like. Maybe something like the photo above.

There is no reason changing the world can’t be fun from time to time. How about a joy-filled peaceful musical dancing jangling parade through the streets?

Let’s fly the simplicity flag together. I propose such a flag should be white, which is minimalist, as well as being a symbol of surrendering to our innate desire to be free of the tyranny and baggage of a hyper-consumptive lifestyle.

No corporate clowns will be invited - they’re scary.

On a more serious note, we could also nail a list of demands to local establishment edifices. How about on city hall, or Walmart, or Wells Fargo, or the hind quarters of the bull on Wall Street?

Simple Living People Everywhere Demand:

- that all humans are able to live simply, free of economic coercion and oppression.

- that global conditions allow all humans to follow their priorities and passions.

- that we can can engage in creating because we want to, not for monetary profit, or because we have to prove something to somebody.

- that we can lovingly care for ourselves, fall asleep when tired, and wake naturally when rested, eat clean food when hungry, and have adequate clothing and shelter.

- that we be free of being governed by the new gangs (political, law enforcement, corporate, bankster, military…)

- that all humans are able to experience a simple life of enough, in order to be boundless and free, as is our birthright.

- that we hear more good news about the amazing things that are presently changing everything we know about living on our beautiful and finite planet.

March on, my friends. Every day is a celebration of the wonders and gifts that simplicity brings.

Note: the ideal chant/sign slogan is short, punchy, and meaningful. We have brainstormed a few of our own, suitable for a potential post-consumer parade.

"Hey-hey, ho-ho, consumerism has got to go."

"Whose lives? Our lives."

"Say it loud, say it clear - simple living is coming here."

"Sustainable lives matter."

"Show me what freedom's like/This is what freedom's like."

"What do we want? The simple life. When do we want it? Now!"

Or how about Marie's contribution? "What do we want? Nothing."

Do you have a chant/slogan of your own that you would like to share? Or perhaps a simple living demand to add to the list? Give it a try - it's fun.

February 24, 2018

Reverend Billy's 10 Commandments Of Buylessness

The other Reverend Billy with the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir, trying to convert Consumers
to the Church of Stop Shopping.

The Reverend Billy (no, not that one) is a more radical reverend that preaches anti consumerism at his Church of Stop Shopping. This pissed off preacher exercises his First Amendment rights to warn of the coming Shopocalypse.

However, that doesn't mean that he is free from harassment from the Thought Police. He has been arrested many times for trying to save consumer souls from debt and damnation. What is good for the soul is bad for business, and must be stopped.

The Earth-loving preacher travels in a biodiesel fueled bus, with the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir, to preach from the parking lots of WalMart and Starbucks. While the Choir sings, the Reverend does shopping interventions and exorcisms.

He has compiled the 10 Commandments of Buylessness.

The Reverend's 10 Commandments Of Buylessness

Forgive people, yourself and everybody else. We all shop too much.

Know your Devil. Shoppers are only dancing in the land of ten thousand ads. Consumerism is the system. Corporations are the agents of the system.

Respect the micro-gesture. Magicalize the foreground. Fore-go the plastic bag and grab that bare banana – Amen!

Practice asking for Sweat-free, Fairly-traded and Locally Made products. That's the rude that's cool.

Buy less and give more. Giving is forceful, the beginning of fantastic new economies.

Buy local and think global. Love Your Neighbor (buy at independent shops) and Love The Earth (walk to, bike to, mass transit to – the things you need.)

Change to a sustainable personal economy. Then corporations and governments will change.

Envision the history of products on the shelf. Workers and the earth made that thing. Resisting Consumerism is an act of imagination.

Complexify. Don't be so easy to figure out. Consumers tend to regularize.
Shopping at big boxes and chains makes us all the same. Viva la difference!

Respect heroes of the resistance. A small band of neighborhood-defenders who staved off a super mall with years of protests? Beautiful.

Reverend Billy asks us "What would Jesus buy?" and exhorts consumers to stop shopping. He
 recommends that if you have to buy anything you should avoid the corporate franchises and chains, and buy from locally owned businesses.

Of course the powers that be are not at all comfortable with Rev. Billy's sermons, even if Jesus would most certainly approve of his message of love over stuff, and protection of people and the planet.  

The authorities are often called in to carry the good reverend away. But that does not deter him for a moment in fulfilling his mission to save us all from the rapidly unfolding Shopocalyptic horror found in big box stores across the land.

It is simple living salvation.

February 21, 2018

Reprogramming Bad Consumer Code Redux

I feel tainted by putting corporate logos on this blog, but I couldn't resist the power of this image. Artwork by Steve Cutts.

After our last post "Reprogramming Bad Consumer Code", reader and frequent comment participant, Madeleine, asked, "Yes, reprogramming is essential, but how to achieve it?"

That is the question, isn't it?

As Madeleine knows, the best thing voluntary simplicity has going for it is that it is a "thing of comfort and peace" compared to a regular 9 to 5 lifestyle plugged into a consumer pod that sucks the life, time, and money right out of you.

That alone makes me wonder why people aren't rushing enmasse out of the malls and straight toward the simple life.

Of course, there are many reasons that people initially find consumerism appealing. Many of those are institutional, systemic, and therefore difficult to avoid. However, there are ways to achieve a thorough reprogramming to get back to a more self-reliant, life-affirming, pre-consumer code.

Here are a few I have been thinking about.

Reprogramming The Consumer Brain

Question authority. Question everything.

Practice non-participation in the current economic system, as much as possible.

Free yourself from a 100% reliance on money by doing things like growing a garden, cooking your own food, bartering, and sharing.

Live with fewer material things. This makes possible a joyful engagement in the elegant simplicity of a life of just enough, free of endless desires and disappointments.

Educate yourself on the industrial military complex, and the industrial health complex, and the industrial food complex. And the industrial consumer complex. The industrial everything complex. Learn what happens when we participate in these sick systems with our votes and our money.

Read broadly rather than narrowly. Good books as well as good journalism. Read non-fiction and fiction. Every public library is full of the antidote to today's narrow revisioning of reality. The net opens up an amazing array of investigative tools.

Vet all information sources. Doubt the validity of mainstream narratives. Be curious, be skeptical. Analytical. To that, add your intuition and feel what makes sense to you.

Steer clear of organized anything. Don't put yourself in a pod, to be used and controlled by others.

Resist cultural programming and peer pressure. Do what you want to do. Assert your rights as an autonomous individual. Question anyone that wants to limit your experience of an open, unfettered existence.

Express and revel in your creative capacity. Allow yourself to think differently. See differently. Feel differently. Create the life you dream of.

Use mindfulness to become an observer of your own mental state and life. Take a step back. How does it all look? Is it a thing of comfort and peace? Is there joy? Harmony? Love?

Supplement your child's education with life lessons at home. Parents are children's primary teachers, whether this is recognized or not. Children learn a lot by observing parents and others. We should act accordingly. What message are we sending our children with our behaviour?

Think freely. Don't think. Continually improve your thinking, and not thinking.

Share good consumer-free code with everyone you meet.

February 19, 2018

Reprogramming Bad Consumer Code

Consumerism and advertising has force fed  bad code into our brains.

I thought of a new R-word for the times. Reprogram. It might be the most important of them all.

The culture of consumerism, and its propaganda wing, advertising/marketing, has injected some bad code into our collective consciousness. And as  they say in the coding world - "garbage in, garbage out".

We can reprogram that bad code with a better script that is more efficient, does more work, and is more logical and fair. This code is ancient and time-tested. It works.

The ultimate code for humans on this planet is that which leads to frugality, thrift and simplicity. It worked thousands of years ago, and it still works today.

We have to think beyond Recycle, Reuse, and Reduce. We need to quit repeating bad code and producing the garbage that results. It is time to get serious and do a large scale reprogramming.

Simple in - simple out.

February 16, 2018

Live Simply, Think Freely

“The American people are free to do exactly what they are told.”
- Ward Churchill

Question the media and you're a conspiracy kook. Criticize the government and you're a Russian agent. Oppose war and you hate your country. Defend Palestinians and you're an anti-Semite. Suggest cooperation and you are a dangerous socialist.

Demand a better, simpler world and you are an enemy of the state.

The biggest threat of all is thinking for one's self. Thinkers will be dealt with in the harshest of terms, to be reprogrammed into drones, serfs, peasants, consumers - to be used and abused and disposed of as the establishment sees fit.

Around the world, governments have claimed ever greater control over, and enforcement of, ever more private aspects of our lives.

Edward Bernays, pioneer in the field of public relations, in his 1928 book called Propaganda, said:

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. 
Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. 
We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.

Independent thought is the only way to break free of the ruthless manipulation that turns limitless lives into a ground hog day loop of earning/borrowing/spending, and trying to keep up.

It is difficult to find the time to think in a regular 40 hour work week, which is exactly the idea behind it. They need us to occupy 100% of our time in our struggle to keep up, to survive. Most of us have little time or energy to think, let alone to push back against the mind oppressors.

Choosing to live more simply allows one to work less, leaving more time for important things like thinking. This may be the most subversive thing about simplicity (besides gardening), and the main reason it is such a threat to the powers that be.

Unplugging from the constant barrage of control and surveillance may be hard, but it is not impossible, and is certainly worth doing. Living more simply is an excellent start.

Start your simpler life today, and break free of the pushers of propaganda, and the thought police that enforce compliance with it.

Debt is freedom. Simple is complex. Too much is not enough. Depression is happiness. Endless war is perpetual peace.

“Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of the man who can fabricate it.”  
- Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951)

February 14, 2018


What makes the world go round? Momentum left over from when the Earth coalesced out of primordial planetary building blocks. How is that for romantic? But the saying isn’t “momentum makes the world go round”, even if technically true.

The fake slogan is that money makes the world go round. Sad. It is an unnecessary evil at best. No, everyone knows that it is love that makes the world go round. It makes a group of people a family. It makes a house a home. It is such a powerful universal force, how do we know it isn't causing the planet to rotate on its axis?

Scientists say that Earth's rotation is slowing. The purported cause is the influence of the Moon's gravity and tidal pull. Or is it because there is a dearth of love in the world right now?

We should try ending all war and hate for a while and see what happens. If the Earth starts rotating faster we will know we are on to something. Then we could say, "Love literally makes the Earth go round." If not, this would at least be a much better place to be.

Indeed, love makes things happen. No love, no nothing. Well, there might be something, but you wouldn't want to live there.

Love is the ultimate liberation. When you find the love in every moment, you are on your way to release and freedom. Discovering that love, is within the reach of each and every one of us. But how do we find it when it often feels elusive, or the result of some sort of spiritual conspiracy?

A good start, in my experience, is to stop fighting the rhythms of daily life. When you let things flow without resistance, spiritual calm is the result. When the struggle is relinquished, we follow the momentum in our lives, and let the natural flow of life take over.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” 
- Lao Tzu

The natural flow always leads to love. When you are filled with love and compassion for all of creation, you are exactly where you need to be. Everything follows from that.

Each moment (not just one day a year) is an opportunity to celebrate life, and proclaim, “I love this!”, and "I love you!"

I love this, and this, and this. I love you, and you, and you, and you.

I love this planet.

I love me.

I love.


February 12, 2018

Out Of The Closet

It's out of the closet: a minimalist wardrobe is enough.

The pioneers of one planet wardrobes are coming out of the closet, and they are clean, adequately clothed, and content. And they have some great ideas.

What a pleasure to see the discussion going on in the comments after our post on the serious global clothing clutter conundrum. There are many experiences shared that show that simplifying ones closet is the way to go for a multitude of reasons.

Linda and I have been de-clothing for many years. After reducing our possessions to what we could carry in our van in 2014, we have since reduced further, and are enjoying a more minimalist wardrobe than ever before.

Recently we have laughed about our "uniforms". Each of us have been relying on two sets of clothes since the winter started. One set is worn, while the other is to be laundered. We usually wear the same set of clothes for a week, then do laundry along with bedding and towels.

At the same time we do laundry, we have our once per week shower (more or less depending on the time of year and what we are doing). And let me tell you, if you are only having one shower a week, each and every one feels like a major spa treatment.

There is nothing like living in simplicity to heighten your appreciation and enjoyment of all aspects of life. The same goes with having too many clothes - how can you appreciate the things in your closet and drawers that you don't even know you have?

Our tiny wardrobe, coupled with our shower and laundry routines, help to make our life more simple and efficient. In simplicity, such routines become an enjoyable part of life, not something to avoid, or do in hurry rather than in savour.

And do I even need to say it saves resources and money?

In closing, let me say how satisfying it is to be able to have this discussion with such sensible readers. No fashionistas making fun of wearing last season's colours or clothes. No oversanitized hygiene hysteria. Just simple, frugal, enviro-friendly ways of living happier with less.

How refreshing.

February 7, 2018

Still Too Many Clothes

Used clothing bales stacked to the ceiling shows evidence we are approaching Peak Clothing.

The planet is being buried in one ton bales of discarded clothing. At one time people worried that the planet would eventually be completely paved over, a black ball floating in the blackness of space. It looks like the real threat was lurking in our closets all the time.

Considering consumers obsession with clothes, we may end up with a giant yarn ball against the bedazzled black velvet shawl of space. Call it Global Yarning. That obsession could explain why the post "Too Many Clothes" is in the top 10 most viewed on this blog.

People are trying to de-clothe their lives and reclaim some closet space. And they would like to do this in an ethical and environmentally sound manner, which may be getting harder to do.

It used to be that one could simple take unwanted clothing to a charity organization that would generally accept all clothing no questions asked. They would take what they thought they could sell, then passed on what they didn't want to textile recyclers.

The recyclers would take out any remaining sellable clothing, then sell that to used clothes sellers. Those sellers would then sell off the used clothes overseas, often in Africa. Not as much any more, as things are changing rapidly.

Today, many in Africa are no longer accepting used clothing from the over-stuffed closets of western consumer nations. If they don't want your used T-shirts, then charity organization near you might not want them either, unless it is to make rags, which is a less efficient option than re-use.

We are not going to solve our clothing problem by thinking that someone else wants our discards. Even if they do, the whole system is being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of clothing being bought, used or not, then discarded.

The one ton bales stacked to the ceilings of vast warehouses makes me think that the next big thing will be clothing bale homes, a modified version of the straw bale variety. Give me 20 or 30 clothing bales and I will give you a highly insulated house as comfy as your favourite sweater. And affordable, too. Barring that, we are going to have to figure out some other way of dealing with our clothing problem.

To solve clothing overconsumption, we just need to stop buying clothes we don't need, and other don't want. Less clothing in - less clothing out. We have reached Peak Clothes.

You can help stop Global Yarning, and a planet buried in clothes.  Say no to new, buy used, refuse the unsustainable conventions of high fashion, wear the same thing for a year, or try getting by on just two sets of clothes. Think creatively. Have fun. See if anyone notices.

February 5, 2018

How To Opt Out Of Online Behavioural Based Advertising

Advertisers are spying on you. If you have ever researched a purchase online, you probably notice that advertisements for that product or item will start coming up all over the place as you navigate the internet. That is the result of spying, or what is called "interest based or behavioural advertising", and some people (including me) find it intrusive.

I do not often look at commercial websites online since I don't usually need anything. But in the event that I do need to make a purchase, I like to make sure it is the best one for me. I like to be prepared before buying anything, and usually research every purchase thoroughly.

What I don't like is having to look at ads for that product online for a few days after. These behavioural ads are based on your interests, shown by past online activity, geographic location, and other ads you have seen. So basically, private for-profit corporations are spying on me in order to influence my behaviour.

That sounds a bit like the NSA, which is "responsible for global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes, specializing in a discipline known as signals intelligence."

Like Behavioural Advertising, what could possibly go wrong there? The NSA is well known for having "a cavalier attitude toward the law and decency." Just like advertisers.

One can not trust any of them. "They are", as my dad used to say, "up to no good."

I think I am the only person that should know about my past online activity, and how can I hide from them if they know my geographic location? Surveillance and advertising in the modern world - you can run, but you can't hide.

Behavioural advertising is a creepy invasion of my privacy, and it is an unwelcome intrusion on my expensive and limited bandwidth on our sub-par rural internet system. I ordered an internet connection, not an advertising connection. It's just that you can't get one without the other.

Therefore, I was happy when I found recently that there might be a way to stop online advertisers from using information about what websites you visit to target you with ads they calculate will be a behavioural trigger to get you to make a purchase.

But it is important to note that opting out does not mean you will no longer see ads. What it means (maybe) is that the ads you see will no longer be targeted to pique your own personal deep and dark desires, as calculated by some logarithm.

Something like this should be opt-IN, not opt-out. No one asked my permission before they started collecting my private information. We should not have to spend precious time to try to get this unwanted and creepy stalking to stop.

Having said that, the following are some sites that purport to stop behavioural programming (advertising) on your computer.

These are just some of the websites that can be used to opt out of interest or behavioural based advertising. I have my doubts about their effectiveness, but have tried some out anyway to see if I can stop at least some of the invasive snooping. 

The only sure way to make sure you aren't being spied on by advertisers (or the NSA) is to be Amish, or at least live like you are. If you choose to stay online, the above opt-out websites may help.

February 3, 2018

Another Earth Pledge

I posted an Earth Pledge back in 2012, explaining that I am not really the type of person to pledge allegiance to any flag, country, or monarch. But I have no problem doing the same for the Earth, for humanity, and for all life.

I like the pledge to the Earth above (could also be called a vow or oath), and find it to be more favourable than the initial example that I posted, although both are good.

It makes me wonder. If the Earth was One Planet for One People, what use would war be? There would be no enemies, no other, no justification for scapegoating.

There would be just US, indivisible and united in harmony. Imagine what kind of utopia we could create with the trillions of dollars now wasted on state sponsored murder. Imagine what we could do with the collective creativity and contributions of all those killed.

If everyone would recognize the divine here on Earth, and swear an oath to protect it, everything would change. I think the result would be the very definition of heaven.