March 31, 2021

Consumerism And The Dissatisfaction Loop

Phase One  

Shop To Reduce Feeling Of Dissatisfaction 

Phase Two 

 Become Dissatisfied Again, Pitch It All

Phase Three - Repeat 

Blind submission to consumerism creates many sad effects. 

The creation of dissatisfaction in the masses by the advertising industry is one of them. 

In consumer culture, one quickly finds out that the things we spend money on provide only fleeting relief from this effect.

The consumer must constantly buy things or "experiences" to ward off that nagging sense of dissatisfaction, while simultaneously ridding one's home of the things previously bought that have failed to inspire, or have broken or worn out.

We get caught in a loop, or death spiral, of chronic dissatisfaction.

There is an alternative.

Simplicity breaks the loop utterly and completely. It exposes the lies, and provides sustainable satisfaction in perpetuity.  

March 30, 2021

Carrots In Fresh Moss Experiment Continues

Will this moss patch recover? I will be watching it over the coming weeks.

Like us, our carrots made it to spring! We recently used the last of those that were stored in fresh forest moss in a bin in our garage since the fall harvest. 

We have never used this method before, so it was an interesting experiment from the beginning.

No carrots were lost to rot, and every single one was as fresh as the day it was picked. 

But did the moss survive?

In the end, the moss retained some green, and was still moist. There was no odour, except a rich, clean smell of shaded forest floor. 

The properties of this soft, wet bedding not only preserved the carrots perfectly, but also encouraged some growth. 

Both roots and tops developed, so retrieving them from the bin over the winter was similar to pulling them from the garden in the fall.

Now, the experiment continues.

I took the moss back to the forest to release it into the wild. 

Be free. And thank you.

This method of food preservation will be considered a full success only if I see some recovery, and the moss recolonizes the bare patches I left in that deep, soft carpet of green under the trees. 

It definitely worked for us, and the carrots.

March 28, 2021

Transcending The Society Of Mass Consumption

Money comes and money goes. 

Stuff rots and breaks down. 

But simple pleasures endure.

Sunrises and sunsets. 

Eagles hunting on the wind.

A mossy forest.

Laughing with a friend.

Singing a favourite song.

Spontaneously dancing.

Planting seeds.

Ripe, red tomatoes on the counter.

Eating foods you have raised, harvested, preserved, and prepared with your own two hands.

The key to happiness

is transcending the society of mass consumption,

and finding contentment in your own simple pleasures.

What are your enduring simple pleasures?

March 25, 2021

Hard, Inconvenient, And Expensive

It shouldn't be so easy to trash a whole planet.

All the things that humans do that result in excessive harm to people or the planet should be hard to do, inconvenient, and very expensive.

That's redundant because whatever harms the planet is also harmful to people, but I digress.

Right now we are enabled, encouraged even, to do as much harm as we want. Not to worry, no one is responsible. 

The buck increasingly stops in some billionaire's pocket, and they are so far removed from their evil deeds that they seriously think their hands are untarnished.

That is planet-destroying denial.

Did we really think that a system based on individual greed and profit would somehow end up doing good things?

If we were serious about cleaning things up, all the really harmful stuff would be hard to do or get, completely inconvenient, and very expensive.

Flying, for example, should be hard, inconvenient and expensive. 

Taking a train, on the other hand, should be easy, ultra-convenient, and cheap.

If actions like that didn't stop the madness, then harmful things should be made outright illegal.

That may sound drastic, but I think that ecocide should be illegal, and not just immoral.

Thou shalt not kill... the planet.

March 20, 2021

Smoke Signals

Depending on where I have lived, there have been noncalendrical signs I have used to know when Spring had arrived.

On the prairies, where I came in to this world, purple crocuses on the short grass covered hills overlooking the river valley were a sure sign winter was over. 

When winter was reluctant to go, the crocuses pushed up through the snow anyway.

Further north, in the woodsy, bushy parkland region, spring announced its arrival when the ice on the river we lived on broke up after being frozen bank to bank for months.

On the west coast, snowdrops and skunk cabbage were sure signs that I looked for as spring equinox came on.

In the rural area on the east coast, where we presently reside, the thing I look for is smoke signals from my neighbour's maple sugar shack.

The perfect weather for tapping sugar maples, which are abundant in the surrounding forest, is when nights are just below freezing, and days are just above freezing. 

This usually happens around equinox, but the season has been starting earlier than usual in recent years.

Soon after the sugar shack smoke signals, the maple syrup shows up for sale on roadside stands. 

Sweet, sweet spring is here.

I do believe that a mess of pancakes is in order to celebrate the season.

Happy Spring Equinox to our northern hemispheric readers.

And happy Fall Equinox to those in the south.

Pancakes and maple syrup for everyone!

March 18, 2021

Reader Resources - Mark Boyle's Life Without Machines

No electric, no running water, no machines.

We do love reading comments here on Not Buying Anything. They make our blog better. 

One reason? Because generous, sharing-minded readers mention simple living resources of all kinds, and Linda and I love learning. We are as curious as cats... but only one life. Maybe.

Therefore, expanding our experiences via the resources that readers share in comments is a happy result of blogging here.

A recent Reader Resource we want to highlight was Madeleine mentioning Mark Boyle's book, The Way Home.  

 An online review described it as follows:

"Lyrical and profound, The Way Home is a meditation on rural life without modern technology. Mark Boyle reveals how deeply entangled our day-to-day lives are with machines and opens a window to a completely different kind of existence - akin to that of our forbearers."

You can read an interview with Mark Boyle that describes his motivations here.

Mark is famous for living without money for three years and for writing The Moneyless Man and The Moneyless Manifesto.

Now, like the rest of us, he is simply trying to find his way home. 

Love those reader resources. Thanks, Madeleine.

March 16, 2021

To Learn Stillness, Seek Out A Tree

Very few people can do a thing as difficult as sitting in stillness. In a busy world, very few know how. Or feel they have time.

Eckhart Tolle recommends that if you want to learn stillness, "seek out a tree". 

"Let stillness", he said, "direct your words and actions".

Trees and forests have long been my refuge, my church, my place to worship, and to heal. 

No matter where I go, I seek out the trees.

They have taught me not only the benefits of stillness, but also humility, patience, flexibility and perseverance.

Forests are models of cooperation, with roots and fungal threads joining the community together into a single, supportive super-organism. 

The answers humanity needs at this time will not be found while we are busy with other things, and they will not be found through high-tech solutions.

Mother Nature is the Technoqueen. She has all the lessons, all the answers.

These answers will only be found when we achieve the stillness required to allow our life to flow freely and openly. 

The trees are waiting to teach us. They may be patient, but our time is running out.

Don't wait - to learn stillness, seek out a tree. 

Sit quietly. 

That is all that is required.

Use what you learn to direct your thoughts, words, and actions.


March 14, 2021

Wood Is Simple

Not everyone consumes as much energy, or in the same ways as we do in overdeveloped nations.

It is tempting to think that most everyone has access to electricity, enabling them to use their electric stove in the kitchen, and electric heater in the living room. 

That would be wrong. 

In many parts of the world wood is the most common energy source available to the people.

3 billion people across the globe rely on biomass, in the form of wood, and also charcoal, dung, and crop residue.

1.3 billion people do not have access to electricity, an alarming statistic to someone that has lived with near-constant electrical power since birth. 

It seems so... power privileged. However, that privilege can be revoked at any time. In that case, wood would be good.

In the recent grid crash in Texas, people who had wood heat in their homes faired better than those who were left with nothing for cooking and heating as soon as the power went out.

There is something to be learned there. 

My take away is to some day have a home system in which we are not reliant on electricity to do everything. 

A good old fashioned wood stove would be welcome in that case.

A nice-sized wood lot in the back yard is also on my wish list.

Grids are complex. Wood is simple.

One Year No Cars-a-versary

Somewhere around now is my one year anniversary of the last time I moved across the face of the Earth with a motor, other than my legs.

I remember the day. I hitched a ride to the grocery store with our neighbours.  

This period is the longest I have gone without using fossil fuelled transportation in my life.

No cars. No buses. No planes. No trucks. No quads. No motorcycles. No trains. No ride on lawn mowers. No taxis.

No personal production of greenhouse gases. Not directly, anyway.

No moving faster than I can go on my bike, which is a pace I am much more comfortable with.

I love how quiet it has been. How local it has been. How less stinky it has been. How much less of a hassle it has been, when I thought it would be more of a hassle.

On this one year anniversary, I find that I do not miss being dependent on car ownership, or even ridership, to get things done.

My one year no car-a-versary is a celebration of breaking free of the tyranny of the private automobile.

Car makers advertise their products as the ultimate "freedom machines". 

If so, why do I feel so much more free not owning one?

Or even riding in one?

Here is what they know, but obviously will never say, 

"Human survival can only arrive on foot... or by bicycle".

March 11, 2021

Simplicity Community Cooperation

Image by Pawel Kuczynski

You don't need a crystal ball to see what lies in the near future for humanity. It is increasingly obvious.

Here is what I see just from a little looking around - there are, and will continue to be, great changes occurring with increasing rapidity.


Cascading crises. Pick any one.

Economic crisis.

COVID crisis.

Variant crisis.

Climate crisis.

Environmental crisis.

Extinction crisis.

Biodiversity crisis.

The list goes on and on, but it does not matter. 

We already have enough going on to let us know that business as usual is over, and it is not coming back.

There will be no "going back to normal" because it was that normal that got us into each and every one of our current crises.

To go back to normal would mean to go back to a continued path to extinction of not only humans, but all life on Earth.

There will also be no Great Reset. 

There is nothing left for capitalism to reset. Decades of unchecked greed have sucked the life out of everyone, and everything. 

There is nothing left.

There will, however, be a Great Remembering, and it might just save us.

This will be where the tired and worn out workers of overdeveloped nations begin to yearn more for slower,  quieter lifestyles than they do for more money, more work, and more stuff.

People are deciding, appropriately, to quit consumerism all together. They can see it is a dead end.

The more principled ones will also quit jobs that support the creaking machine of consumerism, and shift toward endeavours that support the health of our communities and ecosystem.

Regardless of what happens moving forward, one will be better served by having a simple, more self-reliant and local lifestyle. 

If there is any "reset" it will be this - community and cooperation are becoming more important than cash and competition. 

The only things that will make the massive and rapid changes of the near future easier to deal with as our multiple crises continue to cascade and coalesce into collapse are:




March 9, 2021

Have No Fear

Living fearlessly is a little slice of heaven.

The Indian spiritual teacher Swami Vivekananda said,  

”The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. 

Never fear what will become of you, 

depend on no one. 

Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.”

Consumerism needs us to survive. It spends upwards of 1 trillion dollars every year to influence our minds. 

Much of that is to make us fearful. 

The rest is to make us feel inadequate.

Healthy fear is productive. It keeps us alive.

Manufactured fear is corrosive. 

Being afraid of getting in a car accident is helpful. The caution it provides may keep you and others alive.

Being afraid that our clothes are not the latest fashion, or that our house isn't big enough, or car new enough, is corrosive. It make us do things we normally would not.

The only thing the system fears is fearless non-conformist, post-consumers living contented simple lives.

We do not depend on consumer culture to validate us, and refuse to connect our worthiness to how much of their stuff we buy, or how hard we work for them.

We do not need consumer culture's help, and therefore do not need to fear letting it all go. 

Someone benefits from all the manufactured fear, and it is not the regular person. That is why fear has been a popular tool of state power since the beginning of state power - to keep the regular person in an exploitable state of bondage.

Consumerism offers only chains, while the Universe offers freedom. 

That is why we never have to worry or be afraid when we boldly go where our hearts lead us. The gods may laugh at our plans, but the Universe smiles.

The moment you reject the fear that emanates endlessly from the cult of consumerism, you are freed. 

It is a little slice of heaven.


March 2, 2021

The Ultimate Silence

"So we aren't our body", I said to my mom, "and we aren't our thoughts either."

"Mmhmm", she replied.

"So what are we?" I asked. "What else is there?"

She laughed and laughed.

I thought she might say something after she stopped laughing.

She didn't. 

My mom was born May 13, 1935, the oldest in a large family. 

She was a woman of few words. 

When young, I saw it as weakness. How wrong I was. 

It was her super power, her survival skill set. 

Her quiet, calm approach made it possible for her to survive caring for 5 kids and a husband. That alone is a monumental feat. 

In addition, mom was breaking free of traditional expectations of a women's role in the family and society. 

It was women's liberation before that became a dirty word. No, it always was a dirty word for a certain segment of society. That did not deter her.

She went to university and got a degree. She got her own job. She got her own place. And for the first time, she got her own life and the freedom that we all yearn for.

That demonstrated a depth of strength that was camouflaged by her quiet exterior. 

Not wordy or boastful, she told me, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than open one's mouth and remove all doubt."

It could have been her Catholic upbringing, which would have taught her that "too much talk leads to sin". 

When our mouths are full of our own words, we have little time for the words of others, and she was a good listener. That is a quality not many people have today.

A spiritual woman and lifelong learner, she studied Zen and Eastern religion after leaving the church. She found similar teachings regarding exercising one's mouth excessively there. 

In Zen, talking to much is a frowned-upon transgression. My quiet mom could have been a Zen saint. 

Or maybe she was.

She didn't use words to let me know what we are if we aren't our bodies, and we aren't our minds. 

She showed me what we are by her quiet example.

We are the witness, the watcher. Discovering this can only happen in still, calm quietness. 

Mom taught me that there is a lot to learn while listening, and not so much while talking.

In silence one finds wisdom, and one finds strength.

Mom entered the ultimate silence on January 19, 2021.

"If today was your last day in this body, 
would the mind’s chatter, plans or desires 
hold any real value for you? 


Then why not live from this attitude now?"

- Mooji

March 1, 2021

Without Propaganda How Would We Know What To Think?

Thank goodness for the mainstream media and their advertisers. 

Without them, how would we know:

* who the person, organization, or country is the correct one to hate on any particular day?

* how competition is better than cooperation, and how we need to vanquish our competitors utterly and completely for total victory?

* that billionaires are a net benefit to the planet?

* what things we need to buy to give the illusion of success?

* how we need to look and act in order to be accepted in society?

* that capitalism and democracy are the only alternatives and that they are both operating smoothly for the benefit of all humans?

* what to be scared of, and exactly how much fear is appropriate at the moment?

Note: whenever the MSM finally warns us that we need to take meaningful action to protect ourselves from real, actual threats, it means that it is already too late to do anything.