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Thursday, June 29, 2017

"empty-handed and without anxiety."

Live Simply

...there are often many things we feel we should do that, in fact, we don't really have to do. Getting to the point where we can tell the difference is a major milestone in the simplification process.”
Elaine St. James (Living the Simple Life: A Guide to Scaling Down and Enjoying More)

Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden: “It is desirable that a man live in all respects so simply and preparedly that if an enemy take the town...he can walk out the gate empty handed and without anxiety.” Boy-howdy, have things ever changed! I heard an “expert” on NPR yesterday talking about the latest cyber hack using ransom wear. His advice was, “back everything up, and don't agree to pay the ransom, but if you are going to pay, know how to access bit-coin.” Say what? I may as well be back there in Thoreau's time...just go to the woods, and don't worry about cyber space!

Our modern lives have become so complicated that we now have to concern ourselves with our home being hacked—everything from security systems, to baby monitors, to heart monitors, to pace-makers. We keep adding protective systems, thinking those will be a firewall against invasion, but they just give hackers something to gnaw on. The “expert” on NPR had been hacked even with four layers of protection. Here's my humble, non-expert suggestion—de-modernize. Simplify. Let's take it back to when we lived in sustainable ways. Ways that we could, if need be, “walk out the gate empty handed and without anxiety.” Because, the enemy has taken the town, y'all, and the enemy is us.

I'm not sure when we became so dependent on computers. And now, there is much excitement about increasing rather than decreasing our use of artificial intelligence. What a boon that will be for humanity! Maybe within a couple of decades there will be no need for us at all! I'm kidding, of course, but only half-way. We have produced so much that we don't understand, and we don't know how to control, that we put ourselves in position every single day to be taken advantage of by people who will stop at nothing to enrich themselves. How might we begin little by little to disentangle ourselves from the reach of such folks? How can we simplify to the point of being uninteresting to those who spend their days in nefarious pursuit of other people's possessions? Are we willing to give up our addictive and all consuming toys and get back in touch with our real life—the life of our hearts and souls?

                                                                  In the Spirit,
                                                                       Jane



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