Wednesday, September 26, 2012
The cost of pleasure, convenience, and vanity
Thoreau was right: simplify, simplify, simplify. There are a lot of things in the world designed to make life easy and give us pleasure, but at what cost?
Every time I look at acquiring something, I wonder what it’s cost is in freedom. For example, say you trade in a perfectly good, paid off used car to buy the newest model. You gain that new car smell, a loan that has to be paid, higher registration and insurance fees, and something that needs to be polished. It’s most likely more complicated and more difficult for a shady tree mechanic to repair. You have less job freedom as now there’s a loan that needs to be paid every month. Even if you pay for it outright, you still gain some added hassle. If nothing else, you worry about that first dent or scratch.
Thoreau was known for his experiment in economy on Walden Pond. A modern proponent of tiny houses is Deek over at Relaxshacks.com There are a number of people building tiny houses these days. One thing I like about Deek is his use of found and recycled materials. The guy knows how to work with a tiny budget.
I was looking at one of those fancy sailing magazines today. Not only could I not afford any of the boats featured, I couldn’t even afford a pair of their yachting boots. Then there are people like Dave Z over at Triloboat. He and his wife live on a boat built out of common lumberyard materials. The guy doesn’t even use an engine. His budget makes me look like a wanton spendthrift.
There is a beauty and freedom to doing things on a more human scale. If you’ve got a nice new luxer car, it goes to the dealership for the least little thing. Us beater drivers think nothing of banging out a dent and slapping a little bondo on it -if we bother with dents at all. A small house makes small demands on your budget and time. Dave Z can replace everything on his boat himself because he built it.
There is power in living at a level you can maintain with little effort. There is freedom.