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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Human Scale



How much is too much? How big is too big?

Remember when the McMansion was all the rage? During the housing boom the trend was to buy the biggest house you could almost afford. With easy financing, some of those houses were big indeed.

At some point a house is no longer your home. A small house serves the owner. It provides warmth and shelter and doesn't take all the owner's time and money. As a house gets bigger, you don't own it, it owns you. All your time and money go into maintaining it. Just keeping it clean becomes a full time job. The rich can afford hired help to do all that stuff. There are cleaners, cooks, landscaping crews -you name it. At that point, it's not a house anymore. Too many other people come and go at will. Often a few rooms are off limits to the help so the owners can have some sense of privacy. At that point, they've recreated the small house within the big house.

I see the same trends with sailboats. The glossy magazines like to feature these monster boats that require a crew to sail effectively. Even with a crew, the boat relies on lots of power equipment to take the place of even more hands. On the other end of the scale, (where I live) are the boats that can easily be sailed with one or two people. Since there are so few gadgets in the boat, there's very little that can go wrong. With a small boat it's easy to go sailing a lot, and what's a boat for anyway?

Humans are only so big. They only take so much space, water, food, or shelter. Beyond a certain point, the human no longer fits in his life. They go around like a kid wearing their parent's clothes. Sure, it's cute for a short while, but after that it's silly.

So why do we strive to acquire more than we reasonably use? It's a matter of status and one oneupmanship. Stupid way to compete. Why don't we compete on who could be the nicest, most generous, or the most clever.

-Sixbears


16 comments:

  1. Being generous, good and kind to one's fellow man? That's a hell'va concept Sixbears. Where do you get these crazy notions. An idea like that will never catch on. It's just too damn radical. You're going to need your medications increased if you're going to promote those sort of thoughts...

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    1. I know, I know, crazy ideas. Must be the booze -I thought it'd help.

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  2. It's too hard to measure "nice." How many dollars tall IS that?

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    1. Maybe it's hard to measure, but sure feel nice when it happens to me.

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  3. I've been downsizing for about 3 years and it feels wonderful. I am loving the sparce look and am not, by any means, finished. The funny thing is, when I go to friends' houses that are still 'collectors'. I almost feel suffocated. Less is really better and cathartic to the soul.

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    1. It's all a matter of finding your own personal level that says: enough.

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  4. you tend to win the contest on the last line in this blog entry. Like the way you think, sir.

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  5. Thank you Adam. You are too kind.

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  6. This time of year is a good time to think about how much we don't need.

    Bigger ain't always better, I reckon! You have the right idea!

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    1. At some point you don't own things, they own you. Wisdom is stopping well shy of that point.

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  7. We are planning on taking some more big loads to the flea market. By putting very low prices on the stuff, it goes fast and some one else can get some use out of it.

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    1. Good way to clean things out, and get a few bucks too.

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  8. Nice or clever aren't going to cut it, there's no way to measure. Generous, on the other hand, there is a precedent for. Not only do you have the potlatch cultures of the natives of the Pacific Northwest, but there has been a long-standing tradition among the uber-rich here in America, from the Carnegie libraries to the Rockefeller Centers to the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation. That's one thing that unfortunately hasn't trickled down so much, the idea of buying status by giving stuff away.

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    1. Darn good point. Gaining status by how much you can give has a long history. That's something that should come back.

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  9. I don't even think of the holidays, we have a tiny home, just for us having lived here almost 35 years, it suits us.Material items are not our thing, we volunteer and help those who dream of any place to call home, food and clothes, battered human beings..we don't understand why others run after material items at all. We are baby boomers when we grew up if we had food (both from huge families) we were happy, our playing outside til dark was the norm, if we ever had extra cash we shared with our siblings a treat called a popsickle, when I was 18 I went to live in a huge city san diego with my grandmother who was quite elderly, she cooked for me her spanish foods, she made a lunch for when I worked one of my 3 jobs, I attended college, she held on until I nearly graduated, I walked many miles to save the bus fare which was really cheap, we managed to eek out a living with a tiny black and white tv. She read constantly loved Perry Mason the fellas who were elderly were crazy for her she was in her late 80's mind you and not in good health but she held on til i nearly graduated from college and passed in the daytime watching Perry Mason...It was a big shock to me, but I carried on, my hubbs had a dad that ran after women, he had a wonderful wife and 8 kids to support which he never did, my hubbs grew up and told him once to never come home again, my hubbs was old all thru 8-12 grade working tons of jobs to support a huge gaggle of siblings, not one of them is like him at all, we only have one child she is grown and living 4,000 miles from us, the company she works for flies her near us two times a year fully paid..we love being with her, she grew up in this tiny home and loved it, she was not given anything she wanted and worked and went to college and saved and still saved, single. She knows that others don't get to live like she did and volunteered since she was a wee one, to be generous in this world is the way to be, we donn't run after money, yet in almost 40 years of marriage we have always been able to have what is necessary to live..in the greatest country in all of this world why not be tender and loving and generous to all who come to this country to live, you are not to take anything with you when you leave this terrestrial and life is too short to cling to material possessions, just call me an enlightened baby boomer hippy, ciao!

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    1. I think I will call you an enlighten baby boomer hippy. :)

      You get it.

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