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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Thoreau was right



Simplify simplify simplify. Maybe just one “simplify” would have been enough.

The recent hassles with my van has reinforced my suspicion that some things have gotten too complicated. Many have lamented the fact that our vehicles have gotten too sophisticated for the home mechanic. That's true enough, but the old cars weren't always that great either. Fiddling with points and dealing with constant flat tires was no picnic. Some things have improved. If only they would improved the bad things and kept the rest simple.

Overall there's just so much more stuff that can go wrong. Air conditioning, emission controls, ABS brakes, cruise controls, and so on and so on. On the other hand, I'm not a fan of horses either. I think those who can get by with a bicycle are smarter than the rest of us.

Homes have also gotten too complicated. When I see a “totally wired home” I cringe a bit. They've automated and electrified things best lest simple. Remember when if you wanted fresh air you just opened a window? Simplicity itself. I like heating and cooking with wood. No electricity or specialty fuels needed. If it's seasoned wood and and fits though the stove door, it's good to go.

One of my long term goals is to spend at least half the year living on a sailboat. Of course it won't be one of those million dollar marvels that dominate boat shows these days. Just read the blog of anyone living on such a boat. They are forever fixing diesel engines, repairing electric winches, fixing water makers, servicing generators, and sorting out electronic issues. That's not even touching on the complicated sailing systems. Then they are forever waiting for parts or searching for good mechanics for everything from their refrigeration to radars.

At what point did these modern conveniences become necessities? Are any of them as good as dancing by the light of a campfire on a beach, with a bottle of wine in one hand and a lovely lady in the other? I've made my choice.

-Sixbears



10 comments:

  1. Yes Thoreau was right.
    And big is not better and fast is not always quicker.
    Ask the hare...

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    1. I've been a fan of Thoreau since I was 10 years old.

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  2. Just curious; do you have a sextant?

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    1. No, but the question got me thinking. If I sailed across oceans I'd have and know how to use a sextant, but would most likely use GPS like everyone else. GPS is easy to use and more accurate -lives are on the line here.

      For coastal cruising I also use a compass and paper charts as I don't trust GPS to not fail.

      For safety while sailing it pays to have backup systems.

      However, my GPS is a simple handheld model, so there's that.

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  3. Here on the Gulf coast of Texas air-conditioning is a must, at least for me. I run the AC and fans.

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    1. I'm not saying to suffer. We don't have to live like primitives to live more simply.

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  4. I agree that simple is better when possible. I miss being able to open a window and get a good breeze going!

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  5. Did you ever read a book called "chicken hawk." It's the biography of a Viet Nam era Army Huey pilot. He later wrote a sequel about his post Army life. That book comes to mind because, like you, he got himself a sailboat and really liked it. Unfortunately, to make a little spending money he tried to run a boat load of pot from the Caribbean into the U.S. and got caught......:-(

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    Replies
    1. Haven't read the book, but now it's on my list. Thanks.

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