Sunday, 6 November 2011

Paring Back

"The man who has begun to live more seriously within begins to live more simply without."
-Ernest Hemingway

I am continually trying to cut down the amount of stuff I own. I had always thought I was doing well until I last moved house. It took me two days to unpack and rearrange my stuff. So today I have started to take more action.
I spent a good while laying out all of my clothes on my bed. I've gotten rid of most of them but I'm still left with all of this:

All of my clothes. Over the coming months this will change a lot. 
Shoes before
Shoes after: I'm already pushing the boundaries of my work dress code.
Hence I'm keeping those ridiculous points.

And considering that I one day quite soon want to live out of this...
The excellent Golite Pinnacle

...I have now started a continuous process of paring back what I own. Which leads to the next interesting quandary. My good friend raises the question well here. I too have recently acquired a fair amount of new equipment, which might easily seem a contradiction. But now, when I buy things, I buy them so that I can eventually own much less stuff. I consider more the quality and function of the things that I buy, rather than just remaining a slave to my not-so-distant past as a pauper. That is to say, I don't just buy the cheap things now that will diminish quickly. A fine example of this is the Golite Pinnacle that I will be living out of. I've not had it for long, but it has recently been up a mountain or two and served me brilliantly. I slept on the side of those mountains too. An utter privilege and revelation. Henrik has written a better review here than I might.

What I consider as much as the quality and longevity of the product I buy is how it is made and where, and I am happily finding that a lot of the companies I buy from make quality products whilst maintaining vigorous ethical standards. This fellow will give you a superb run-down of what I mean. It seems fitting that those companies who earnestly revolve around helping people to function safely and well on our fine Earth as she is meant to be (as she makes herself and not us; earth and not pavement) are also those who function in a way that is considerate of the miracle planet that we are blessed to be able to explore.

This is something I hope to touch upon more in this blog. To me now it seems that the only way I can live happily in my own skin is if I drastically reduce the impact that I have on this beautiful planet. More and more I hope to do things like this and so I will continue to buy only what I need. Paradoxically that involves me picking up more equipment, but only for a while longer (and thereafter with more thrift) until I can set out and feel safe and closer to Earth.

Humans think. They reason. We stood up and ran and it seems to me that the development of our vast imagination was borne of hoof-prints in the dirt and a momentous ability to think ahead, to plan, to mitigate whilst simultaneously living there in the moment, knowing all of this; to inhabit the future as part of our present. And we harness our past, perhaps more efficiently and certainly as profoundly as any other animal. We learn from it so quickly. And yet again we don't. It seems we have taken for granted that genius. As a species we have come to believe that we have earned dominion over nature. This is absurd. The most important thing now is to take heed, to harness our genius and realise that if we log their ecosystem we are cutting one of the final chords that link us to a perfect way of life. I'm not saying that we should all revert to hunter-gatherers. But not like this...

We have so much to learn from those Humans who live closer to the Earth.

We are told what the weather will do. Look to the sky! Spend time outside and be still and absorb. Get wet! Walk, run, climb! That is what I plan to do and it is certainly helping me to feel more like an animal.

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