They’re all having babies too.
Finding out that another one of your high school/college friends is already divorced.
The grass is always greener, kids. Just remember that.
Irishman Mark Boyle tried to live life with no income, no bank balance and no spending. Here’s how he finds it:
"If someone told me seven years ago, in my final year of a business and economics degree, that I’d now be living without money, I’d have probably choked on my microwaved ready meal. The plan back then was to get a ‘good’ job, make as much money as possible, and buy the stuff that would show society I was successful.
For a while I did it – I had a fantastic job managing a big organic food company; had myself a yacht on the harbour. If it hadn’t been for the chance purchase of a video called Gandhi, I’d still be doing it today. Instead, for the last fifteen months, I haven’t spent or received a single penny. Zilch.
The change in life path came one evening on the yacht whilst philosophising with a friend over a glass of merlot. Whilst I had been significantly influenced by the Mahatma’s quote “be the change you want to see in the world”, I had no idea what that change was up until then. We began talking about all major issues in the world – environmental destruction, resource wars, factory farms, sweatshop labour – and wondering which of these we would be best devoting our time to. Not that we felt we could make any difference, being two small drops in a highly polluted ocean.
But that evening I had a realisation. These issues weren’t as unrelated as I had previously thought – they had a common root cause. I believe the fact that we no longer see the direct repercussions our purchases have on the people, environment and animals they affect is the factor that unites these problems.
The degrees of separation between the consumer and the consumed have increased so much that it now means we’re completely unaware of the levels of destruction and suffering embodied in the ‘stuff’ we buy.
Very few people actually want to cause suffering to others; most just don’t have any idea that they directly are. The tool that has enabled this separation is money, especially in its globalised format.
Take this for an example: if we grew our own food, we wouldn’t waste a third of it as we do today.
If we made our own tables and chairs, we wouldn’t throw them out the moment we changed the interior décor.
If we had to clean our own drinking water, we probably wouldn’t shit in it.
So to be the change I wanted to see in the world, it unfortunately meant I was going to have to give up money, which I decided to do for a year initially. So I made a list of the basics I’d need to survive. I adore food, so it was at the top. There are four legs to the food-for-free table: foraging wild food, growing your own, bartering and using waste grub, of which there far too much.
On my first day I fed 150 people a three course meal with waste and foraged food. Most of the year I ate my own crops though and waste only made up about five per cent my diet. I cooked outside – rain or shine – on a rocket stove.
Next up was shelter. So I got myself a caravan from Freecycle, parked it on an organic farm I was volunteering with, and kitted it out to be off the electricity grid. I’d use wood I either coppiced or scavenged to heat my humble abode in a wood burner made from an old gas bottle, and I had a compost loo to make ‘humanure’ for my veggies.
I bathed in a river, and for toothpaste I used washed up cuttlefish bone with wild fennel seeds, an oddity for a vegan. For loo roll I’d relieve the local newsagents of its papers (I once wiped my arse with a story about myself); it wasn’t double quilted but it quickly became normal. To get around I had a bike and trailer, and the 55 km commute to the city doubled up as my gym subscription. For lighting I’d use beeswax candles.
Many people label me an anti-capitalist. Whilst I do believe capitalism is fundamentally flawed, requiring infinite growth on a finite planet, I am not anti anything. I am pro-nature, pro-community and pro-happiness. And that’s the thing I don’t get – if all this consumerism and environmental destruction brought happiness, it would make some sense. But all the key indicators of unhappiness – depression, crime, mental illness, obesity, suicide and so on are on the increase. More money it seems, does not equate to more happiness.
Ironically, I have found this year to be the happiest of my life. I’ve more friends in my community than ever, I haven’t been ill since I began, and I’ve never been fitter. I’ve found that friendship, not money, is real security. That most western poverty is spiritual. And that independence is really interdependence.
Could we all live like this tomorrow? No. It would be a catastrophe, we are too addicted to both it and cheap energy, and have managed to build an entire global infrastructure around the abundance of both. But if we devolved decision making and re-localised down to communities of no larger than 150 people, then why not? For over 90 per cent of our time on this planet, a period when we lived much more ecologically, we lived without money. Now we are the only species to use it, probably because we are the species most out of touch with nature.
People now often ask me what is missing compared to my old world of lucre and business. Stress. Traffic-jams. Bank statements. Utility bills. Oh yeah, and the odd pint of organic ale with my mates down the local.”
this man is an inspiration.
This is actually pretty cool.
Quite an idea
This is a very interesting philosophical question: is what this man is doing really that revolutionary, or is it just a natural, human tendency packaged in a different wrapper?
For most of the time that humanity has existed on Earth, we lived more ecologically, yes. But for most of the time that humanity has existed on Earth, it has also been an incredible struggle just to survive, let alone thrive. This man is young and healthy right now, but how is he going to like living off the land when he’s older and less physically capable? How is he going to like it when he has a bad season and can’t get enough food for himself, or when he hurts himself or becomes ill and can’t do all the daily things he has to do to get by? We built the society that we have now because, somewhere along the line, people decided that the daily struggle wasn’t the way they wanted to live. They had the life that this man has now (or something akin to it) and said, “Screw this. I want to build a better/faster/easier/safer/more reliable way of completing this task.”
And really, when it comes down to it, that’s all this guy is doing; he’s observing the trend of society that he perceives as making people miserable and is trying to find a way that he thinks is better. It’s a matter of human nature and a matter of perspective. It’s the way we are that we are always going to be innovating—pushing the boundaries and looking for a different way. I would imagine that, if we all were to press forward with the type of life that this man is envisioning with small, sustainable communities, someone somewhere along the line would put a foot down and turn us right back into the direction of industry and technology and we could end up right back where we are now.
"I don’t event think I have an e-mail.”
"No, I didn’t get that very important e-mail that you sent out to everyone last week."
"I still don’t know how to use the Outlook Web Application even though you’ve sent out at least half a dozen e-mails in the last year AND talked about it in staff meetings."
I hear you. I got today to relax a bit after finishing NaNo, and tomorrow go back to work during a super stressful time and into tech all week for the show I’m in opening this weekend. No rest for creative sorts, is there?
Well, you can rest when you’re dead and finally famous.
Starving and living on a very low budget and trying to get your creative things noticed and finally getting noticed after death. That’s how it works ^^
Is there some wine left? I could use some! ^^
There is! \_/ (It’s in a stemless glass.. . I hope that’s okay.)
Personally, I have no interest in being famous; it seems awful, if you ask me. Right now, I’d just be happy to have the time to make and do the things that I want to make and do without having to give up on stuff like eating and sleeping to make it happen. When you have to work a full-time job and then squeeze in everything else in the in-between hours, you reach a point where you’re literally making yourself ill for your art.
Since a few people have asked, here are the rules for the game called “Broken Picture Telephone,” also known as “Eat Poop, You Cat,” also known as “Draw-o Word-o,” also known in the U.K. as “Crumbs and Whistles,” also known as “Call of Duty 5.”
- You need a relatively big group to play; too few and it won’t go on long enough to get silly. I’d say anywhere between 6 and 12 players is a good number.
- Every player should have a stack of papers (index cards are great, but anything you can draw on works). They should have as many pieces as there are players.
- You begin by drawing a picture on the top sheet of paper. You can also start with sentences if you prefer. You can also decide to follow a group theme if you desire.
- Pass the stack of papers to the next player. Did I mention you should be sitting in a circle? I didn’t, did I. Sorry about that.
- Look at the drawing you received, move that paper to the bottom of the stack, and on the next piece write a description of the drawing you received. You can be as descriptive as you like. Even if you don’t understand part of the drawing, try to describe what it looks like to you.
- Pass the stacks again. Now you should be looking at a sentence. Put that paper on the bottom and draw a picture of that sentence.
- Keep passing and alternating drawing/writing in this manner until each stack reaches its original player. Share the results with the group! Laugh and enjoy life. You’re doing it! You’re living the dream.
EDIT: David Malki adds: “It’s not 100% necessary, but I would add to Anthony’s rules that it works well to have an odd number of people, so that you both start with a drawing and end with a drawing!”
ANOTHER EDIT: If you do indeed have an odd number of players, then you can keep passing after it’s returned to you. If you started with a sentence then you’ll be doing a drawing for it, and you may not even recognize it by the time it comes back to you.
There are a lot of variations to this game, and it’s so simple that if you have a good group, you can play however you want and it’s still fun.
Everyone, play this game next time you are at a party. Please. You will have the best laugh you’ve had in a long time, I promise. This is a go-to game in my circle of friends (we call it “Telephone Pictionary”) and it ALWAYS ends in people crying and rolling on the floor.
Options that need to exist in the auto-attendant when you call an 800 number:
an english major, an art major, and a film major walk into a bar
they all get ridiculed for pursuing what they love
#they clock in.
^ Ouch. That hurts.