Junk and Luxury
By Bret Burquest
One of the fastest ways to fail in life is to work so hard your manager will think you're after his job.
In 1976, one year before our semi-blissful marriage of five
years and two days, my ex-wife and I went on a sailing adventure in the
After a few days, we hooked up with a couple from
One day the six of us were wandering the neighborhood back
streets of a town on
The couple from
My ex-wife was too busy looking for a shop where she could buy some more useless junk to notice anything.
However, I noticed and wondered if I was the only sane person in the group. Everyone I saw along the street appeared to be perfectly content in their existence. You could see the happiness in the twinkle in their eyes. It was beyond my comprehension why anyone would want to barge in and spoil a perfectly desirable way of life.
Apparently, there's a big difference between liberals and conservatives and relatively sane human beings.
Once upon a time in
There were indigenous folks (Native Americans) scattered throughout the continent, doing just fine until the white man arrived on the eastern shore, stuck a flag in the ground and declared it to be a "discovery."
Some of the indigenous folks had permanent settlements while others were hunter-gatherer nomads.
A hunter-gatherer society consisted of small bands of nomadic people who lived in an area where it was too harsh to allow permanent settlements. They survived by foraging for edible plants and wild animals. Basically, they wandered from one food source to another. Everything they owned, they carried on their backs.
One of the major areas of concentration of hunter-gatherer
nomads was the
In an article titled "The Art of Nothing," Thomas J. Elpel declares, "Hunter-gatherer societies succeeded in working only one or two hours per day, yet in our efforts to reproduce their lifestyle we end up working all day."
Elpel is the director of
According to Elpel, the hunter-gatherers "had a lot of time on their hands because they produced almost no material culture." They basically sat around all day doing nothing. This helped conserve energy, an economical imperative so they wouldn't be forced to harvest more food each day to feed themselves.
They also produced no unnecessary material goods, including artwork. Whenever they were forced to move on, they needed to do so with a minimal of effort. They didn't want to be dragging junk or luxury items with them.
In our materialistic culture where the objective always seems to be growth, we love junk and luxury. Often they're the same thing. We work 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, just to stay even. In fact, we're less than even since our national debt is in the multiple trillions and rising. But we're too busy "getting ahead" to notice.
"Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? Some people have to go to work and don't have time for all that." George Carlin
So, you can be a go-getter and spin your wheels in pursuit of junk and luxury; or you can be a do-nothing and observe the folly of the go-getters as they work harder and harder while getting deeper and deeper in debt.
Work is something you do because it's necessary for survival.
Work you do beyond that is called a burden.
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Bret Burquest is an award-winning columns and author of four novels. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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