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Bare Necessities

“Don't you know, Mister Rico, that inspired

projects are even more fun than fun itself!

 

Lua believed that we should seriously consider spending less time pursuing extremes of material comfort, convenience, and security; less time with all those online distractions we turn to to fill the emptiness in our lives; and less time developing ever more complicated technologies and organizations. We would be better off — psychologically and spiritually — simplifying our lives and spending more time physically with each other working on meaningful projects, more time in Nature, and more time in quiet solitude to give our saturated sponge brains a break. For while our 21st century heads are filled to capacity with much useful hard-won knowledge (and with a lot more meaningless trivia), our hearts are wilting, and our spirits are weak. A fulfilling human life, after all, needs more than sophisticated knowledge alone can provide, no matter how abundant or profitable. It needs meaning and purpose. It needs connection, creativity, and joy.

“Simplifying our lives? Lua, what would we do with all the free time if we all were not always working so hard to keep up economically and get ahead, as we do now? Idle minds are the devil’s playground, no?”

 

Lua responded without hesitation,

“Oh, not at all! There are plenty of wonderful ways to take advantage of more free time that would keep head, hands, and heart full and fully engaged — with little time or energy left over for idle mischief. Don't you know, Mister Rico, that inspired projects are even more fun than fun itself! For example, we could be more fully engaged in local community and political life. We could get more physical exercise from slower but healthier and more environmentally friendly transportation, like walking and riding a bike. We could learn new skills to develop greater self-reliance and self-confidence to cope with potentially hard times ahead. We could nurture the shared culture of community through participation in art, music, and dance programs, café conversations, and collaborative projects. And we could certainly spend more time in Nature for psychological health and spiritual growth — that would help remind us of how little we actually need. You know ... the bare necessities!

Lua then launched into an islandy rendition of Disney's Bare Necessities to make her point, strumming along on her adorable ever-present ukulele:

Look for the, bare necessities, the simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife

I mean those, bare necessities, old Mother Nature's recipes
That bring the bare necessities of life

 

Wherever I wander, wherever I roam
I couldn't be fonder, of my big home

The bees are buzzin' in the trees
To make some honey just for me

 

And when you look under the rocks and plants
And take a glance at them fancy ants, and then maybe try a few

The bare necessities of life will come to you

They'll come to you

“Ahem .... and, of course, preparing healthy meals with friends and family is always a great way to spend free time together. Maybe throw a few of them 'fancy ants' in the pot, no?”

 

Um, no! ... Yeah, okay, I got it.

 

But a culture of meaningful and purposeful leisure would require a radical cultural overhaul in the U.S., I thought to myself. It would be very difficult to reorient work-ethic-obsessed America to that degree — but not impossible, I suppose. Buried deep in the American psyche there just may be trace historical elements of what would be required to inspire a cultural re-formation of that magnitude. Doable! (maybe)

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​© 2020 Rich 'Rico' Leon