14.01.2012

Rough Map to Freedom

After his bestseller How To Be Idle, Tom Hodgkinson wrote a sequel titled How To Be Free.

He's surely not the first to have written a guidebook about freedom - one of the key ingredients for happiness. What I like about it, is its honest way of looking at the simplicity of every day life: Drink! Be merry! Surround yourself with friends! Shoot at bean cans with your air rifle three hours a day, if you like! Don't work to much for money!  

There's no elitism here, no theoretical concept - merely someone who's read most of the books on his topic and who's for years been living the life he describes.

According to Hodgekinson modern life is boring, full of anxiety and designed to put our powers to sleep. In chapter 5 he quotes John Seymour, author of Self-Sufficiency (1970) as following:

I believe that if half a dozen families were to decide to be partially self-supporting, and settle within a few miles of each other, and kew what they were doing, they could make for themselves a very good life. Each familiy would have some trade or profession or craft, the product of which they would trade with the rest of the world [...]. Nobody would get bored doing their specialized art or craft, because they would not have to spend all day at it, but there would be a large variety of other jobs to do every day too. This partial specialization would set them free for at least some leisure: probably more than the city wage-slave gets, after he has commuted to and from his office.

If you look closely, you see how smart the idea of this kind of community is: People don't build their own village or even move into a big farmhouse in dozens. No. You just live within a few miles of each other, you still live your own life. And at the same time you don't do it alone. 

Off course reality can let you stumble across: "...and knew what they were doing...".

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