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Self-Deprivation Has Become Hip
Old 10-18-2007, 03:54 PM   #1
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Self-Deprivation Has Become Hip

We on this board missed a golden opportunity in the publishing world! A recent Newsweek article notes that deprivation has become hip. As some people noted "many recent books are about the writer's staying home and not doing something. Part of the idea of saying no is a little old-fashioned. We are so overwhelmed by technology and have so much access to so many choices that these books offer a way to deprive or limit ourselves and lead lives pared down to the essentials. We're such a hyperaffluent society that what else is left for us than to take things away from our lives?"

Examples include:

* The Year of Living Biblically---about the author's quest to follow every mandate in the Bible (led to increasingly strange dietary requirements and his not touching his wife or any chair she used while menstruating)
* A Year Without "Made in China"
* Not Buying It (giving up shopping)
* Animal, Vegetable, Mineral (just eating home grown or locally grown food)
* The Big Turnoff (no Tv)
* No Impact Man (actually a blog not a book, not using toilet paper, disposable cups, or air conditioning)

So---think these people are really closeted LBYM'ers who are striving to be FIREd? Or are they just doing this to sell books?

And why didn't someone here write a memoir of "A Year Reusing Dryer Sheets"?
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Old 10-18-2007, 10:01 PM   #2
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So---think these people are really closeted LBYM'ers who are striving to be FIREd? Or are they just doing this to sell books?
?
While selling books must be part of it, when else can you think of that such bizarre books would sell? I follow the lead of semiotics-if something catches hold of the public, it is somehow appropriate for the times.

This kind of useless self deprivation is another odd symptom of the changeover years into the 21st century. Maybe it will dissipate, or maybe it foreshadows a greater deprivation that will be forced on us in the future.

Ha
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Old 10-18-2007, 11:54 PM   #3
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think these people are really closeted LBYM'ers who are striving to be FIREd? Or are they just doing this to sell books?

And why didn't someone here write a memoir of "A Year Reusing Dryer Sheets"?
DUH!
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Old 10-19-2007, 05:46 AM   #4
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This kind of useless self deprivation is another odd symptom of the changeover years into the 21st century. Maybe it will dissipate, or maybe it foreshadows a greater deprivation that will be forced on us in the future.
I don't know about that. At the turn of the last century there were utopian movements that were into vegetarianism, whole grains and colonics and the like. And throughout history, worldwide, there are no end of people who have renounced aspects of the material world for reasons of faith and spirituality.

A "bonfire of vanities" is perhaps extreme, but I wouldn't say people do it solely as a gimmick in most cases.

Even if some of the authors cited are milking a trend.. I think it's refreshing that people see an alternative to mindless consumption.. let's call it mindFUL consumption.

And really.. is giving up TV or disposable plastic cups "taking something away" from our lives?? "Deprivation"??
Maybe these acts give us something back.
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Old 10-19-2007, 09:20 AM   #5
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I remember a local news article about a family in Chapel Hill (the town renown for hippies, environmentalists, counter culturalists and the avant garde, among other things). This family had given up air conditioning for a year, to save the earth (or some other lofty goal). According to them, it was really hard, and they even had to turn the air on a couple of days when the temps crossed 100 for a few days. Good job guys, but guess what, there are tons of people going without A/C in America every day - they are called "poor people". Too bad no one did a story about their sacrifices...

This trend also reminds me of a related trend. Spiritual tourism, specifically to southern and southeast Asia to spend time at a Buddhist monastery. For the low, low price of $800/week, you can spend your time in silent, peaceful contemplation and meditation. I just wonder what the allure of this particular endeavor is. Couldn't these folks turn off their cellphones, home phones, tv's, and computers and meditate in their living room or local park or nature reserve? Maybe I'm just being hermit-y... But hey, whatever floats your boat, right?
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Old 10-19-2007, 09:25 AM   #6
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Couldn't these folks turn off their cellphones, home phones, tv's, and computers and meditate in their living room or local park or nature reserve?
Because then you couldn't brag to the neighbors.
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Old 10-19-2007, 09:30 AM   #7
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Because then you couldn't brag to the neighbors.
That's unfortunately true. I could only imagine the response I would get if I told someone I had gone to the local State Park and meditated 16 hours a day for a week vs. what reaction I would get if I told them I went to an ancient Buddhist monastery in the jungles of Cambodia and undertook the same meditation regimen.

I still have a hard time getting folks to understand how free it feels to NOT own a cell phone. How do you describe the "uncontactable" feeling? I think the problem is that my conversations are usually interrupted by phone calls, so my message goes unheard.
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Old 10-19-2007, 09:36 AM   #8
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I think it is call "Self-Deprivation" because we are basically a materialistic society and it goes against that religion no to want to get as much as you can get.

It should be call "Self-Liberation". I find that it is liberating to give up much of what is considered normal.
I didn't watch TV from about 2002 to 4 days ago when I got a tuner for my computer - I haven't missed anything.
Once you begin to loose the "Consumer" mindset you have a lot more of life. If everyone in the USA were to do this the government would be in trouble because people would become more involved.

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Old 10-19-2007, 10:01 AM   #9
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I still have a hard time getting folks to understand how free it feels to NOT own a cell phone.
It's OK, Justin, I get it.

Instead of being able to speed-dial you and blurt out their thoughts from short-term memory, maybe they can't imagine planning ahead or remembering things to talk about the next time they see you.

Our kid had a problem a few weeks ago with a needy endlessly-calling "friend", so we turned off our phone's ringer. It's been incredibly peaceful around here and I'm not sure that we'll be turning it back on anytime soon...
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Old 10-19-2007, 10:01 AM   #10
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Because then you couldn't brag to the neighbors.
(laugh) That's right! Because they treat spirituality (or even just taking a time out) as Another Consumer Item.

The Italians are cell-phone MAD.. I hate it. I have one but only DH knows the number. It's never turned on. I only take it in case I am driving by myself, in case of emergency.

Dex, you are so right. I really think I lose a lot to the TV (and the Internet). I find it hard to think about giving up because I fear losing my connection to the "real" (i.e. "American" -wink-) world; it's an anchor, but I'm not sure if it's keeping me stable or dragging me down. I tend to suspect the latter; it's a meta-life in which I -like many Americans- am in the role of spectator/consumer rather than protagonist/producer.
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Old 10-19-2007, 10:12 AM   #11
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Our kid had a problem a few weeks ago with a needy endlessly-calling "friend", so we turned off our phone's ringer. It's been incredibly peaceful around here and I'm not sure that we'll be turning it back on anytime soon...
It's funny you mention that. Sometimes I don't answer the phone. My 2 y.o. daughter gets into this WTF freak out mode over this, because somehow she has figured out that the phone just needs to be answered regardless of what you have going on at that moment. Interesting that the Pavlovian conditioning is present at 2 years of age...

I have this coworker/cell phone addict in the cube next to me that constantly takes personal cell phone calls at work. Then she complains about how spending a few hours talking on the phone w/ her mother/sister/friends/relatives adversely affects her productivity. I then informed her of this great productivity-enhancing feature firmly attached to every cell phone. It's called the "off button" - use it when you're at work and I promise your cell phone won't ring all day!

Life really is harder these days...
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Old 10-19-2007, 10:37 AM   #12
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it strikes me that much of the "deprivation movements" are yet another form of self indulgence.
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Old 10-19-2007, 09:54 PM   #13
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* The Year of Living Biblically---about the author's quest to follow every mandate in the Bible (led to increasingly strange dietary requirements and his not touching his wife or any chair she used while menstruating)
while studying kabbalah (years before that became a trend, thank you very much) i came across i think a 13th or 15th century story of a rabbi who in trance transported himself to heaven to confer with the likes of elijah. when his students required him back they would touch him with the cloth of a menstruating woman.

Quote:
This trend also reminds me of a related trend. Spiritual tourism, specifically to southern and southeast Asia to spend time at a Buddhist monastery. For the low, low price of $800/week, you can spend your time in silent, peaceful contemplation and meditation. I just wonder what the allure of this particular endeavor is. Couldn't these folks turn off their cellphones, home phones, tv's, and computers and meditate in their living room or local park or nature reserve? Maybe I'm just being hermit-y... But hey, whatever floats your boat, right?
that might also have to do with a notion in some buddhist teaching which requires certain knowledge be transmitted (google: buddhism transmission) from teacher to student when the student is in the physical presence of the teacher.

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Our kid had a problem a few weeks ago with a needy endlessly-calling "friend", so we turned off our phone's ringer. It's been incredibly peaceful around here and I'm not sure that we'll be turning it back on anytime soon...
just the other day i had a friend complain that my cell phone (i have no land line) was turned off as it frequently is. it has an answering service which i check on occasion so i don't see the problem but my friend seemed almost insulted.

it happens that if i have the phone with me, when i go into the supermarket or such, i turn it off because it is so incredibly rude to shop and talk which generally leaves one absent mindedly getting in the way of others in the store. i love it especially when someone answers their phone as they are getting their change out at the cashier and holding up the line.

so often i simply don't think to turn the phone back on until a time comes when i want to make a call. try explaining all that to my insecure friend.

Quote:
let's call it mindFUL consumption.
Quote:
It should be call "Self-Liberation".
i could go with either of those.
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Old 10-19-2007, 10:00 PM   #14
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I don't know about that. At the turn of the last century there were utopian movements that were into vegetarianism, whole grains and colonics and the like. And throughout history, worldwide, there are no end of people who have renounced aspects of the material world for reasons of faith and spirituality.

A "bonfire of vanities" is perhaps extreme, but I wouldn't say people do it solely as a gimmick in most cases.

Even if some of the authors cited are milking a trend.. I think it's refreshing that people see an alternative to mindless consumption.. let's call it mindFUL consumption.

And really.. is giving up TV or disposable plastic cups "taking something away" from our lives?? "Deprivation"??
Maybe these acts give us something back.
Heh, you would probably appreciate a movie "The Road to Wellville," about just such 19th/20th century movements. We forst saw it when DW was working at a vegetarian chef's school and nearly wet ourselves laughing.
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