Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Essentials

It is a lovely warm Sunday afternoon here in Lakeside. The skies are blue and clear, the thunder, lightening and rain storm that hit last night is long gone. Diane and I have spent most of the morning working on our personal projects and watching Harry Potter -- the film series is one of those guilty pleasures we indulge ourselves in periodically, usually going through the whole series, one by one, on DVD. We have a BluRay player now, but we have no intention of replacing our standard DVDs with BluRay editions. By the time we did that someone would come up with something else even better.

Which brings me in very general terms to the subject of today's blog: essentials. Our house is filled with non-essentials, the Harry Potter DVD series being a prime example. But I always like to ask myself, and therefore now am asking you: what do we really NEED? What is a true essential?

The list is small.

We need shelter, a place to live in that protects us from whatever elements are out in the environment we choose to live in or are required to stay. We need food to eat -- hopefully a healthy diet carefully chosen to prolong life and promote good health, but such diets cross over into expensive and therefore might be called luxurious. Still, it remains we need food. We need water, clean water preferred but bottled Artesian well water not essential. And we need the means to procure these essential things -- in Western parlance, a job. Lastly, we need sex. Without sex we don't have little we's running around to keep the system going. The fact that sex is fun and enjoyable is a bonus, not an essential, though one could argue that if sex were not enjoyable we would not do it, and there you go.

Paying for sex, that's another debate I don't want to enter into right now.

Shelter, food, method and sex.

All the rest is illusion, conditioning, advertising and want. Even things I consider essential to the nourishing of y soul -- music, books, good films -- are not essential to my survival. And my rock specimens and dragon carvings and other dust collectors are totally non. I love them, do not intend to part with them, but I recognize them for what they are. My Kia is essential, especially up in Montana, but my work is walking distance away even in winter. However, a BMW would be a bit excessive, especially given my budget. These things are WANTS.

Modern economy is based on wants, not needs. And wants are self perpetuating, if you buy in. Buying in is what we are constantly bombarded and cajoled into doing. It used to be that need created the tool to meet the need -- necessity was the mother of invention. This is no longer so. Invention now is the mother of need: faster than we can consume the newest gadget, someone creates an even newer one and we are told we must have it. And we believe. And we follow.

I am off that grid. I no longer fit the demographic that perpetuates the world's consumer driven economy. Slowly, ever so slowly, I obtain things I want, but I will not stand in line to purchase the newest fad. Eventually all markets will become saturated by new things no one can afford to buy or really find a use for, and the whole house of cards will come crashing down. I won't be a part of that, not anymore. Once upon a time I thought I needed all that sh#@#?!!, but I'm doing fine without it.

My needs have changed. I've rediscovered that a good conversation with a good friend is more valuable than any of that aforementioned stuff. A nice bottle of wine, though not needed, does complete the experience.

And that brings me to the final point for today's blog: there is one more item I should add to the list of essentials in a human being's life. Call me naive, or overly romantic, but here it is. Professor Dumbledore would agree with me. The last and most important essential is LOVE. And money can't buy you love. I heard that somewhere, years ago.

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