I like working in a library. You meet the most interesting books. Here’s another one: Enough: Breaking Free From the World Of More, by John Naish (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2008.) Naish is a journalist for The Times. Contrary to the stereotype of the adrenaline-addicted, hyper-connected modern journalist, he and his wife opt for voluntary simplicity of life, and in this book he advocates that all of us do exactly that. With more of everything than we can ever use, enjoy or afford, he says, we urgently need to develop a sense of ‘enough.’ Not that it’s easy. In the first place, our brains evolved in the Pleistocene when avidly seeking all things novel and edible was a survival tactic. And: “we are girdled by multimillion-(dollar) industries that use an ever-growing array of overt and hidden persuaders to get us to want things, work for things, and buy more of them.”
Naish breaks our surfeit down into categories: Information, Food, Stuff, Work, Options, Happiness, and Growth. I’m still in the Information section and enjoying the read. Naish writes well, and as a palliative to our plight in which more and more has become way too much, he recommends steps to take. Here’s his advice on digital infotainment:
“The only sane alternative (to 24/7 multi-channel consumption of entertainment) is to create your own enoughist policy. Many of us already try to do this by imposing a quality threshold – namely, the ‘I don’t watch crap’ rule. But quality is such a slippery thing, and the gravitational pull is always downwards. Anyway, what’s wrong with slumming it in front of some junk every now and then? Instead we can take a much more pragmatic approach to infotainment by appeciating its true nature and enjoying it for what it is – a pleasurable yet habit-forming, mind-altering and potentially depressing substance that is evermore cheaply abundant. This description may sound rather familiar. It’s just like alcohol. Treating infortainment with the same cautious hedonism that we employ with booze offers a sustainable answer, because we are at least already practised at this approach. Amid all the headlines about binge drinking, the vast majority of us manage to use alcohol to lighten our lives without completely lacerating our livers.”
Never thought of it that way. Not a bad comparison at all.