Wednesday, September 2, 2009

L.A. is burning

In a recent issue of Linux Journal, Doc Searles wrote in his EOF column about the "mania of owning things." I liked the title more than the column itself, which was about the threat of his home to a wildfire in California. His theory was that it's possible for people to be freed from the above-mentioned mania when they lose their possessions to a fire or other disaster. This is more noticeable in people who have lost their belongings multiple times.

I can see this, having struggled with the mania of owning things, namely too many things, for quite some time. There are few good, satisfactory ways of dealing with this struggle without the extreme intervention of nature. How many people really methodically pare down their belongings at will?

Anyway, this is all in the context of the current fires in L.A., which threatens the home of another columnist that I adore:

The current Station Fire is terrible to behold, and a good collection of images is here:,0,2039975.photogallery

As you consider the devastation of these events, it's hard to not think of what it would take to pack up your life and flee. Maybe those beloved things you've chosen in your hypothetical evacuation should be liberated from all the clutter in your life. It's impossible not to consider, but nearly as impossible to actually carry out (short of a hard push by the hand of God).

Worth thinking about. I ponder Voluntary Simplicity a lot, and so I am inclined to see that vein of meaning in a lot of different contexts and stories.

Julie Pickett-Hall

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