Archive for January, 2011

Technical Advantages of Modern Housing

I recently watched Jeremiah Johnson, a 70s movie based on a man who removes himself from society to live in the mountains.

There is a scene where he essentially decides to stop wandering after months of drifting.  He decides on a plot of land near a river.  And for the next few moments in the movie, he builds a log cabin in the time span that appears to be somewhere between 2 weeks and 2 months.

The movie doesn’t detail the design or give the viewer a tour of the finished house.  I’m guessing that his house is a one room shelter, very simple in design.  It lacks heat, a kitchen, and a 3 car garage.  For the argument’s sake, let’s say he could render all the comforts he wants within the next 5 years, while still maintaining his hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

I paint this picture because my first reaction to the scene was wonder and shock, in observing that he could just build a house. My current model of a house is *at least* a 15-year mortgage, if not the even more popular 30-year option.  Not even to mention utilities, taxes, HOAs, and the basic human need of cable television.

It takes 3 to 6 times longer to provide for one’s housing than it did before modern conveniences.

Even though today’s houses are more comfortable and convenient than the house Jeremiah built, I question the intentions of technology in our paradigm, including banking.  The “advantages” seem to have a superfluous amount of comforts, or at least it seems to be holding Westerners back rather than providing a more efficient method.

Is this too much of a naysayer or pure analytic view?

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Out from the TV Rebound

I think I rebounded out of the television withdrawals I was having a few months ago.  It is interesting for me to read that post now:

There’s less background noise (both audio and visual) that either needs to remain silent or requires an increased amount of conversation. It also requires finding new mind-numbing idleness or totally eliminating them.

Another alternative is to find more outside the house events, and possibly spend “the cable bill” on alternative entertainment.

In fact I did just that.  I created a big list of books I wanted to read (and for me, reading books spawns an out-of-control* desire to read more books).  I have so much “to do” — which is now damn near my entire library’s economics section (if you’re keeping track at home, circa 330 in the Dewey system) of books — that I’ve forgotten about television as an outlet.  Of course, I still watch movies, play boardgames, and high five, so I’m still keeping it real.

*Out-of-control in terms of exponential growth, unrelated to the withdrawal and rebound chemical dependence theme in these two posts.

My main conclusion is that it’s easy to not watch television by focusing on the positive alternatives it allows: for me, gettin my literate on!

More generally, I think the easiest way to make a drastic change is to focus on the positive alternatives which align more meaning to one.  Sure, cutting cable for 25 years can allow me to have $132,000 in the future.  But for what, to buy 27.5 years of cable television in the future?

Many see cable as a luxury and some see it as a waste, like in the link above.  But, the link above does not answer why it is a waste.  For me at this time, it’s a waste because television is a less engaged life.

Specifically, I think I will get more out of learning a new subject that interests me than watching an infinite stream of football games, pop culture, etc.

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