Archive for the ‘escapism’ Category

National Debt — Boomer Legacy?

June 21, 2007

Recently in my listening this track has struck me as being somehow related to the frugalist mindset.

Papa’s faith is people
Mama she believes in cleaning
Papa’s faith is in people
Mama she’s always cleaning
Papa brought home the sugar
Mama taught me the deeper meaning

Thoughts about this?

Since I’m not a baby boomer, I won’t list the artist, but you can check out her extraordinary fan website here. It includes tons of cool stuff like all the alternate guitar tunings for her songs, full lyrics, art, etc. As fan sites go it is stunningly competent, thorough, and useful.

Speaking of boomers — Ken Wilber (shudder?) has an interesting book called Boomeritis. One of the premises is that boomers eat their young. Highly pertinent regarding parenting we’ve observed. The book itself might be okay if it was the first of his you’ve read, but otherwise is mind-numbingly repetitive. Still, the guy obviously knows a lot and has lots of interesting ideas. Beware of New Age sentiments. To be fair, he is as critical of New Age marketing as the next skeptic.

If you’re in a reading type of mood, have bent toward social commentary, I highly recommend this book by Christopher Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism. A lot of it relates directly to spending habits, consumerism, current trends in helicopter parenting (eternal hovering). I just did a search on this site. I am dumbfounded that I’ve not mentioned this before. Dumbfounded.

My dad (depression-era generation) driving in parking lot: “Okay, here we go.”
“Look at this, crikey. It’s a very interesting phenomenon. The me-generation in action. Look at them.”
The couple in front of us are wandering through the parking lot in front of traffic, seemingly oblivious to their holding it up.
“It’s a fascinating phenomenon. Other people simply don’t exist!”

My dad is, as he likes to put it, “a trained social scientist.” So he does have a frame of reference in his observations. Not sure I’ve connected all the dots here. One thought is that when the baby boomers are gone, it’s possible that the cycle of debt slavery at the personal and national levels, if it hasn’t collapsed already, will begin to subside.

Another thought is that with the boomer parenting in evidence, living without limits and incurring debts as ways of being in the world are actually going to get worse. Bummer. Must think good thoughts!


10 Entertainments On the Cheap

June 8, 2007

A budget can be a bit of a constraint. It takes some time to wear one in. Here are some ideas to entertain yourself whether the money’s running thin or walking tall.

  1. Make a paper wallet. There are so many ways to go geeky with this. Wrapping paper. Graph paper. You could actually write and track your cash expenses on the actual wallet. If you love stationery you might already know about this nutty website. Lots of fun stuff. You could print some of it out and make a wallet out of that. Go wild.
  2. Feeling like your life is too cluttered up? Have a glance at this image, and take a deep breath. Perhaps meditate on it. This is a veritable visual symphony on consumerism.
  3. Another one from Stumble. Spot a lie! It’s fun, but I wouldn’t take the conclusions this person draws too seriously. Any time you make rules about human behavior you’re just asking for it.
  4. Meditate. Learn from a very credible meditation teacher. He’ll even has a format for keeping a meditation journal. And he’ll respond to your journal. So much of what is written about this practice is second-hand at best. This guy is the real deal.
  5. For goodness sake get away from the computer. Take a walk. Go for a swim. Ha.
  6. After your lungs have been stretched a little and you’ve rinsed the salt water out of your hair, settle down into a comfortable chair and read a great essay. Make a fresh cup of coffee.
  7. Take care of your brain. Part of what’s nice about meditation is that occasionally it can take you out of verbal thinking mode. Just for a moment. If you’re fretting about budgeting and how to squeeze a nickel and reading how-to lists, I think it’s fairly safe to say, both as an average joe and a pscyhotherapist that you have a tendency to get lost in verbal mode. You drive along and remember nothing about the scenery, swept away by cognition. This can have the effect of actually disconnecting you from reality. (Fixed, false belief equals delusional.) While distinctions about what is right-brain and what is left-brain are usually facile and oversimplified there are some general rules that tend to hold. You can use right-brain activities to interrupt the rabid click click clicking of the calculating left brain. So paint a picture. Scribble in a notebook. Listen to music. Open a jar of cloves, close your eyes and take a deep breath. The left brain gets a lot of press in our culture. It’s the bean counter. The planner. Give it a break.
  8. Go to a museum on free admission day. If you live in New York City check out the Frick. I love that place.
  9. Lost for words? Are you needing to kick that left brain into gear? Try this random word generator.
  10. Bury yourself in the delightful arcana of the rational scientific worldview. This is its own peculiar form of escapism.