“Home” is a funny/complex word. But I’m pretty sure that’s where I am. There is a big shift in the flow of life, I’ll write a little on that.
Each way of life has it’s complexities and simplicities. Here, it’s easy to have a shower, everything is always dry (if it’s left inside), there is effectively infinite electricity, there is always a shop, nobody will come and tell me I can’t sleep here, the kettle boils water so simply/quickly, and so much space.
Yet it also comes with a lot of complexities. There are so many options for what to do. Just now I was kind of baffled wondering what to do with this little slice of time before eating dinner. I got kind of overwhelmed with the options. Should I start organising the stuff I want to give away. Sort my collection of old hard drives out. Prepare an old computer for use. Write to some people. Clean more of my camping gear. Go for a walk. Listen to music. How to choose?
I choose to read a book (I’m on “Less is more” by Jason Hickel), and it was talking about the GDP as a measure gone wrong. Never meant to be the sole focus for humanity. All these wonderful things that fall outside of the GDP. Walking with friends, foraging mushrooms, cook and eat together having lovely conversation, laugh, and go to sleep with a smile. Means 0 for GDP. GDP would prefer you go to a restaurant. Even if alone. The economic growth imperative already existed, but GDP supercharged it by making a simple measure.
Then I thought how much this impacts everything. Schools are busy and hectic, every time I hear from people who work in the school environment I’m shocked. People have to work way beyond their contracted hours. So many measures and assessments. High drop out rate. It’s a mess. Yet the people are full of passion and probably know exactly what needs to be done.
Initially I would not see how this GDP growth imperative is fueling this. I’m talking about state schools in the UK, people aren’t paying fees. But it does. I probably can’t say exactly how, and will supply no references, but just my musings. There is only so much time that people have, and so much of that is directed towards more profitable areas. The schools could probably make use of the time of 2 or 3 times the number of people that are currently available with the economic logic. And they would find it rewarding and deeply fulfilling. But instead we have endless nonsense jobs (or the term “bullshit jobs” from David Graeber).
The growth imperative means we put the minimum possible labour towards education that will get the job done, not according to what we might imagine education is for, but what the wider economy demands. The economy has no interest in creating liberated and fulfilled people, but just fulfilling what is needed. Some people to lead. Some people to innovate. And a lot of people to slog away doing stuff they hate but feel they have no other choice.
OK, could go on and on about that, but I’m kind of shocked how little these driving forces behind the organising of society are understood by those in the thick of it. So many work environments are just firefighting, and lives are just keeping head above water. No time to ponder this stuff, and it wouldn’t even be clear what anyone would do next anyway.
So I thought maybe I can write more about that! I’ve come to really enjoy a very personal perspective from people. Rather than the The Big Narrative, with some neat solutions, more the raw mess of our many realities. Wondering how these topics actually touch our day to day lives. Which includes me wondering what to do with a couple of hours of my evening.
I don’t want to set the idea in concrete, but I think I’ll possibly consider trying to maybe evolve this blog into an ongoing blog about thoughts as I progress through life here. Maybe it can even still be “Nick’s Travels”, as it’s kind of a form of travelling… just through a different kind of space.
Back to the starting topic, I do miss some of the simplicities of the bike trip life. This background task of cycling closer towards my target, interspersed with practical tasks that normally have to be done right away, and then the spaces in between for dreaming/wondering/etc. And with the stuff topic, I still had quite a lot of stuff on the trip, but also an amount where I could keep track of it all (most of the time). In a house (especially this family house I’m in with a long history) the amount of stuff is kind of overwhelming, and far bigger than I can keep in my head.
It seems necessary to jump to the meta-level to think of strategies for dealing with stuff first. Categories. Methods. Systems. And then to implement them. That seems complicated. It makes me think it’s a very good idea to be very careful with incoming stuff.
This post is becoming a bit of a stream of consciousness! It’s probably accurately reflecting my more complicated mental state now. I think it’s a good time to close it though, after finding a picture for it.