Great article, must read. Skip the rat race. Choose life.
Morris Berman talks about "becoming a 'New Monastic Individual'—someone who breaks away from the mass dream and starts living his or her own life."
I never felt freer than the seven years I spent as an expatriate in Asia. The independence I gained over there, especially in thought, almost ensured that I could never live a "normal" or conventional life ever again. Running a small business is the perfect way to live for your own beliefs, not working for the man—working for yourself.
Be the architect of your life. Choose happy.
"One of America’s worst crimes, according to cultural historian and social critic Morris Berman, is the cultivation of a “culture of hustling.” Hustling—the surrender of everything to market forces and the sacrifice of life to consumer culture—is an energizing and often enriching enterprise, but it is ultimately empty, depressing, and destructive.
Berman’s previous books, The Twilight of American Culture, Dark Ages America, and Why America Failed, take the unpopular but persuasive view that the American empire is in freefall with no hope for recovery. But in his latest book, Spinning Straw Into Gold, he explains how he escaped this tedium of 'unnecessary' and 'stupid' pursuits and found meaning, purpose, and peace in his life by retiring to Mexico after years of working in academia at the University of New Mexico, the University of Victoria in British Columbia, and more.
The book eschews self-help clichés, and doesn’t presume to teach you to be happy. I spoke with Berman over email about embracing a reality that includes sadness, escaping poisonous American values, and how to stop obsessing over results and accept pleasure as it comes."
"The tipoff for me is somatic. Whenever a project comes to me, one that is right, that is genuine, I feel a kind of “shiver” in my body, and that tells me that it corresponds to something very deep in me, and that I need to pursue it. That has been my guide with literally every book I wrote. Trusting this kind of visceral reaction means that you are willing to let life “come and get you.” It means who you are is defined from the inside, not the outside. In terms of what’s really important, we don’t have much choice, and that’s as it should be. The decision is made by a larger energy or unconscious process, and when it’s right, you know it… Goethe wrote: “Man errs as long as he strives.” Sit still, meditate, just let the answer arise from the body. (It may take a while.)"
"Most of us don’t realize how the corporate-commercial-consumer-militarized-hi-tech-surveillance life has wrapped its tentacles around our throats, and is squeezing the life out of us. We merge with “our” narrative so as to have some measure of safety in our lives; but what if it’s a death-oriented narrative? (Usually it’s some version of the American Dream, which is the life of a hamster on a treadmill.)"
"Awareness is the process of becoming transparent to yourself. You start to see through your programming, and the programming imposed by your culture."