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DO YOU LIKE ANY THING?

If you answer ‘no’, welcome to the company of non-materialists whose members eschew unnecessary consumption. 

Socrates said “we should eat to live, not live to eat”.

Eating is necessary, but Epicureans eat abstemiously. Epicurus drank only water and ate with others.

Minimalists do without cars and clear their homes of clutter. In their view most products lack beauty, utility and real value. Conservation minded non-materialists believe acquiring things uses scarce resources and pollutes the environment.

Kaczinsky is opposed, violently, to industrial technology because it is created as a surrogate by inept technologists with corrupted goals. He is an extremist included here to show the anti-technology end of a spectrum. Train and plane spotters could be at the other.

Stoics are materially frugal because maintaining luxuries takes a lot of time. It is acceptable to enjoy wealth as long as one is careful not to cling to it.

According to stoic Marcus Aurelius:

‘Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.‘ 

For Marx and Engels, materialism meant that the material world, perceptible to the senses, has objective reality independent of mind or spirit. According to Hegel the world is to be comprehended not as composed of ready-made things but as a complex of processes, in which things apparently stable go through an uninterrupted change of coming into being and passing away. These socialists thought that things define the social order:

The master is in possession of a surplus of what is physically necessary; the servant lacks it, and indeed in such a way that the surplus and the lack of it are not accidental aspects but the indifference of necessary needs.

Things can have importance beyond objectivity. People have real affection for certain things and take good care of them. They are fond of the tools they use to make other things in crafts and arts.

Robert Persig cared for his motorbike, often taking it to pieces and reassembling it, the way people care for their horses. In his book The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance he demonstrates his Zen philosophy of ‘quality’ living, with care as a compromise between mechanical classicism and romantic spirituality. 

My book Time is Gold is a story about a marathon runner who tunes up her body and mind like a complex technology, in the Zen way, with her attention on goals and processes but not outcomes. When the thing is you, self-care causes liking. https:/martinknox.com

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