Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Local Grouch Only One Who Knows

I'm grouchy and impatient today, working on a longer essay that is coming slowly, and which I'm not sure is entirely creditable. Meanwhile, I've torn my drawing technique apart, trying to get a more painterly style. It's more painterly, but it's clumsier and takes longer (it should be quicker and give me better likenesses). People on the street and in authority seem stupid, and bent on frustrating anything besides the conventions that are stampeding us to the abyss. Inanimate objects seem to have sinister agendas, and I feel clumsy and incompetent.

I’m posting a scan of a cartoon by Michael Phillips from the Summer, 1977 issue of CoEvolution Quarterly. The theme for that issue was “voluntary simplicity,” and these three panels became a beacon for me. I e-mailed Phillips, asking for permission, but he didn’t get back to me. Probably an oversight.

The panels say, “The first year of ecology I changed my spending. More services and less products. I got Rolfed, saw a psychiatrist and hired a gardener.” "The Rolfer, the psychiatrist, and the gardener then bought summer homes at Lake Tahoe." "The second year I saved my money at Citizen's Savings." "Then I found out Citizen's is the biggest lender on condominiums at Lake Tahoe." "The third year I gave the money I didn't spend to my church." "Now they're building a retirement home at Lake Tahoe." "I know what to do now." "I'm reducing my income."

In modern language, your income determines your carbon footprint. Scary. A well meaning westerner has a choice between hypocrisy and marginalization. Blessed Saint Garrett Hardin, pray for us.

Decades later, I’ve thought of an exception. If you could divert a large income to developing a just and sustainable world, the large income is okay, but that itself is a vocation, and skimming is cheating.

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