A Modest Proposal to Save The World (and the secret of happiness)

October 4th, 2010 § 0 comments

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

I keep talking about saving the human race on this blog, and I realize that a certain number of you don’t really realize what that means.

So, I figured I’d explain.

You see, the way we’re living isn’t sustainable for two reasons:

1. We’re very unhappy.

2. We’re destroying the planet.

One of the main reasons that I’m so into minimalism, is it solves both of these problems.

Why your friends are unhappy.

Someone emailed me the other day and asked “do you really think people live the way you describe?” Meaning Hummer-driving TV-watching coca-cola-sucking dumb people that I talk about all the time.

YES! They do. In fact, most people are living this way in America right now. The average TV watched by Americans is 35 hours a week. That’s like a second job dedicated entirely to a medium which convinces you to buy stuff.

On the TV you see happy smiling faces walking out of the mall with three bags stuffed full of junk, and you think you’re supposed to act this way.

Now, obviously you don’t live this way, but your friends do, right?

The problem with mass consumerism.

The thing about this whole equation is that buying a lot of stuff radically decreases your ability to be a happy person.

When you buy stuff in order to be happy, you get addicted to the little jolts of adrenaline you get when you drop $259 on a pair of shoes. Then you go home and realize you already have seventy pairs of shoes and you start to feel sad immediately. So you jump back into your human wheel pod and drive back to the mall to drop more money on shoes, instantly feel happy, until you drive home again.

Repeat and repeat and repeat. It’s the endless cycle of consumerism, and it’s why your friends are on anti-depressants.

How did we get here?

The TV was the ONLY way to get information short of reading actual books and going to college before the Internet. Television studios make more money when they put more ads that convince you to buy more stuff in between their shows. This makes you want to buy more shoes, because OMG you absolutely must dress like SJP <– who is being paid to wear the clothes you see her on the television wearing.

Most magazines are supported by the same consumerist craptastic situation.

In fact, magazines were invented to sell you crap by balancing valuable information with brief psychological stimulation that will make you want to run out to Louis Vuitton and drop your monthly salary on a handbag.

It’s all crap, and you know it. This is why you’re reading this blog, because you need someone to tell you that the televised life you imagined yourself having was a joke from the beginning.

You’ve been conned into trying to live like the cast of Friends, when in reality you’d be much happier not buying stuff.

How to cancel the apocalypse.

Alright, so the world is coming to an end. We’ve burnt our way through so much oil that the only way we can get more is to occupy foreign countries and kill millions of people in order to keep the price of oil down.

Yes this is true. I know they don’t tell you that it’s true on the news, but the news just wants you to keep watching so you’ll buy more crap during the commercial breaks. This leads to the news concentrating on stories such as how you might get mugged if you go outside your house or leave your car, what Obama wore to work today, and the stock marketing going up and down instead of dealing with real issues.

Believe me, you won’t die in a gunfight in the hood. You’re going to die from boredom, depression, and on the highway when you get sideswiped by an SUV. Go ahead and google “most common ways to die.” Believe me, they involve driving and sitting on your butt too much.

The Internet changed how information flowed on a fundamental level. If you turn off the garbage on your TV, you’ll start to realize that the world is more than what they told you on the radio.

Where your TV needs to go.

Take your TV up on your roof, and drop it off. Trust me, you’ll feel much better after that.

Don’t forget to first look down to make sure no one is going to get hurt when you drop your TV.

Unless your car is parked down there, then I give you permission to just go ahead and drop it.

This doesn’t mean you can’t download a TV show that you really want to watch. I’m downloading the season premiere of Dexter right now. But you know what? I paid for it so that I don’t have to watch the ads. I actually want to watch Dexter, because I actually like the show. I’m not just mindlessly sitting on the coach for 35 hours a week wondering why there’s nothing on besides infomercials.

Your happiness is in direct harmony with the happiness of the entire human race.

Despite the fact that my girlfriend just broke up with me a few weeks ago, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Why? Because I have a simple uncluttered schedule that allows me to pursue important things in my life.

The Everett Bogue happy schedule:

Here’s what I do with most days…

I wake up, and make a fruit smoothie.

I go get a coffee and write stuff.

I hang out in the park if it’s a nice day and watch cute San Francisco girls and boys walk by.

I eat something that tastes good and is somewhat healthy.

I go practice yoga at Yoga to the People in San Francisco.

I go grab a beer and write a little more, or meet up with friends.

I go home and sleep with a smile on my face.

I know, it’s not much of a schedule. There’s no running around like a crazy person or frantically cursing out people as I commute two hours to work in order to sit at a desk for 8 hours a day. To some of you this might even seem kind of boring, but believe me, it’s not.

The secret of happiness.

Happiness comes from working towards mastery in a subject you’re passionate about. Sitting at a desk is NOT working towards mastery, it’s working in slavery while your spinal column degrades before you’re old enough to enjoy your 401K.

Writing challenges me. Yoga challenges me. Drinking coffee or beer makes me smile. It’s a simple daily schedule that really rocks my world, no matter what happens. This schedule is not dependent on vast amounts of wealth to sustain it. In fact, it doesn’t really matter how much money I’m making. Coffee costs less than $2, and I can’t drink more than two cups a day without going insane. Yoga is only $10 (and it’s donation based, so if I happened to be starving I could still go.) I might have a burrito for lunch and that’s only $6. The fruit for my smoothie probably cost around $5.

Being happy doesn’t need to cost a lot of money.

But instead you’re told that you need a 5-bedroom house. You need to get a new car every two years. You need to pursue a career, and in order to do that you need permission from a University. If you can’t get a job after you graduate, they insist that maybe you just need to go back again for grad school. Still can’t figure out what you want to do with your life? Well, you could always get a P.H.D.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that neurologists have to study a lot before they operate on people. However, you’re honestly not going to learn how to write better while you’re pursuing your doctorate in creative writing. You’ll learn to write better by writing, and that doesn’t cost anything.

Most people just want to write stuff and do Yoga, right? Well, whatever you’re into, you’re into doing that, and not into listening to someone tell you what to do. Believe it or not, doing what you want to do doesn’t have to cost a whole bunch of money.

Saving the world can also make you healthier.

I realize that burritos and beer isn’t the ideal diet for a slim fit body, and yet I only weigh 160 pounds? How can I possibly be so slim and fit and yet enjoy life so much?

Well, the answer is that I don’t own a car and I spend my entire life in the world instead of sitting at a desk. In fact, I don’t even OWN a desk.

Believe it or not, walking all over the place really is the secret to weight loss. That and understanding that the television conned you into buying pre-packaged foods that are made out of hi-fructose corn syrup.

This is why everyone in San Francisco, Portland, and New York is so freakin’ hot. It’s because in these cities we have to walk everywhere, and no one owns a car or a TV. I’m sure someone will email me saying that all of the hotties move to the cities, but I don’t think that’s true at all.

Living without a car and a TV makes you attractive.

If you eat only food made out of whole ingredients, such as fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, etc, you’ll be much healthier. I hear grains (especially refined ones) are bad for you, so I won’t recommend them. Most food you buy in the center of the supermarket is corn that’s been turned into goop and made to look like a food, when it’s really just a sugar lollipop. Cereal is a lollipop. Microwave dinners are a lollipop. McDonalds makes the soup they turn into burgers and milkshakes out of meal worms. Your friends are fat because they’re eating lollipops disguised as food, and meal worms delivered through a drive-through window. Oh, and they have cars. (By meal worms I mean corn mixed with meat that smart people would refuse to eat.)

Eat food. Mostly vegetables. Destroy your TV. Destroy your car.

Move somewhere where people are actually happy and can walk places like San Francisco.

Yes, I know you’re going to email and say that San Francisco wouldn’t be so happy if everyone lived here, because it’d be too crowded. But you know what? If everyone moved out of LA because they didn’t want to sit in traffic for 3 hours every day, LA would get a whole lot more walkable a whole lot faster and more people would want to live there.

So don’t email me arguing that we can’t change the world, instead take your TV and… you know the drill (if you skipped to this part, go back up and read “what to do with your TV.” Then do what I told you to do, trust me, you’ll be happier than you’ve ever been in your entire life.)

How does this save the world?

Happiness comes when we bring ourselves into harmony with our environment. When we has human beings are in harmony with our environment, we generally stop destroying it.

The TV and your car are taking you in the wrong direction. You need a car because you live in a place where you cannot be in harmony with your environment. You need a TV to entertain you because living where you’re living with a car is making you unhappy.

You’re unhappy because you sit in a car all day, and then come back and sit on your couch all night, which makes you want to buy a new car because you think it will make you happy. Really you’re just wasting thousands of dollars on a piece of metal that isolates you from the world — and thus happiness. When you spend 20-grand on a car, you have to work a gazillion hours to pay that off.

The world is unhappy because you have to work a gazillion hours to pay off your car.

The only solution is to stop driving, stop buying, stop watching TV, sell your crap, and start living your life.

The fate of your universe is in your hands. Will you take this opportunity to fix it?


If you want to save the human race, there’s a very cool opportunity available right now. Karol Gajda convinced a whole bunch of us authors to package all of our ebooks together for the low price of $27. So, if you ever wanted to read every single book from Smalltopia to The Luxury of Less, now is the time to act (before Oct 7.) The Art of Being Minimalist is in the package, along with 10+ other books. Check out the details here.

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