I’ve been reading the blog of No Impact Man for at least the last six months, and it’s been fascinating. Essentially it was a year long experiment in a man, his wife and toddler attempting to have zero environmental impact for a year. They learned a lot about happiness and the American way of life along the way and have some great insights. Their experiment just ended and they’re busy sticking their toes back in the water of popular culture again to see what’s there. Here’s an excerpt from their first disappointing foray out to the movies:
You know what it is? We never missed movies, per se. We never missed stuff. But there was still some kind of pull, and here’s what it was: wanting to have what other people around us had, wanting to do what they did, wanting to be where they were. In other words, it was, more or less, social anxiety.
If we get to do the things that other people do and have the things that other people have, that means we’re as loveable as everyone else. If we go the places they go, then we’re as cool and, therefore, again, loveable. Consumption has become a surrogate for being loved.
Instead of going and spending time with people we buy things or show up places like movies because the culture has sold us a bill of goods that says that this is what will make people love us.
How sad. So many of us are a bit lonely and need more human contact. We think the way to get it is to buy things. But really, if we want to be loved, what we we need is living rooms full of people instead of closets full of stuff. We need community. Isn’t that an important point? We could be happy without the stuff and without wrecking the planet. We just need to hang out more.
Read More: No Impact reentry and the lie of stuff
And if you want to read something beautiful, read his entry on entertaining their daughter without TV.