There's a kind of satisfaction and peace that comes from challenging ones self to live outside the box when the motivation to do so is urging you to do so while the world around you is going, "Huh?! First, this book is a fun and pleasant read. One follows with interest the journeys both physical and psychological traversed by Eric Brende and his young wife from the germination of his idea to delve into the life of the technologically-averse community of the so-called "Minimites," through his present-day situation living in the St.
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Second, those few who carp that Brende did not let go completely of all technological devices particularly his car miss the point of his experiment. At no point did Brende state that he would be a Luddite who renounced anything more current than the 19th century.
He makes it quite clear that he wanted to explore the aspects of life that we have lost by adapting our lives to a society virtually overwhelmed with technology. In this endeavor he is entirely successful. He acknowledges that there are many technological advances which have benefited us all, and which we should embrace as improving our lives immensely.
But what he also discovers is the need to examine the extent to which we have allowed ourselves to become so dependent on machines and technology as to have forfeited a great deal of our own humanity. He and his wife discover the numerous benefits which accrue with the deliberate elimination of many expensive and burdensome devices that clutter our lives, but for which we rarely if ever question the need. Many of us want to simplify our lives and enjoy more time with our family and friends.
Brende shows us how. The beauty of his book is that one can use it to merely work on a few small areas of life, or go "whole hog" and dive into the full life-changing experience which he and his wife pursued. The choice is up to the individual reader. After getting degrees from Yale, Washburn University, and MIT, receiving a Citation of Excellence from the National Science Foundation and a graduate fellowship from the Mellon Foundation, Brende, with his wife Mary, left everything "motorized" and spent eighteen months in a primitive remote community.
In pointing out the distinction between the tool and the automatic machine, he sums up his experience of this period. Machines are "complex fuel-consuming entities. These in turn crowd out other important human pursuits, like involvement in family and community, or even the process of thinking itself. His experience makes a good case for living with fewer machines and becoming more skillful at taking a simpler approach to fulfilling our needs.
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