There was a sentence in the concluding chapter of “Buyology”, by Martin Lindstrom, that made me smile today. He commented that to avoid corporate branding, you would have to stock up on food, retreat to your hideaway, turn off your TV, disconnect your high speed internet connection, and not talk to anybody.
Yes, exactly. And here I am.
Speaking of branding, my friend Anna Farmery has a great podcast called “The Engaging Brand“, which originated in marketing but often leads into the question of what makes human beings tick. Anna has had some fascinating guests, and occasionally, in desperation, me, on the show. She asks great questions, and came up with a real corker in the comments on this blog the other day:
“As you know I am an avid reader as well – sometimes I wonder whether reading makes me think too deeply and complicate life or helps me distil life and make it simpler….when you are at sea you obviously have a huge amount of time to think, to listen to books etc…do you think that makes you make life more complicated or simpler when you are back on terra firma?”
Hmm. One of the attractions of coming out to sea in the first place was the hope that it would give me the time and space to think. On the Atlantic I didn’t have audiobooks, so all the thinking had to originate in my own head, or from comments on my blog. And I duly did do a lot of thinking – a lot of it rather self-absorbed, but I had to get my own house in order (or at least clear out some of the clutter) before I could start thinking about wider issues. By the time I reached Antigua after 103 days at sea, I reckoned I’d figured out a few things, partly from books that I’d read in the few months before I set out, and partly ideas that just came up from inside me.
After the Atlantic I was concerned that I might have taken my own thoughts about as far as I could without outside assistance, so that is where the audiobooks came in. Over the years I’ve gained so much from books, both in print and in audio. Truly the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of giants. People recently have mentioned “Conversations With God” and “Ishmael”, both of which were very formative for me, as was “The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight”. The bits that resonated with me have duly been incorporated into my worldview. (There is a list of my favourite books here).
I suppose that, paradoxically, I do all this mind-bending reading and thinking in the hope of arriving at an ultimate simplicity. What I’m really trying to do is to distill all this input into a crystal clear vision of a happy and sustainable future – both for me individually and for humans collectively – that I can then do my best make a reality.
So, Anna, to try and answer your question: the reading and thinking serves my overall life purpose, and having a strong life purpose makes everyday life very simple. If something will help further that purpose, I do it. If it doesn’t, I don’t. Priorities become very clear.
And, incidentally, simplicity is also at the heart of the happy and sustainable future that I envision, so the simplicity crops up on two different levels. First, the single-minded pursuit of anything makes life simpler, and second, simplicity also happens to be the thing that I am pursuing.
Errr, does that make sense?! Great question – certainly got me thinking! Looking forward to discussing further over a cold beverage next time I am in Yorkshire. In fact, it might take several bevvies to really get to the bottom of the question….!
Today was a good day at Purple Palisades. I covered over 50 nautical miles, more than making up for the devastating minus-twenty the other night. I also improved the repair on the electrical system, and now have much more confidence in its ability to continue functioning. The only bad news is that I can’t find the spare recharger for the Xacti waterproof camera, so from now on I will have to rely solely on the GoPro cameras, and they’re pretty basic. And in the search for the recharger, I found that my laptop bag, despite being inside a supposedly waterproof outer bag, is going mouldy. Something to deal with when conditions calm down.
Thanks for all the great suggestions on how to warm up my feet. Ummm, I suppose this brings home the point that it is important to ask the right question if you want to get the right answer! I really want to know how to keep my feet warm while I am rowing. Once I’m in my cabin I’m fine, and once I’m in my sleeping bag I’m even finer. The problem is while I’m still out on deck – and that goes tenfold for the North Atlantic next year. Mind you, it did make me smile to picture myself trying to lie on my back and cycle my legs while simultaneously rowing – that really would be a challenge of coordination!
Bruce – I loved what you wrote (in connection with the hereafter) about all living creatures sharing a common connection to each other. Everything is, indeed, connected. I somehow feel the need to include rocks in the web of connection too, even though they are not conventionally “alive”. What do you think?
Happy Birthday to UncaDoug for June 16th. We won’t ask how old! 🙂
Photo: Arriving Antigua March 2006, a changed Roz after 103 days at sea.
Sponsored Miles: Richard Miller, Eric Anderson, Larry Grandt – with grateful thanks for their support.