Skip to content

There is Some Weight Behind this Homesteading Trend

My Thoughts On The Quest of the Simple Life by W.J. Dawson

  • a modern self-help book written in a non modern time (1905)
  • w.j. dawson's flight from london
  • a chapter in the book is dedicated to a clapback letter and his response to said clapback. i appreciated both.
  • ive recently picked up a copy of sun and steel (i havent read it yet). i think dawson, murakami (what i talk about when i talk about running), and mishima might get along (despite their very different political inclinations)
  • dawson is a master of turn of phrase incl.:

"The marooned seaman saves his sanity by cutting notches in a stick, the solitary prisoner by friendship with a mouse; and when life is reduced to the last exiguity of narrowness, the interests of life will be narrow too. No writer, whose work is familiar to me, has ever yet described with unsparing fidelity the kind of misery which lies in having to do precisely the same things at the same hour, through long and consecutive periods of time. The hours then become a dead weight which oppresses the spirit to the point of torture. Life itself resembles those dreadful dreams of childhood, in which we see the ceiling and the walls of the room contract round one's helpless and immobile form. Blessed is he who has variety in his life: thrice blessed is he who has both freedom and variety: but the subordinate toiler in the vast mechanism of a great city has neither. He will sit at the same desk, gaze upon the same unending rows of figures, do, in fact, the same things year in and year out till his youth has withered into age."

"It would seem that the anxieties of getting money only beget the more torturing anxiety of how to keep it."

"I define doing good as the fulfilment of our best instincts and faculties for the best use of mankind; but I do not expect that the Good Earnest People will accept this definition. They would find it much too catholic, simply because they have learned to attach a specialised meaning to the phrase ‘doing good,’ which limits it to some form of active philanthropy. If they would but allow a wider vision of life to pass before the eye, they would see that there are many ways of doing good besides those which satisfy their own ideals....It is a singular thing that men find it very difficult to live lives of charity without cherishing uncharitable tempers towards those who do not live precisely as they themselves do. For instance, the busy philanthropist, nobly eager to bring a little happiness into the grey lives of the disinherited, often has the poorest opinion of artists and novelists, who appear to him to live useless lives. But when Turner paints a picture like the Fighting Temeraire Towed to Her Last Berth (below), which is destined to stir generous thoughts in multitudes of hearts long after his death: or when Scott writes novels which have increased the sum of human happiness for a century, is not each doing good of the rarest, highest, and most enduring kind?"

The Fighting Temeraire - Wikipedia
  • i think simon sarris is a modern version of w.j. dawson
  • i wish i was a bit more self-sustaining, i don't think i could hack it out at walden pond, i lack the backbone or physical constitution!
  • fwiw, i do live the digital equivalent of walden, working consistently on a blog as opposed to posting on social media is the online equivalent of moving to a cottage in the country and handling all the gardening, harvesting etc, for my own satisfaction
  • takeaway questions:
    • how big do you live? can you scale that back?
    • how much do you know about the area you live in?
    • how close is your relationship to nature? what about nature scares you?
    • is it selfish to work on yourself?
    • what is your balance between mind and body? are you serving one, or both? or neither?

modern people i was reminded of reading this book

simon sarris
Isabel Paige
Video’s delen met vrienden, familie en de rest van de wereld
Gold Shaw Farm
Gold Shaw Farm is a farm in Peacham, VT. More accurately, it’s not really a farm yet. Founded by Morgan Gold and Allison Ebrahimi Gold in 2016, Gold Shaw Farm is more of a farm-in-progress than an honest-to-goodness farm. Our dream is that someday we are able to make our 158 acre parcel of land a regenerative and productive homestead/farm. To get there, it’s going to take a lot of work on our part. Our YouTube channel chronicles the journey of getting there for our friends, family and community.