March 21, 2005

The Simple Life

My friend Rick Saenz has recently posted quite a few thought-provoking essays about "living the simple life"; I commend them to you.

Rich reminds me of something Uncle Screwtape says to his nephew Wormwood, which unfortunately I cannot quote because my copy of The Screwtape Letters has wandered off. Screwtape says, in effect, that there was a time when men knew fairly well whether a thing was true or not; and that if you proved to them that they were mistaken, they would change both their beliefs and their behavior accordingly. I think Rick exemplifies that latter phrase better than anyone I know--he's changed his beliefs and his behavior both in the time that I've known him several times, and has pursued the logical end of his beliefs with vigor and apparent fearlessness. He's ended in a place that might seem alien to many of us, but I've learned never to discount the things he finds important.

Over the last few years, Rick and his family have sought the simple life by moving to the country and starting a family business--and that's just the tip of the iceberg. But where Rick's been something of a rolling stone, I'm a well-rooted tree, both in my home (I'm raising my four children in the house in which my parents raised me and my three siblings) and my career (I've been at JPL for almost two decades). The challenge for me, then, is how to seek the simple life here, in my current home, in my current job, without seeking more fertile soil elsewhere. On the other hand, though it hasn't generally been my goal to lead a simple life many of the things Rick says resonate with things that we're already doing--or, as it might be, not doing. I'm curious to discover the extent to which I'm already leading a simple life. I've clearly got some thinking to do.

Posted by Will Duquette at March 21, 2005 10:18 PM