: The dojo example clinched it for me. I think I have to agree with you, when you put it like that.
Minor quibble : Isn’t that just a bit like the oily sales tricks that we see all around us? Do we really want to ensnare people, drag in folks against their (full) will? But like I said, that quibble is only minor : and after all, proponents of and masters in attainments far loftier than ERE have been known to resort to such “tricks” to snare in people : show them only one part of the picture at first, and then slowly draw them in, revealing more and more, bit by bit.
The elephant example was apt. Still, let’s not make ERE out to be more esoteric than it really is. I’ve not read the Book (yet), and correct me if I’m wrong, but its parts encompass no more than (in no specific order) : 1) Limiting expenditure ; 2) DIY and frugality ; 3) Non-consumerism ; 4) Shrewd investing ; 5) Setting up near-perpetual / lifetime passive income streams. That’s it, right? It’s quite common-sense wisdom, that, after all.
(But no, don’t bother answering—unless I’ve actually missed out or mixed up any of the steps there. Because I realize I’ve just enumerated trunk, tusks, torso, legs, and tail. And that the whole is indeed bigger than the parts. And that those who don’t see it, won’t see it, simple though it is once you do see it. Those like that fellow who wrote that hilarious book review you linked to—not, of course, that I’ve read the book myself yet, but still. So anyway, once more, your point taken.)
Devil’s Advocate gladly retracts this particular question : go plan your new halo-friendly haircut now! The question’s been answered to my full and entire satisfaction.
By the way, your sex ratio figures, the first set that is, I’d never have expected. My guess would have been no more than 35:65 at best, probably much less, certainly not 50+. Live and learn, live and learn! (Although of course, like you say, those figures are not current and far from conclusive, and the second set speaks a different story.)
And yes, that Chateaubriand quote was truly beautiful. I have no idea if Chateaubriand himself approached real greatness, or if he was one of those who, like Shakespeare, were prolific with words, and had the genius to have some of those words reach heights that were probably far loftier than their own—but the “art of living” he describes is many levels removed from ERE. In fact, that ideal (if you consider all of it, especially the mind-body part) has far less to do with external circumstance and activities than one’s inner development, and is more Zen-ish than ERE-ish, if you ask me. The what-you-do is less relevant to that kind of ideal than the who-does-it and how-he-does-it. Although yes, I have to say, “chopping wood, drawing water” sounds and feels much better than “guiding research, making final recommendation to investment committee”!
: Touché! No, I actually wasn’t aware of that term at all. It was very much fourth-quadrant stuff : something I didn’t know, and didn’t know that I didn’t know.
The FUM term reminds me of a sequence from a story I’d read long back. There’s this person who, towards the end of some unusual experiences, is contemplating getting rid of his “fortune”, his inherited pile which, though fairly small, nevertheless makes him financially independent. And there’s the first-person author trying to dissuade him. Among the many arguments he puts up, one is exactly your/C40’s FUM argument : This money allows you to tell anyone in the world to go to hell. To which the protagonist replies : But I don’t want to tell anyone in the world to go to hell. And if it so happened that I did want to tell someone to go to hell, then not having this money won’t stop me.
Not a point of view many can take, or should even attempt—should be left strictly to certified professionals and certified loons, like they caution—but food for thought, isn't it?
Re. the “google machine”, point taken—but only up to a point. See my reply to James, below. It is wearying and also unnecessary to carry a reference book to conversations (unless the conversation is overtly on technical subjects unfamiliar to one, in which case it’s either the google machine and reference book, or don’t go there at all, I’ll grant you that)—after all one of the many points of intelligent conversation is these little nuggets of trivial yet interesting things you get to know in the course of those conversations, without having to overtly seek them out, isn’t it? Also, in my profession jargon was/is so very endemic that any kind of jargon makes my stomach turn, and I resolutely refuse to pander to those who, for whatever reason, pepper their talk with jargon—not that I’m saying that’s the case here and now, in this particular thread, not even remotely, but just making a very general point about how I tend to look at other people’s talk, and approach conversation in general. And, well, conversation, conversing, we’re doing no more (and no less) than that here, are we, albeit online and hopefully not entirely unintelligently?
My long-suffering wife keeps telling me I have this wearying habit of killing the best of jokes by launching into a detailed analysis and pontificatory dialog around them (especially when my slow mind cannot think of a shorter and catchier/wittier come-back, which is often). My kids are too young to articulate such a complicated thought, but sometimes they look at me as if thinking that very same thing. Symptom of approaching middle age? Anyway, in deference to that sentiment of theirs (which you’ll doubtless start echoing in a minute unless I stop, if you haven’t already), I’ll not launch into a more detailed analysis of your little observation/joke.
: Hadn’t fully appreciated your quip last time round (see my exchange with Dragline). FUME’s cool (hot?)! Not just cool, but between them FUME and FIRE do cover the gamut of nuances that ERE respresents (with FUME perhaps the ‘better’ term, in the sense that it’s more general than FIRE, as Jacob had observed earlier—which observation, as well as Seneca’s subsequent comment, had left me just a bit mystified at that time).
Incidentally, just as an exercise in taking a 360-degree look at this business (and without necessarily having to agree with that point of view), you could check out that little story sequence in my comment to Dragline just above.
Jenny, it does seem that for many of us ERE has been less a revelation than an expression of our own inner thinking, concretized into full-bodied structure. That’s how it is with ideas “whose time has come”, I suppose.
: Retreating from the unending, ever-more-frenetic sensory barrage around us can be very soothing. My work required me to be available online literally 24/7, weekends included (some capital-rich places have quite different weekend days, you know), since I used to have to deal with multiple international teams and time-lines and in situations where practically every week we’d fight impossible deadlines and emergency situations, where ‘switching off’ was simply not an option. Not nice. But that was the deal, and we’d opted for it, in fact worked our asses off to get to it. Besides, the money was more than good. (And credit where it’s due, it was great fun to begin with and for quite some time after.) So I shan’t cavil at what was, but it lets me fully appreciate the luxury of my present retirement from sensory overload while it lasts.
What amazes me is how so many people willingly undergo this torture for free, actually pay for it, and what is more feel panicky and deprived when somehow removed from this torture even for short spaces. My non-contrarian doppelganger, I mean a friend of mine, had raised this issue in a thread here some days back. The way we compulsively ‘stay connected’ and stay enslaved to everything the Internet throws up (beyond the dictates of strict necessity and some reasonable indulgence) makes me think of a very fat man at a huge table overflowing with all kinds of food, stuffing himself with enormous quantities of every kind of food he can lay his hands on, replenishing his plate again and again and again, stuffing himself on and on, without stopping, without thinking, eyes glazed, on and on and on, endlessly. Not a pleasant picture, eh? Although strictly speaking this is less a money question than a time-and-effort-and-attention question, but the principle is the same : our Internet gluttony is exactly akin to the consumerist lifestyle that is the norm today. That’s one bugbear even our intrepid ERE troop doesn’t seem to have vanquished, or even challenged, thus far.