may 2012

the nearing's good life

Reading:

The Good Life:
Helen and Scott Nearing's Sixty Years of Self-Sufficient Living


by Helen and Scott Nearing
Schocken Books, New York 1989

'We left the city with three objectives in mind. The first was economic. We sought to make a depression-free living, as independent as possible of the commodity and labour markets, which could not be interfered with by employers, whether business-men, politicians or educational administrators. Our second aim was hygienic. We wanted to maintain and improve our health. We knew that the pressures of city life were exacting, and we sought a simple basis of well-being where contact with the earth, and home-grown organic food, would play a large part. Our third objective was social and ethical. We desired to liberate and dissociate ourselves, as much as possible, from the cruder forms of exploitation: the plunder of the planet; the slavery of man and beast; the slaughter of men in war, and of animals for food.

We were against the accumulation of profit and unearned income by non-producers, and we wanted to make our living with our own hands, yet with time and leisure for avocational pursuits. We wanted to replace regimentation and coercion with respect for life. Instead of exploitation, we wanted a use economy. Simplicity should take the place of multiplicity, complexity and confusion. Instead of the hectic mad rush of busyness we intended a quiet pace, with time to wonder, ponder and observe. We hoped to replace worry, fear and hate with serenity, purpose and at-one-ness.'

Introduction, pp. 4-5