Things of value

What things are required for a pleasant life? Here are my answers.

– optimum health;
– as much free time as possible;
– a few dependable friendships;
– an appreciation of your existing surroundings (which can be enhanced through the basic study of astronomy, botany, architecture, culture, aesthetics, psychology, etc);
– sensual pleasure;
– the confidence to speak your mind in public (and a culture that won’t cause you problems when you do);
– purposeful and purposeless intellectual stimulation;
– a satisfying creative output, in which you have personal pride;
– a clean and dignified living space;
– a modicum of peer recognition;
– some good habits to be proud of;
– few dependencies;
– few secrets.

Not many of these things are commercially available.

This is not an attempt at fabricating a mawkish, real-meaning-of-Christmas-style consolation prize. This is what I’ve found, so far, to be true.

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About

Robert Wringham is a humorist and the editor-in-chief of New Escapologist.

9 Responses to “Things of value”

  1. Mark Garner says:

    I couldn’t agree more to all these things.

    Point 4 has just reminded me of a blog I wrote for a little while called “Faceless Housing Estate in a Characterless City Diary”, which aimed to ape the Guardian’s Country Diary column but set in an apparently dull and uninspiring urban landscape. It started as a kind of joke but soon had me appreciating my landscape in new ways. I failed to keep up with the blog, (I’ve just had to Google it to find it) but I have continued to appreciate my environment in new ways.

    Recently, I’ve taken to photographing the esoteric parts or buildings of my (often thoroughly unloved) home city that hold some special resonance, history or beauty for me. I now send my photos and thoughts off to a friend in China. If one can’t change the local environment, one can always learn to find (often subversive) ways of appreciating it!

  2. That’s the ticket. What you say about changing the environment versus learning to appreciate it, is exactly the point. The recent ‘supermoon’ was my inspiration for writing that down. I found it breathtaking and it completely dissolved my natural sneering cynicism. If we know how to recognise a constellation or a particular kind of city brick masonry, or a kind of tree based on its leaf, we don’t need to supplement our surroundings with paid-for tat.

  3. Mark Garner says:

    Yes, I think that the process of asking questions and finding out ‘what that tree / building is’ can be inspiring. It reminds us to stay alert, keep asking questions, and otherwise be alive. I’m lucky enough that I can walk to work and engage with the real world on the way. If I had to drive to commute, that window of opportunity, that small and temporary “escape” at least would be lost to me.

  4. SMD says:

    Amen, Rob. Love the list. I’d perhaps add the pleasure of knowing that one’s life is in some way improving that of others, and vice-versa. The wonderful web of interdependency and the rich relationships it fosters!

  5. Others? Fuck ’em, I say. (Just kidding. I agree absolutely.) I hope all’s hunky-dory. x

  6. Tony says:

    a great list Robert 🙂

  7. […] This is a fine piece found on New Escapologist. […]

  8. […] seek in seeking the good life (it is a far better refined and universal version of what we said here). Meanwhile, their suggestions in the final chapter are designed to nudge society in the direction […]

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