Tom Hodgkinson: voor een andere kijk op De Dingen.

This as a book about good living and at its heart is a simple truth: when you embrace lady Liberty, life becomes easier, cheaper and much more fun.

Idleness for me is synonymous with freedom. To be idle is to unify what has been split up.

The commercial world, then, treats us like celebrities. ‘Because you’re worth it’ it says. It flatters and kowtows to us and keeps on doing so right up until the moment we hand over our creditcard details. They we are cast aside and condemned to a purgatory of being held in a queue on a customer service line for all eternity. What fools we are.

Everywhere, the same myth is perpetuated. you are just one object away from happiness. A cd, a donation, an inscurance policy, a holiday, another credit card, a better job, a faster car… How man times we are disappointed by the failure this myth to bring us satisfaction, we keep coming back for more. We feed the hand that bites us.

Anxiety is the sacrifice of creativity in the service of security. It is the giving up of personal freedoms in return for the promise, never fulfilled, of comfort, cotton wool, airconditioned shopping centers.  Security is a myth, it simply does not excist. This does not stop us, however, from constantly chasing it.

And very depressing it is that women, too, have fallen for the career myth. ‘My career is very important to me’ say the solipsistic new career ladies. How on earth bossing around a little coterie of idiots at Asda can be more important than playing with your kids, hanging around with friends, spending time with family or doing creative things at home is completely beyond me.

Over the last 100 years or so, women have equated career with liberation. To escape the perceived boredom, tyranny and power-lessness of domestic life, which was certainly a reality in victorian times, they have sought out work which will provide money and fulfilment. That is the promise. But what is reality? As G.K. Chesterton wittily put it, ‘I meet women who say they refuse to be dictated to, and they go get a job as a stenographer’.

Now, I am not saying that women should not escape oppression at home and seek fulfilment, financial independence and so forth, but I am saying that these things are unlikely to be found in conventional fulltime careers. Instead, it is better to create your own job.

We also need a diet of good cheer, merriment, feating and fun. Removing newspapers and tv from you life helps enormously. I have managed to cut down to one newspaper a week which leaves a lot more time to concentrate on the important things in life like drinking and music. Replace TV with friends and newspapers with books.

The main reason that peope are so deperately bored is that boring people are in charge. The money-makers, the profit-driven capitalists, high priests of utter dullness, run the business side of things. And the bureaucrats, the form fillers and health-and-safety-enthusiasts, are running the government. They actually like boredom. In early medieval times, those with bourgeois, money-making values were looked down upon by the warriors, the clerics and peasants. ‘There is something disgraceful about trade, something sordid and shameful’ wrote opinion-former St. Thomas Aquinas. Happiness, he said, was to be found in reflection, not distraction.

Geweldig. Er zijn niet veel boeken die ik herlees maar eens in de zoveel tijd pak ik ‘The Freedom Manifesto’ van Tom Hodgkinson er weer bij en geniet van zijn woorden. Mocht je op zoek zijn naar een andere kijk op De Dingen, dan kan ik je zijn boeken van harte aanraden. ‘Luie ouders hebben gelijk’ is het leukste boek dat ik ooit over opvoeden heb gelezen. Hij vertelt wat er mis is maar ook hoe we dat kunnen oplossen.

Wel. Ik ga maar eens een pizzabodem in elkaar knutselen om dan in gezelschap van mijn lieve kindjes, fijne man en ouders een glas zelf gebrouwen wijn te drinken :)

(het is nu ik dit schrijf zondag, half vijf ;)