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Living Small

I heard the story of a woman who lives in a 12 × 12 foot house in North Carolina. Her name is Dr. Jackie Benton. She is a 60-year-old physician, whose children have grown up, and who lives in that house without running water and electricity. She paid $7,000 for the house, and $10,000 for the land. By the state’s standards, a 12 × 12 foot house isn’t even a house. It is regarded as a shack, and doesn’t require her to pay property taxes.

 William Powers wrote a book to introduce his experience at the house, and described how we can live more lightly on the earth. He stayed at her house for 40 days, house-sitting while she was traveling. The author just came back from Latin America and Africa after a decade of living as an aid worker. When he came back to his country, he was overwhelmed by the huge impact people in the developed world make on the environment.

 When he was introduced to her 12 x 12 house, he felt the house was too small and threatening. Even so, he gradually came to appreciate the simple life. He noted that life in that house was a way of embracing simplicity, and discovering who he was. What he learnt there was to find a space of harmony, to use responsible consumption, and to appreciate the joy of life. Now, he is living in NY, and has an ordinary life. He didn’t choose to live like a hermit in a 12 x 12 house, but the experience somehow integrated into his current life.

After I listened to this story, I felt like I was buried up to my nose in my own clutter. (That’s a metaphor, in case you might think my house is such a mess!) I have been interested in the simplicity of Zen, but haven’t had a chance to try it. I don’t intend to do such a radical thing as living like Dr. Benton, but this might be an opportunity to clear my mind by giving up what I thought was necessary.


To the Best of Our Knowledge で、3.6×3.6メートルの家に住んでいるアメリカ人女性のお話を聞いた。ジャッキー・ベントンさんは60歳の内科医師。子供たちは独立し、大きな家が必要なくなったため、ノースカロライナにわずか3.6×3.6メートルの家を買い、電気も水道もない家で暮らしているそうな。3.6×3.6メートルは日本のサイズだと6帖程度でしょうか。



 本を書いたWilliam Powersさんは、10年ほどアフリカや南米で援助ワーカーとして働いていた方。アメリカに帰国してから、先進国の暮らしがいかに環境に負担をかけているかを痛感したそうです。それでベントンさんの家で40日間暮らしてみて、シンプルな生活を楽しみ、責任のある消費活動をすることの大切さを感じたようです。そして自分が何者であるかを考えるきっかけになったと。







PetitPoisLeonie 2011/11/14

黄金の茶室を味わったからこそ大成した「わび、さび」の世界、って感じですな。 新しい家は前の家より狭くなりましたが、いかに効果的にものを収納するか、に力を入れるのではなく「いかに持たないか」 「いかに手放すか」をいつも考えたいと思います。 新しい服は増えることは私の場合ないのですが・・・笑 問題は本ですな。「図書館が自分の本棚と考えて本を買わないでおく!」とか。笑

yuko 2011/11/18





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