Monthly Archives: April 2012

Get Out of the Box!

Elizabeth Gilbert features frontiersman, Eustice Conway in The Last American Man. Conway eloquently describes one of the problems I want to address. Boxes. I am not sure how we came to like them so much, but I hope, at the very least, we don’t forget how to buck them.

In this except, Eustace contrasts the worlds of circles and boxes to a group of young students,

“I don’t live inside buildings, because buildings are dead places where nothing grows, where water doesn’t flow, and where life stops. I don’t want to live in a dead place. People say that I don’t live in the real world, but it’s modern Americans who live in a fake world, because they’ve stepped outside the natural circle of life.”

“… Do people live in circles today? No. They live in boxes. They wake up every morning in the box of their bedroom because a box next to them started making beeping noises to tell them it was time to get up. They eat their breakfast out of a box and then they throw that box away into another box. Then they leave the box where they live and get into a box with wheels and drive to work, which is just another big box broken up into lots of little cubicle boxes where a bunch of people spend their days sitting and staring at the computer boxes in front of them. When the day is over, everyone gets into the box with wheels again and goes home to their house boxes and spends the evening staring at the television boxes for entertainment. They get their music from a box, they get their food from a box, they keep their clothing in a box, they live their lives in a box! Does that sound like anybody you know?”

“…Break out of the box!” Eustace said. “You don’t have to live like this because people tell you it’s the only way. You’re not handcuffed to your culture! This is not the way humanity lived for thousands and thousands of years, and it is not the only way you can live today!”

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