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drbubb

Where are you on the Path to Financial Independence?

The Path to Financial Independence  

133 members have voted

  1. 1. What stage have you reached?

    • I haven't started yet: what is all the fuss?
      0
    • I am spending more than I make, and need to change that
      6
    • I'm free from most consumer addictions: spend on only what I need
      20
    • THe only debt I have is mortgage debt
      25
    • I have no debt at all (except financing my investments)
      30
    • I am debt free, and have a job I like
      44
    • I am debt free, and no longer need to work
      9
  2. 2. How long before you expect to reach Financial Independence?

    • Never. I expect to die in debt, still working
      7
    • I will be financially independent when I retire
      39
    • I should be F.I. in about 10 years
      31
    • I should be F.I. in 5-10 years
      26
    • I plan to be F.I. in 2-5 years
      15
    • I can see F.I. within two years
      3
    • I have already reached Financial Independence
      13


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OK, so then the enlightened task is to eliminate illusory desires [ie, consumption]in order to escape the eternal recurrance of the wheel of life. Won't argue with the practicality of that. Main point being that freedom from unworthy wants is a very worthy goal.

 

How to deem something worthy/ unworthy involves a higher order ethic.... transcending mere economics.

 

This comes to mind...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQRzl44Y2Lk

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The thing is that you could actually describe a tramp as being financially independent, as he has no dependants, lives life very simply collecting his meths money from donations.

 

Any one of us could actual become financially independent very quickly if we said goodbye to our current lifestyles.

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Yes, happiness is what most pursue.... except, like the horizon, it seems to recede the more you chase it [so much for buying a boat]. I don't think happiness simply depends on money, and most millionaires will corrobate that.... it's more like a by-product , whatever your material circumstances. A modicum of self-determination was thought necessary by the Greeks [not the present decadent kind] in order to live "the Good Life". I think there is something in that. What we in the modern world do is split the mind from the body and then insist the mind can be etherally "happy".... even if chained to a body of production/ consumption. Of course, there is a different logic/ ethic at play here, an economic one; we all work towards the good of that other abstraction; "society".

 

I can't disagree with the mind-body dichotomy in general, but in this case I'm not quite following you. We must consume, at minimum, food and water to survive. And unless you have someone to spoon feed you while you lay on the sofa all day, then you're going to be producing something as well (again at minimum food, offspring, etc.) The organization of people in society allows us to have a division of labor and, instead of concentrating on the basic subsistence level of life, we are able to produce & consume on a higher level such as art, music, sporting, literature, etc. Without society, it is very difficult to have any free time that is not spent concentrating on the basic necessities to sustain life.

 

There is a genre of American lit that fantasized about such life (I'm thinking specifically of Thoreau et al here). And then, even going farther back, the various monastic movements in Christianity over the centuries.

 

The idea that you can have a life that is not engaged in production/consumption is rather naive, I think. The question is, what are you producing & consuming and to what end? The monks that I'm most familiar with (Benedictines at Saint Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana) are quite engaged in society even though they themselves are poor and their community lives out "society" in a much different way then the rest of us. There is the occasional hermit, I think, but it seems that the Benedictine community typically discourages life in complete solitude. I do not know all the reasons why, but I can imagine a few. I think also of Thomas Merton, who in his Seven Storey Mountain autobiography lamented that he was unable to do what he wanted (contemplate God in isolation, as I recall) due to the demands of his own Trappist community. His "production", although quite distressing to himself, has inspired millions of people in their spiritual lives and, I suspect, contributed ultimately to his eternal beatitude.

 

Thus the dichotomy is not so much between mind and body as it is between "myself" and "others." When I make the choice that I will give up what "I want" in order that others may be assisted - there is nothing more self-determinative than that and ultimately, I think, happiness is likely to ensue although pleasure at the moment is certainly sacrificed.

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The thing is that you could actually describe a tramp as being financially independent, as he has no dependants, lives life very simply collecting his meths money from donations.

 

Any one of us could actual become financially independent very quickly if we said goodbye to our current lifestyles.

 

 

Very true.

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I can't disagree with the mind-body dichotomy in general, but in this case I'm not quite following you. We must consume, at minimum, food and water to survive. And unless you have someone to spoon feed you while you lay on the sofa all day, then you're going to be producing something as well (again at minimum food, offspring, etc.) The organization of people in society allows us to have a division of labor and, instead of concentrating on the basic subsistence level of life, we are able to produce & consume on a higher level such as art, music, sporting, literature, etc. Without society, it is very difficult to have any free time that is not spent concentrating on the basic necessities to sustain life.

 

...

The idea that you can have a life that is not engaged in production/consumption is rather naive, I think.

...

Thus the dichotomy is not so much between mind and body as it is between "myself" and "others." When I make the choice that I will give up what "I want" in order that others may be assisted - there is nothing more self-determinative than that and ultimately, I think, happiness is likely to ensue although pleasure at the moment is certainly sacrificed

Yes, we obviously must produce and consume at some level [by stating the case for leisure and contemplation, it will appear to be over-stated due to the way in which we think today].

 

My beef is when consumption and production becomes elevated to such an extent that it becomes our dominant role in life... and the dominant galvanizing idea in our culture. For example, today it is generally taken as a self-evident truth that all economies must grow... growth for growth's sake, with no consideration of qualitative [sustainable?] growth besides quantitative growth. This slavish devotion towards economic Growth is a primary cause for many of the problems "the economy" [as if it were a thing... and then, effectively, a god] faces today.

 

What's required is balance between our activities. As you mention, production is only a means [as is money], and then the ends to which they are put to should be examined [our malaise being largely a loss of sight of the ends... what is the Good Life?]. If those ends were properly thought out, and put into practice, this would put a constraint on incessant production/ consumption, for its own sake [and the continual acquisition of money]. Not that I think this should necessarily be effected at the political level, but worked out rather in the lives of individuals at the cultural/ moral level.

 

In regard to medievalism, it can be simplified and idealized by the reactionaries. But what motivated the medieval age at heart was the idea of synthesis [the medieval synthesis]; all the various and often conflicting parts of life were sought to be brought into a universal dynamic harmony.... thinking harmony of the spheres here. Our age, in contrast, has reduced itself to a static analysis ....the world is dissected into its constituent parts. The [atomic] individual is then divided from society, and we are then to choose the primacy of one or the other. These kinds of black and white dichotomies are not found in more synthetic, practical and imaginative ages, where man is thought a social animal while, at the same time, recognition is given to his moral and individual stature.

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The thing is that you could actually describe a tramp as being financially independent, as he has no dependants, lives life very simply collecting his meths money from donations.

 

Any one of us could actual become financially independent very quickly if we said goodbye to our current lifestyles.

A beggar is not financially independent.

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People who think that they're financially independent still need to worry about preservation of their capital or continuation of their income.

 

How financially independent are some of the Madoff/Lehman/hyperinflation victims today?

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More than one life? So not only are we stuck on an economic running wheel of producing and consuming in this life, but for a series of purgatorial lives to come? Then surely your task becomes to escape the running wheel?

 

How fringe am I allowed to go?

We created out own purgatory by becoming fascinated with our own creation.

Three-dimensional entrapment very loosely = fear = ego = futile top-dog escape attempts, priestcraft = our divinity given away = being lost.

You could label this 'the fall' I suppose.

Result, light-being freedom to Victor Meldrew self-inflicted mind enclosure.

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How fringe am I allowed to go?

We created out own purgatory by becoming fascinated with our own creation.Three-dimensional entrapment very loosely = fear = ego = futile top-dog escape attempts, priestcraft = our divinity given away = being lost.

You could label this 'the fall' I suppose.

Result, light-being freedom to Victor Meldrew self-inflicted mind enclosure.

I agree with this bit. A "Faustian pact" was made somewhere along the way where we gained power [over the environment... and ourselves] in exchange for our own souls. "What does it profit a man to gain the world, yet lose his own soul?" At the pop culture level, some "psychadelic" movies tap into our uneasy intuition of this.... machines/ the machine takes over [with the loss of freedon/ dignity/ virtue]... but, like Disneyland, this is considered complete fantasy, and not really relevant to our own world.... because it is in a completely different/ unreal space.

 

"The Truman Show" is my particular favorite where this poor man is lost in a bubble of technology.... take the literalness away, add in the metaphor, and you have the modern predicament. Thank god things are starting to fall out of the sky. :rolleyes:

 

 

truman-show.jpg

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