# # The Necessary Year - Day 3: "Ouch" and Points To Ponder

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The Necessary Year – Day 3: “Ouch” and Points To Ponder


(this post is part of an aborted 1 year experiment in material abstinence I called The Necessary Year)


Well, my first day out of the house during The Necessary Year (yesterday) saw me spend a total of $147.28. As I drove home I eyed the groceries and gas gauge thinking: “Is all this really necessary?”

A good friend of mine just sent an excellent email regarding The Necessary Year and I’d like to share parts of it with you:

Prediction: you’re going to have to make lots of judgment calls relating to context-dependent semantics of “necessary”. Michael Franti has gone without shoes for several years.

Observation: I claim the paints are necessary because not having them interferes with your art. Guitar strings, pencils, etc. are necessary tools, if art is necessary, and art is more necessary than work.

Observation: Music is necessary for my spiritual well being. I’ve yet to hear you admit that you have a spiritual life, and you will no doubt claim that you have enough music to get by for a year anyway.

Uncomfortable fact: Meat is not necessary by any reasonable definition, so either you have signed up not to eat any for a year or are weasling.

Plea: Please, please, please treat brakes and tires as necessary should your car’s wear out (assuming you aren’t doing all travel by bus).”

These observations strike close to the heart of what I have been thinking: what, exactly, is necessary?

As I am a very, very lucky American-type person and not someone struggling to survive somewhere in the third world, we can assume that the necessary line is somewhat blurred but … where is that line?

While I work on my own thoughts and essay regarding this, I’d love to read some of your thoughts.

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3 Responses to “The Necessary Year – Day 3: “Ouch” and Points To Ponder”

  1. Kris Petersen says:

    Well, for music, there’s always Bit Torrent and even various free streaming sites. 🙂

    But I think he has a good point, as what’s ‘needed’ is really relative to your career, hobbies, etc. Some people have hobbies where they invest in creation – like guitar strings, or pencils which they use to create art, and some people have hobbies that rely on the enjoyment of the work of others – record and toy collecting, for instance. I really have no place to say which is more valid, as I’m sure it’s going to vary depending on the personality of the person. (I will say that creating something is personally more fufilling than idly piling records and toys on the shelf – of course, if you find a deeper meaning in the experience of listening to music or posing funky vinyls, Then that’s another story.)

    So, pretty much, it can go either way. This is an interesting concept to think about, though.

  2. diablomonkey says:

    Ahhh, the crux of the biscuit so to speak. Even in my current position I wouldn’t want to decide what is necessary to my existance. The best I can eak out is “What makes me comfortable or happy”. Let me know if you find the answer, unles you achieve a buhddist level of necessary. In which case you wont need to communicate.

  3. cae says:

    A few quick responses:

    Captain Anonymous sez: I claim the paints are necessary because not having them interferes with your art.

    I am very lucky in that I am able to express myself in many, many, many ways. Not being able to learn the art of spraying vinyls will hardly hamper my creative expression and, frankly, sits both at the tail end of a long list of things I have been wanting to further explore and at the side of a bad habit that is much a part of what made The Necessary Year so … necessary: the collection of Japanese toys. While I’d LOVE to start learning to spray kaiju (the toys) yesterday, it will not cause me to die if I have to wait a year.

    Captain Anonymous sez: you will no doubt claim that you have enough music to get by for a year anyway.

    You bet yer bippy – and then some! Besides, as Kris pointed out, there are numerous ways to enjoy music for free. Hell, I could just go break into your uninhabited PT house and get a helluva collection, no? =)

    Captain Anonymous sez: Meat is not necessary by any reasonable definition

    The arguments for and against vegetarianism can get ridiculous very quickly (and I just plain start out that way) so I think we’d best agree to disagree on this point. I am a happy omnivore who has no intention of loosening his grip on meat in the foreseeable future.

    Captain Anonymous sez: assuming you aren’t doing all travel by bus

    I am actually considering doing just that – but we shall see. If I didn’t end up stopping by the grocery store virtually every day (and I wouldn’t have to do that if I was shopping for just myself and not a household of three), it would be a no-brainer.

    Kris sez: what’s ‘needed’ is really relative

    Exactly. This journey isn’t about what constitutes an actual necessity. As I stated in the intro to this concept, I know all the basics (air, water, shelter, internet porn, that kind of thing) and am just trying to pare down to whom I am, necessity-wise. I’m starting to think that if I peel at the soft skin of my pleasures like a water-swollen callous, I’ll eventually get down too far, and thus learn my limits.

    Diablo sez: Ahhh, the crux of the biscuit so to speak.

    I don’t like a cruxie biscuit. I prefer mine soft and chewy.

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