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John Naish - Enough

John Naish - Enough

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Published by macka_Fedor
John Naish Enough
John Naish Enough

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Published by: macka_Fedor on Feb 04, 2012
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Enough
 
"For millions of years, humankind has used a brilliantly successful survivalstrategy. If we like something, we chase after more of it: more status, morefood, more info, more stuff. Then we chase even more. It's how we survivedfamine, disease and disaster to colonise the world." "But now, thanks totechnology, we've suddenly got more of everything than we can ever use, enjoyor afford. That doesn't stop us from striving though, and it's making us sick,tired, overweight, angry and in debt. It burns up our personal ecologies and theplanet's ecology too." "We urgently need to develop a sense of 'enough'. Ourculture keeps telling us that we don't yet have all we need to be happy, but infact we need to nurture a new skill - the ability to bask in the bounties allaround us." "In Enough, John Naish explores how our Neolithic brain-wiringspurs us to build a world of overabundance that keeps us hooked on 'more'. Andhe explains how, through adopting the art of enoughness, we can break fromthis wrecking cycle."--BOOK JACKET.
We Speak to John Naish, author of new consumption guide EnoughNew Consumer speaks with John Naish, journalist and author of 'Enough', a practical guide to future-proof consumption, out January 24from Hodder and Staughton.In your pursuit to say ‘enough’ you’ve given up both TV and yourmobile phone. Of all the technological trappings we have, what wasthe hardest for you to say goodbye to, and why?
 Well in fact, I never owned a TV after I’d left the family home aged 18 and wentout into the big wide world. I simply didn’t get round to buying one, so I guessthat particular bit of renunciation couldn’t have been too wrenching. Andditching my mobile phone proved a liberation rather than an act of self-denial.My life today is hardly hermit-like, however – I’ve got email, broadband, DVDsand a landline phone, which between them convey enough work demands, info,communication and entertainment to keep me out of mischief.
 You talk about an ‘inner rationing’. Some might say we’ve worked hardas a nation to enjoy the abundance we have. Why should we imposerations on ourselves?
“Imposing rations” sounds monstrously austere! But saying “enough” is notabout that, rather it’s about finding the optimum amount of anything you canenjoy in your life. Let’s take food as a real example: a slap-up meal is a finething, but chronic overeating, as we now realise, leads to obesity, disease anddisability. Once you go beyond a certain amount, things start to backfire. It’sthe law of diminishing returns.
What’s the first object you’d advise giving up?
Rather than giving up anobject, I’d suggest that people jettison this culture’s deeply ingrained andgenerally unquestioned assumption that “more” of anything is automaticallybetter. We’re surrounded by ad slogans that saying things such as “Smart girlsget more” along with Virgin’s “Get more” media ad campaign and Intel’s silicon-chip advert: “More computing power means More You”. We should instead bebecoming a “post-more” society. So I think we should work on ditching “more”
 
and working on our ability to feel gratitude and appreciation for all the amazingstuff we have.
And what’s the first activity you’d advise to stop doing?
Feeling “not enough”. We’re constantly told that we’re not cool enough, richenough, glam enough, networked enough, attractive enough, etc. It’s proved anamazingly successful sales tactic – it’s like a toxic substance that turns rationalbrains into needy toddler-like grizzlers. We need to challenge it, loud and clear.
 You admit to experiencing euphoria when you find that long-soughtafter item you’ve been wanting to buy. Is it possible to enjoy being aconsumer, without harming ourselves and our planet?
 Hope so. As a species we are uniquely wired to possess things. We even get ahormonal brain boost when we acquire things, which is why shopping splurgescan have that wild addictive feel to them. We need to be wary and to get ouracquisitive kicks wisely.
There are warnings of a recession – is this the economy’s way of tellingus that enough is enough? How long do you think the Western worldcan go on consuming without thought to consequence?
It’s a fascinating question. For the book, I asked a wide array of top economistswhat an alternative system to constant economic growth would look like. Blankexpressions all round. Finally one expert, who sits on a Governmentsustainable-development commission, revealed that he’d just asked Treasuryofficials the same question, and had been told how the Treasury feared thatanything other than constant economic growth “would land us back living incaves”. In this world of “always more”, Governments are afraid to even start thediscussionFrom The Times January 12, 2008
Caveman blues
Too much stuff, too much food, too much info: John Naish on howmodern life baffles our Stone Age brains into thinking we cannever have enough
Over the past decade, two facts have become increasingly obvious – that ourever-increasing consumption is wrecking the planet, and that continually
 
chasing more stuff, more food and more entertainment no longer makes us anyhappier. Instead, levels of stress, obesity and dissatisfaction are spiralling.So why is our culture still chasing, consuming, striving ever harder, even thoughwe know in our sophisticated minds that it’s an unrewarding route to eco-geddon? New scientific studies are helping to reveal why. It’s our primitivebrains. These marvellous machines got us down from the trees and around theworld, through ice ages, famines, plagues and disasters, into our unprecedentedera of abundance. But they never had to evolve an instinct that said, “enough”.Instead, our wiring constantly, subliminally urges us: “Want. More. Now.”Western civilisation wisely reined in this urge for thousands of years with anarray of cultural conventions, from Aristotle’s Golden Mean (neither too much,nor too little) to the Edwardian table-saying: “I have reached an elegantsufficiency and anything additional would be superfluous.”Consumer culture ditched all that, though, constructing instead an ever moresophisticated system for pinging our primitive desire circuits into overdrive. Itgot us to the point where we created everything we need as a basis forcontentment. Now it’s rushing us past the tipping point, beyond which gettingmore makes life worse rather than better. And it’s making our brains respondmore weirdly than ever.Our old wiring may condemn us to keep striving ever harder until finally weprecipitate our dissatisfied demise. But, instead, we could learn to practise thecomfortable art of “enough” in this overstuffed world. There is a broad armouryof strategies we can adopt to proof our brains against the pressure to pursueand consume too much, to work too hard and to feel constantly inadequate andunderprivileged. The most fundamental of these is knowledge: forewarned isforearmed. So here are just a few of the myriad unexpected ways in which ourculture pushes our wanting brains into overdrive.
Stuffed by celebs
Consumer society has invented a barrage of ways to stimulate our want-morebrains’ acquisitive instincts, but the latest and greatest of these innovations iscelebrities. The desire-driven wiring of our primitive brains evolved in the Pleistocene era,between 130,000 and 200,000 years ago. It was moulded by half-starvedhunter-gatherers and farmers whose crops frequently failed. Those who keptgoing survived to give us their yearning genes. That wanting instinct getsfixated on material goods. We evolved to desire possessions as no othercreature does. Neolithic cave sites may partly explain why. Many containmillions of hand-axes far more than cave-dwellers ever needed.Anthropologists believe that the best axes were not just prized tools, butprecursors of Ferraris and Jimmy Choos. Owning Stone Age bling displayed yourhigh reproductive value.

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