Unless you live in Japan, you may not have encountered a removal service as attentive as that offered by Japanese home moving companies. I expect you’d pay a premium for such treatment, but it would surely reduce – considerably – the stress and hassles associated with moving.
Intrigued by the various promises made by members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion, who would frequently call at her home – something many of us are probably familiar with – Corinna Nicolaou decided to take a closer look at the church:
The Jehovah Witnesses have been coming to my door for more than two years acting like they have the answers, so I’m finally taking them up on the offer to come to their Kingdom Hall. It’s just down the street from my house. Inside, people are milling about. Maybe what they say is true and here are some of the multitudes whom Jesus has made rise from their graves. Their happy expressions and business-casual attire carry the whiff of inauthenticity. It’s like they’re trying too hard to seem alive. The atmosphere in the building can only be described as funereal: fake plants, floral carpet, mauve wainscoting. No windows, the only light emanates from fluorescent tubes. Décor best appreciated by the dead. I keep expecting someone to turn and have an eyeball dangling from a socket.
The point is that you cant just up and quit the world. To leave the world completely one has to cut ties slowly and steadily. You have to tug, warp, twist and tear at your connections until they’re stressed enough to break. It takes systematic and conscious effort to leave the world. It takes a “special” type of person to be willing to be push everything and everyone away until nothing is left. To understand how I became such a “special” person, we have to start at my beginning. This is the story of how I faded from the world.
Having some food, water, and a maybe few candles stashed away for some sort of emergency is one thing, but were some other out of the ordinary, and longer lasting, crisis to manifest itself, the great majority of us would likely be woefully under prepared:
If civilization breaks down, Douglas’s house is definitely where you want to be. In his home office – the de facto headquarters for Red Shed’s six shareholders and two independent contractors – he keeps not only his iPad and his MacBook but also a ham radio and a C.B. radio. In his basement, there is roughly a year’s supply of wheat, rice and other staples. And outside, he tries to keep a year’s supply of chopped wood and, in his garage, 375 gallons of water.
I also discovered a word I’d not seen before while reading the article… exurban, defined by the Collins Dictionary as meaning “the region outside the suburbs of a city, consisting of residential areas (exurbs) that are occupied predominantly by rich commuters (exurbanites)”.
Everyone has a “hot button.” Calm and even-tempered as you might be, there is some topic that will set you off, especially if it’s referenced to you personally. It might be your height, your weight, your sexuality, your education, how much money you have, your mom, whatever. Rational people can become maniacs if someone pushes their buttons.
What do humans and ants have in common? In addition to warfare, something no other life form on Earth engages in, both are beginning to organise their societies in much the same way, allowing for, all things remaining equal, almost unlimited growth.
“As a result, modern humans have more in common with some ants than we do with our closest relatives the chimpanzees,” Mark Moffett, author of the study, told Discovery News. “With a maximum size of about 100, no chimpanzee group has to deal with issues of public health, infrastructure, distribution of goods and services, market economies, mass transit problems, assembly lines and complex teamwork, agriculture and animal domestication, warfare and slavery.” “Ants have developed behaviors addressing all of these problems,” added Moffett, a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. He pointed out that only humans and ants have developed full-blown warfare.
In Egypt and Tunisia, I talked with revolutionaries who were M.B.A.s, physicians and filmmakers as well as the young daughters of a provincial olive picker and a supergeeky 29-year-old Muslim Brotherhood member carrying a Tigger notebook. The Occupy movement in the U.S. was set in motion by a couple of magazine editors – a 69-year-old Canadian, a 29-year-old African American – and a 50-year-old anthropologist, but airline pilots and grandmas and shop clerks and dishwashers have been part of the throngs.
But studying the history of the internet is impossible without studying the ideas, biases, and desires of its early cheerleaders, a group distinct from the engineers. This included Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly, John Perry Barlow, and the crowd that coalesced around Wired magazine after its launch in 1993. They were male, California-based, and had fond memories of the tumultuous hedonism of the 1960s. These men emphasised the importance of community and shared experiences; they viewed humans as essentially good, influenced by rational deliberation, and tending towards co-operation. Anti-Hobbesian at heart, they viewed the state and its institutions as an obstacle to be overcome – and what better way to transcend them than via cyberspace?
If other people’s downfalls weren’t as perversely gratifying as they are, if dancing on the grave of someone’s shattered life and reputation weren’t so entertaining, if some other emotion prevailed – empathy or identification in lieu of contempt and superiority – this would bode very badly for the continuation of scandal. So it’s lucky from scandal’s point of view that our attention to these scenarios is so rapt and that other people’s downfalls are as perversely gratifying as they are. If we were less fizzed up on fantasies of our own rectitude and superior common sense, what then?