Take it or leave it.

Friday, May 22, 2015


It seems there is a new movement to outsource everything. Whether it's paying your bills, making vacation reservations, even buying stuff online, if you don't like doing it, there is someone in Asia you can pay pennies to get it done. You can even pay a stranger to wait in line for you, to mow your lawn or to fix things around your house. I draw the line at getting my ass wiped - unless it's by someone I love. Hey it's how we all started.

And the point? All this outsourcing leaves you more time to . . . what? Stream your favorite shows? Surf porn? Play Angry Birds? I doubt people do this to allow themselves longer periods for solitary walks in the woods or to perform selfless service to strangers.

But though when applied to the Internet in the digital age the concept of outsourcing seems new, it's actually quite old. If you have a gardener, or a pool man, or live in an apartment with a garden or pool and don't do the gardening and pooling yourself, if you've ever had a maid or babysitter or plumber or had someone drive your kids to school (and what kid hasn't taken the bus? my neighbor ubers hers!), you have outsourced stuff. And even this more conventional outsourcing is relatively new. Sure, slavery was an established institution as early as 1760 BC, but when you consider homo sapiens have been around for over 150,000 years, that's not so long!

The question. Should we be outsourcing? Many would say no. Take Gandhi. You know, Hindu holy man. Leader of the Indian independence movement. Subject of the best picture biopic dedicated to his works. Gandhi practiced what he called Swadeshi, which he defined as "the spirit in us which restricts us to the use and service of our immediate surroundings to the exclusion of the more remote."

Swadeshi would include practical, useful activities such as taking out the garbage, making food for yourself and loved ones, cleaning house, and yes, buying presents online and paying bills. All the things we have outsourced in order to do things which are impractical, pointless (other than for the passing thrill they provide) and by many definitions, total wastes of time - like seeing the new Avengers movie. I myself haven't seen the new Avengers movie, but if it is anything like the first one, which I did see and can't remember a thing about other than a lot of stuff got blown up, well, you get what I'm trying to say.

So turn back the time and return to your roots. Try spending a day engaging in essential, and by definition, beneficial activities. Do the things that others pay servants to do. Things that make a difference in that they fulfill basic needs (which include food, clothing, shelter, bodily movement and loving discourse with others - see, there aren't so many; we can live simply!). And watch the sense of fulfillment you have while doing said activities, and the sense of accomplishment you have when they are done. You mop the floor, it sparkles. Versus you binge watch TV, and all you're left with are red eyes and a vague sense of guilt.

Of swadeshi, Gandhi once said that it is "an eternal principle whose neglect has brought untold grief to mankind." So bring it back, and let happiness once again reign.

Does this blog qualify as swadeshi? If it makes you power off and go do something useful with your time, then yes. I bet that toilet could use a good scrub!

1 comment:

  1. This is all true Adam and the joy I get out of building my own Real Estate and feel proud of it and take care of it and love my Kingdom of Love Elbow Grease, It feels good to be proud of your home that YOU take care of and build and learn how to build, its like one who cooks good food in the kitchen that does the body good and sharing it with others, society seems to have gotten out of touch with the Simple things in life, if all neighbors would just build a community garden together then they can build a life of community.