Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Bare Necessities

“Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
Old Mother Nature's recipes
That brings the bare necessities of life

Wherever I wander, wherever I roam
I couldn't be fonder of my big home
The bees are buzzin' in the tree
To make some honey just for me
When you look under the rocks and plants
And take a glance at the fancy ants
Then maybe try a few

The bare necessities of life will come to you
They'll come to you!”
-The Jungle Book

(H3) As I was reading the last page of our assigned chapter in “A Philosophy of Walking”, I was reminded of a childhood scene depicting a talking bear and a scrawny child, swinging and swaying through the jungle. Like Socrates or Plato and his followers, Baloo and Mowgli progress through the jungle, pondering life and the “correct” way to experience it, quite a bit like peripatetic philosophy don’t you think. Apart from the eating ants, I found this song a good synopsis of the Cynics’ view on the necessities of life. Basically, life and nature provide all that is essential to surviving, indulgence in excesses is considered one of humanities’ greatest flaws. Gros says the Cynics’ life consisted primarily of elemental truths, rawness, living outside, and necessity. After reading about the Cynics, I found myself highly intrigued, more so than I have been about any other philosopher or group that we’ve read about so far. Opposite the materialist, the Cynic experienced life for what it was, without human-made clutter, both physical objects and societal regulations. A life without the restrictions of society's ever-watchful eyes made them disliked by some, possibly because those who disapproved of them were envious of their freedom. They welcomed this criticism and were not embarrassed to embrace the raw basics of being human. They became a part of the world, rather than forcing the world to bend to their will. They respected the world’s harshness and found beauty in its all-consuming, undifferentiating power. Their home was the entire world and, therefore, they felt comfortable anywhere and were unabashed by their candor. As an outside observer, I found their way of life quite liberating, though, I’m sure, hard to emulate.

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