Daily archives: September 22, 2006

Timeless Simplicity

Timeless Simplicity came highly recommended, so I feel guilty to say I wasn’t that impressed by it. It’s not so much that there’s anything wrong with the book, but that I’ve been saying similar things for years.

John Lane’s philosophy is straight forward enough- in this supposed age of plenty we’re becoming emotionally impoverished. Money can’t buy you love, or any of the other things that are really important. But as a society we’ve swallowed the lie that we can only be happy if we buy enough stuff, but to buy enough stuff we need to work harder at the sorts of jobs that are contributing to our unhappiness (and damaging family life with unsocial working hours). And around and around the vicious circle goes. Most of my generation have no future but debt.

How do we break out of this cycle? This is where the book falls down for me. Lane’s solution seems to be a withdrawal to some rural idyll away from technology. those of us stuck in the city with our computers are doomed. I guess I was looking for some sort of how-to but what I got was idealistic whimsy.

There could be room for a book on finding simplicity in the modern world. As I strive for it myself I may start to write notes for one. If you already know that Modern Life is Rubbish and want to make The Great Escape (gratuitous Blur affiliate linkage because I can), then this book isn’t really for you. However if you just have an inkling that the daily grind is wearing you down but don’t know why, then read Timeless Simplicity and come back and start hassling me to write my simplicity-with-technology guide.

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Heavensent 11.3

“We’re not going back are we?”

“Not unless that shadow of yours holds oxygen or scrubbers.”

“It’s not fair! The Search was gonna make me rich!”

JonPaul examined his navigator. The boy was only sixteen adjusted, he had every right to be upset. But JonPaul wasn’t in the mood to be consoling. “BoyChild, the Search is about keeping life on the Rock going. As we’re not returning with technology to keep the system working, we’re going on and out and we’ll never waste any more precious oxygen or nutrients.” The boy didn’t reply, merely slouching deeper into his seat. “So you didn’t get relocated to another Rock. You could have chosen to take the sleep and be recycled.” The boy winced at the thought. “Look, why don’t you go and talk to the twins. They like you, y’know. And we’ve got nothing to do for the next day until we rendezvous.”

“Which one?”


“Which one likes me?”

“They both do. They’re twins, they think alike.”

BoyChild pondered this. With a self concious grin he released his belt and floated out of his seat. He paused at the hatch. “They’re not, you know. Not twins.”


“They just look similar and dress the same. The Rock wouldn’t risk losing a bloodline by sending both of a set on a Search.”

“Of course not. I knew that.”

BoyChild launched himself from the hand hold at the end of the corridor. He tapped the wall once to adjust his trajectory and rotated to land in the free seat of the monitor room.

The one thing the Rock had in abundance was old spaceships to cannibalise. Even old Search engines had a homing instinct, in case the crew found something interesting before expiring. This particular vessel was on its third time out. The few working screens in the room were clustered around the twins’ seats. The empty spaces at the other three stations had been converted to storage.

“Hello ladies.”

“Hello BoyChild.” they answered in harmony.

“JonPaul says we’ve got a day to go. We should get some down time.”

“Did he tell you to spend it with us?” GirlChild was the younger twin.


“Because that’s what we told him to say.” YoungLady was shorter, but not by much.

“I….. Errr…..”

“Come on, BoyChild. Have you never had a Search fantasy?” GirlChild released her belt and floated to his seat.

“This is ours.” YoungLady flicked switches and the monitors shut down.

“Oh. Okay.”

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