“The quantitative nature of Thoreau’s deconstruction of eudaimonia was radical, and deserves more attention. In our current moment, we should remember in particular the role of disruption in this intellectual journey. It’s hard to account for the cost of voluntary work if you’re tangled in a cultural context where everyone is getting and spending. Thoreau needed to retreat to a deliberate existence in which the voluntary was rendered obviously voluntarily—only then could he obtain the distance necessary to accurately account for these extra efforts. The Venetian blinds don’t truly feel optional until you’re living in a cabin that cost only twenty-eight dollars and twelve and a half cents.”
A bit funny to link to an article about consumer culture and this one that is talking about realizing how much you really need to be happy and raises the question if working long hours to have a lot of stuff is necessary. I acknowledge the privilege that's implicit in asking the question, but as I've found when changing the focus of my own life, it can come across as exceptional to not have all the latest things and to pair down your life.