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Stickley, Gustav, 1858-1942. / Craftsman homes
(1909)

"The simplification of life:" a chapter from Edward Carpenter's book called "England's ideal",   pp. 1-5


Page 5

               THE SIMPLIFICATION OF LIFE
and partially mummied.    Sometimes it seems to me that is the reason why,
in our
modern times, the curious intellect is so abnormally developed, the brain
and
the tongue waggle so, because these organs alone have a chance, the rest
are
shut out from heaven¹s light and air; the poor human heart grown feeble
and
weary in its isolation and imprisonment, the liver diseased anJ the lungs
strait-
ened down to mere sighs and conventional disconsolate sounds beneath their
cerements.
     ³There are many other ways in which the details and labor of daily
life may
be advantageously reduced, which will occur to anyone who turns practical
attention to the matter.  For myself I confess to a great pleasure in witnessing
the Economics of Life<and how seemingly nothing need be wasted; how the
very stones that offend the spade in the garden become invaluable when foot-
paths have to be laid out or drains to be made.     Hats that are past wear
get
cut up into strips for nailing creepers on the wall; the upper leathers of
old shoes
are useful for the same purpose. The under garment that is too far gone for
mending is used for patching another less decrepit of its kind, then it is
torn up
into strips for bandages or what not; and when it has served its time thus
it de-
scends to floor washing, and is scrubbed out of life<useful to the end.
 When
my coat has worn itself into an affectionate intimacy with my body, when
it has
served for Sunday best, and for week days, and got weather-stained out in
the
fields with the sun and rain<then faithful, it does not part from me,
but getting it-
self cut up into shreds and patches descends to form a hearthrug for my feet.
After
that, when worn through, it goes into the kennel and keeps my dog warm, and
so
after lapse of years, retiring to the manure-heaps and passing out on to
the land,
returns to me in the form of potatoes for my dinner; or being pastured by
my
sheep, reappears upon their backs as the material of new clothing.     Thus
it
remains a friend to all time, grateful to me for not having despised and
thrown
it away when it first got behind the fashions.  And seeing we have been faithful
to each other, my coat and I, for one round or life-period, I do not see
why we
should not renew our intimacy<in other metamorphoses<or why we should
ever quite lose touch of each other through the ~ons.
     ³In the above sketch my object has been not so much to put forward
any
theory of the conduct of daily life, or to maintain that one method of living
is of
itself superior to another, as to try and come at the facts connected with
the sub-
ject. In the long run every household has to support itself; the benefits
and
accommodations it receives from society have to be covered by the labor it
ex-
pends for society.  This cannot be got over.      The present effort of a
large
number of people to live on interest and dividends, and so in a variety of
ways
on the labor of others, is simply an effort to make water run up hill; it
cannot
last very long.  The balance, then, between the labor that you may consume
and the labor that you expend may be struck in many different ways, but it
has
to be struck; and I have been interested to bring together some materials
for an
easy solution of the problem.²


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