I've been branching out in my blogreading lately.
Since entering blogdom, I've read the prominent perfume blogs, including the no-nonsense, extremely informative Now Smell This, the beautifully written Bois de Jasmin and the free-fall, byzantine aesthetic of cognoscented ... places where I know the language, and learn even more about the artform that is scent ...
For wordplay and wit, I read Waking Ambrose, the blog where Doug channels Ambrose Bierce and you'll like it or else ... and, for the most humorous woman in the world, there's Tan Lucy Pez.
Then I also have some foodblogs I always check: Simply Recipes, Veggie Venture and Lex Culinaria.
But suddenly I find myself in places like Pocket Farm and
10 Signs Like This ... places where terms like Voluntary Simplicity and Eat Local are thrown around.
It's a whole different world. These are people committed to "sustainability" and who know exactly where their meat came from, because they slaughtered that chicken themselves. They discuss the most efficient, frugal means of accomplishing existence, but aren't joyless about it.
I admire this tremendously.
Liz and Jamie (of the above named blogs, respectively) are putting their politics where their mouths are, literally. They grow their food, what they don't grow, they make every attempt to purchase close to source (eating local), they preserve that food, they prepare that food. And it looks delicious -- I've seen pictures.
(Admittedly, I couldn't get behind the roast duck, after I'd seen the fluffy white being sauntering around the yard. Hypocrite that I am, that would push me all the way into vegetarianism. It seems that I'm ok with the occasional meat meal, as long as I wasn't on a first name basis with it. That isn't only hypocritical, it's disrespectful of the animal's sacrifice and I'm still thinking my way through this.)
But what got me started down this road of thought was an interesting post Liz made about consumerism as it regards to knitting, a pastime of many of the "sustainability" bloggers. Buying, keeping, "stashing" quantities of yarn, some of it quite expensive. And whether this went against the Voluntary Simplicity ethos.
Now I start getting disoriented.
If we can jam my thoughts into dialectic: thesis would be "I want to smell every expensive perfume in the world, and own as many as is humanly possible."
Antithesis would be: "Humans, especially first world humans, consume much more than their share of the earth's resources. How can I exist in a moral manner, living as lightly as possible, in order that more may have a decent life?"
I don't know where to find the synthesis of this.
On Liz's blog, I posted something about there being a need to build aesthetics into the sustainable life.
By extension, I meant that art, artforms are a human need every bit as strong, as imperative, as the need for food. We need beauty, to create it, to appreciate it.
But art often implies heavy consumption. The perfumeurs are not going to create for free, any more than the farmer can sow seed, break his/her back in the field, harvest and provide food for free.
Can there be a moral ground for consumption of art, similar to that being forged by individuals who are implementing voluntary simplicity in their food and clothes?
Is it possible to live in voluntary simplicity, wafting Ormonde Jayne Ta'if behind me?
I'm asking a serious question.