Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
~ Pete Seeger

Sunday, May 25, 2008

How Much Is Enough?

Last week I reviewed a plan set for a 7000+ square foot house, built across two lots amounting to over 16,000 square feet total. Stretched across the lot in a sprawling mess of gables and hips and intertwined trusses, the house extended from property line setback on one side almost to the setback on the other. It had seven toilets – and only four bedrooms. When I saw the extravagant wastefulness of it, I almost felt physically ill.

By contrast, we live on a 9400 square foot lot, in a 960 square foot house (including about 230 square feet of unheated garage). The house is a little undersized for the four of us, since K and I no longer share a bed – we have plans to add a room – but the house is comfortable and functional, and despite the occasional “pee-dance,” one toilet seems to be enough. Our lot functions beautifully – we have a big comfortable deck, a modest but functional front yard, and two small, functional sideyards (one of which, the “sanctuary garden” is very private and is currently alive with blue and white columbine, foxglove, a climbing rose, and native bleeding hearts, as well as other flowers). Our backyard is large, comfortable, and varied, with a pond, a chicken yard, a circle lawn, berries, fruit trees, and a plethora of garden beds. It seems to me that, despite the modest extent of our living conditions, we live more comfortably, and certainly in a richer environment, than the poor rich folks who will occupy this new monstrosity.

So I wonder – just how much is enough, and when, and how, do we recognize it? Does ‘enough’ meet human needs better than too much? What do we do with the surplus when we do have too much, and how, and why, do we make that decision? What are the moral implications of that decision, for our society and ourselves?

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Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
~Helen Keller

Reading List for Information about Transpeople

  • Becoming a Visible Man, by Jamison Green
  • Conundrum, by Jan Morris
  • Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein
  • My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
  • Right Side Out, by Annah Moore
  • She's Not There, by Jennifer Boylan
  • The Riddle of Gender, by Deborah Rudacille
  • Trans Liberation, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transgender Emergence, by Arlene Istar Lev
  • Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transition and Beyond, by Reid Vanderburgh
  • True Selves, by Mildred Brown
  • What Becomes You, by Aaron Link Raz and Hilda Raz
  • Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our
Beloved's.
~Hafiz