Note: copied this from the original R4nger5 site from waaaaay back in the day of the Cobalt Raq server. Originally written by V.

We don’t provide skills and products for ourselves any more, and it may be this that gives us an unrealistic feeling of impotence. I don’t mean that I don’t want to live in the modern world; I wouldn’t live at any other time, even if I had the choice. I more mean that so much is provided to us (usually for a small fee), that we forget that It was not so very long ago, that upon reaching adulthood, most people would probably know all the skills that they would need for the rest of their, albeit short, lives.

I want to take back some of those skills. I want to be able to do more for myself. I want to prove to myself that, in the absence of the massive support structure of our culture, I can at least start to provide for my needs. In the presence of that support structure, I want to lead as interesting and happy life as possible.

Learning to do things for yourself, tends to make you a lot more confident in your own abilities, and therefore a lot happier.

Then, when you start trying to do more things for yourself, you begin to start asking, ‘What do I actually need?’

Needs are a core point in our society, and I think that most of the things we are told we need are, at best, wants. The difference between a want and a need is obvious. But in modern society, with the constant barrage of advertising and social peer pressures, I think the line has become somewhat blurred.

Time to sharpen the edges, a bit.

You only really need water, food, shelter and warmth, in order to survive. The rest are wants. It’s OK, and healthy, to have wants, but it’s necessary to be able to tell the difference. It is a cornerstone of my philosophy that we become able to choose our wants.

I want to reinforce that last sentence, so I will repeat:

Choose your wants.

That probably sounds a little simple and/or patronizing. If so, I apologise. But that one sentence represents a really hard change in my outlook that took quite a while for me to actualize. Once I did enact that one premise, I suddenly felt a lot happier. Mostly because I found I wanted what I wanted, not what everyone else wanted me to want. Then once that was realised, I came to another conclusion:

If it was essential for your well being, it wouldn’t need to be sold to you.

Of course, some things that you would normally consider to be needs are sold to you, but in every instance what they are selling is not necessarily the thing you need, but a particular brand of the thing you need, such as a particular type of bread, or a particular pair of jeans. You can circumvent this by focusing on the quality of the product in question. Does this particular brand do the thing it does any better than another brand? Will you enjoy using a particular brand more than another brand? You can cut through this eventually by taking some time to properly evaluate the relevant product, then discard those that are merely more expensive, without being necessarily better. Eventually, you will be able to discern between brand names and quality – they can be two very different things. In short, and to borrow a quote:

What does it do? How well does it do it?

Excluding aesthetic criteria, this should sort the wheat from the chaff, as it were. If you know that, for your price scale, you have the best possible product for your needs, then you’ll be happy with your choice.

Once you have sorted out your needs and wants,you can start to understand how to make yourself happy. Since you are already starting to understand how society and the media program you, you can start exploring and choosing what you want to do, or learn to do, maybe express yourself artistically and start actually making your own choices and decisions.

The rest of my choices tend to be related to skills I wish to acquire, and things I would like to learn to do for myself, and others. This need not take up lots of time or money, as generally there is a quick and/or cheap way to acquire any given skill, as long as you don’t need to be an expert in it. If you wish to learn carpentry, get some tools and wood and do it. If you want to learn about computer networks, then build one. The trick is to have a good reason to acquire that equipment and to learn those skills. The more complex a skill , the more rewarding it is to learn. Elsewhere in this site I will explore some of the things I want to learn, and investigate the most efficient way to go about them. One of the criteria for me learning how to do something is cost. It can be far cheaper, as well as more interesting, to learn that skill than paying for the expertise and materials to be supplied by an outside agency.

Doing stuff for yourself is interesting. Sometimes getting the information can be tricky. Sometimes the people who know how to do it don’t know how to go about telling complete novices how to do the things they do easily. Sometimes people don’t believe anyone else would be interested in what they do.

I think there’s a place for useful information like that.

And that’s what I wanted to achieve for this site. A place where people can impart, and gather information on how to do new stuff. get interesting links and express their own creativity. To do more and want less. There’s a lot of information out there. People have interesting ideas and come up with clever ways to do things all the time. I want Them to be able to let the world know about their creativity. Here.

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Philosophy from R4nger5