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Gråmåse 2008. Mod. section from photo at Wikimedia Commons

Go for solid gains; be about as healthy as you can, and try to adjust to the Triple Gem, also called the Three Treasures in Buddhism. The gem may loosely be understood as (1 and 2) honouring Buddha by adjusting to his foremost teachings: "He honours me best who practices my teaching best," says Buddha (Narada 1988, 287) (3 and possibly 4) seeking company with like-minded individuals, or better.

A Buddhist samgha (company, group, etc.) is of followers. A true friend helps; a company of them is said to work much better, and may do so for each involved also, if life as a hermit does not agree as well with you as with Albert Einstein.

Einstein I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity. - Albert Einstein

A case for going solo

If one's good company is not quite good enough, then going solo - at least for a while - may be better. That is what the Tibetan yogi Milarepa and hundreds of other yogis say or show. At any rate, do what you can: accommodate well.

Going Solo (2014) is a book by Eric Klinenberg. He is a professor of sociology at the New York University and the editor of the journal Public Culture. Drawing on more than three hundred in-depth interviews, Klinenberg shows that people who live alone enjoy better mental health and have more environmentally sustainable lifestyles. Klinenberg argues that mass urbanisation, communications technology, and liberalised attitudes are behind the increase in adults living alone, also called singletons.

With divorce rates increasing, about half of the population may benefit from knowing how to be alone because if it happens divorcees, widows and and widowers may be better prepared. The rush to single livings is even more marked in Britain, Scandinavia and Japan than it is in the US. Elderly single people - most often widows - are not fighting over the handful of old men still just about standing. Singles are a symptom of a society's growing wealth, Klinenberg finds. So if people can afford to live alone, then they might as well do.

Given the trends, many might benefit from learning how to make singleton living work. It helps to be thrifty so as to be able to afford it, and it may help to get some housework tips, so as not to appear too messy - just in case. Two books come to mind. One is Thrifty Living (2010), and one is Outwitting Housework (2018), both by Barty Phillips. They reflect UK conditions, but many of their hints may be applied in other countries too.

Over the last thirty years we have seen men's participation in both housework and childcare has increased and women's have stayed at about the same. - James Levine

Mature smartness may help. Albert Einstein:

Einstein Einstein once declared that his second greatest idea after the theory of relativity was to add an egg while cooking soup in order to produce a soft-boiled egg without having an extra pot to wash.

Anyway, one had better not be taken in by sinister ideas. The all-round strategy of same Buddhist living could serve many folks very well. Be careful not to dispense with your own sweet heart, for "Who keeps company with wolves, will learn to howl, not only growl."

For the sake of soundness, the art of living may be learnt.

Getting likable and reliable is not by "buying" and conforming to big lies.


Going solo, advancing in life, Literature  

Klinenberg, Eric. 2014. Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone. Paperback ed. London: Duckworth Overlook.

Phillips, Barty. 2010. Thrifty Living. London: Teach Yourself.

Phillips, Barty. 2018. Outwitting Housework: 101 Cunning Strategies. London: Michael O'Mara Books.

Narada. 1988. The Buddha and His Teachings. 4th ed. Kuala Lumpur: Buddhist Missionary Society.

Harvesting the hay

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