The Voluntary Life: July 2015

28 July 2015

215 Extreme Decluttering

“Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.”
 Charles Warner

Over the last three years, I've reduced my possessions to only those things that will fit inside one suitcase and one hand luggage bag. My wife and I decided to pursue extreme decluttering, in order to make a lifestyle of long-term travel more practical.

Decluttering was easy at first, but got harder the more extreme I took it. My possessions were not just serving practical needs, but emotional ones too. I had to work out how to address those needs before I could get rid of my stuff. Decluttering also forced me to acknowledge mistakes I had made in the past— mistakes I preferred to avoid thinking about.

Overall, extreme decluttering has been a fantastic learning process. I feel much freer because of it. I think that you can benefit in a similar way by decluttering, even if you don't want to reduce your stuff in such an extreme way as I did.

Show Notes:

Listen to Episode 215 (19 mins)

21 July 2015

214 From Drama To Empowerment: Discussion With Hannah Braime

In this week's podcast episode, special guest Hannah Braime talks about how to free yourself from a life of drama and move to a life of empowerment. Hannah is a coach, author, and host of Becoming Who You Are.

We discuss some powerful concepts from the field of psychology that Hannah uses in her coaching. She explains how easy it is to get stuck playing a series of roles in your life— acting out a script written by someone else. These roles are all too familiar: "the victim", "the persecutor" and "the rescuer". Hannah explains how to empower yourself to leave such roles behind and live life according to your own plans. I really enjoyed the discussion and I think you will find it both interesting and helpful.

Show Notes:
Listen to Episode 214 (25m)

13 July 2015

213 How To Think For Yourself Part 3: Logic And The Courage To Follow It

Part 3 in the series on how to think for yourself is all about logic. Here is how you reach true conclusions about any question in life: start with undeniable premises and use valid logic.  Logic— used in reasoned argument— is the universal, impartial method that humans have for finding the truth together peacefully. Yet very few people use logic consistently. I discuss some reasons why it is so hard to be logically consistent. The most important reason is that it takes courage to follow an argument to its logical conclusion, especially if the conclusion is not accepted by the majority of people around you. If you want to think for yourself, you need more than just valid logic— you also have to have the courage to follow it.

Show Notes:

6 July 2015

212 How To Think For Yourself Part 2: Science And Rationality

Last week I suggested two key challenges to resolve if you want to think for yourself:

  1. How do you tell truth from falsehood? 
  2. How do you know what you can be certain of? 

This episode is about how the scientific method can help address the first of these challenges: determining truth. I provide a summary of the philosophy of science and the rules for deciding whether a theory qualifies as scientific.

However, there is a huge problem with the philosophy of science when it comes to addressing the challenge of certainty. The scientific method—as defined by leading philosophers of science—is self-contradictory. It's not even an accurate representation of what practicing scientists do (which is why scientists tend to ignore philosophers and just get on with it). In the episode, I explain how rationality is the necessary foundation of science—more fundamental even than empiricism—and how it provides the certainty that makes the scientific method possible.

Show Notes:

Listen to Episode 212