‘There Are Better Riches Than Commerce’ And Other Lessons From Nick Offerman

<‘There Are Better Riches Than Commerce’ And Other Lessons From Nick Offerman>

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think a lot of the answer to where we, as a species, have gotten off on the wrong fork lies in that. The consumerist powers that be have learned that they can sell us human nature. And again, this initially comes from a couple of different pieces of Wendell Berry writing, that we’ve been sold a bill of goods that work is dirty or beneath us and that if we can, the good life, or making it big or when our ship comes in, then we’ll no longer have to work, that that’s something to aspire to.

And I had a seminal moment early on in my relationship with Megan. When she was on Will and Grace, we lived in a beautiful little house in the Hills with a little swimming pool. And one day, I think I was about 30, 31, and I thought, oh, I’ve made it. I’m now living the life of Riley. I’m going to smoke a joint, put on some Neil Young on my outdoor speakers because I’ve made it, and I’m going to float in the pool.

And I did that for about a song and a half, and then I thought, well, what are you going to do, just lay here all day? And I was like, oh, yeah, how is this good? I’m not going to get anything done. That sounds like a recipe for depression and addiction, whereas if I take the tools I’ve been given and apply them —

so that’s when it really hit home for me that it’s another version of it’s the journey, not the destination. By making things at my wood shop or by writing a book or by writing funny songs and touring the country and singing them to audiences, those are all ways in which I’m not drinking too much beer or powering a massive yacht to the Virgin Islands or so forth and so on. Jeff Tweedy has always said, he just tries to live in a way where he creates more things than he destroys.

And it’s that sensibility in the same way the simple act of walking is such a profound practice, profound discipline that A, it foments so much creativity in me and so many of the people I admire, writers and creative heads. They go for a walk. That’s how George thinks about the bananas, exquisite ideas that he comes up with. Jeff goes for a walk. Wendell Berry goes for a walk. And he says this great thing about the pace and setting limits for yourself. Once we got to vehicles, we no longer see the countryside around us.

And if my book is about paying attention to the nature precisely where we exist, like the actual watershed that we are taking part in, the faster your car goes, the less you see of it. And he says, back when you had to walk or at least go at the pace of a horse, not only then did you notice the leaves on the trees, the health of the stream, the health of your neighbor’s house — oh, that needs a paint job. Oh, they’ve done a nice job. Oh, look, they’ve built a milk house. They’re doing well, et cetera.

That sensibility at my wood shop, I don’t know, it just really hit home where, first, I became a woodworker by myself because I was obsessed with it, and then it became a little business and I hired employees. And I said, you know, we’re not here to make as much money as we can. We might as well go work at a factory or pour concrete, neither of which are super fun. I want you guys to have a good life. I want your input in what we make and how we make it so that we make enough money to stay out of the red but also have a happy life together.

And so that’s my third book, which is my woodworking book, but it also is full of recipes for our cookouts. And I had everybody in the shop write a chapter of the book because it’s about how a community of inputs creates a much better recompense in life, whether it’s a family or a theater company or a wood shop. I had a line that I love that was like, eight people with one beer each is so much better than one guy with eight beers.

And so it’s all about that. I had the gift of growing up with the eight people with one beer and understanding that if we could all work together to make something, it’s that together and the work that is even more important than the pay you receive at the end of it. And if you turn that into a lifetime, I think cumulatively, we end up with a much better grasp on a lot of these problems of scale that we’re talking about.

And I’m so grateful, as the person that I grew up as, that somehow my parents and my family and community gave me the tools to have the ears and eyes to cotton to what people like Wendell and Richard Powers and George and Jeff and James Rebanks and so forth are laying down. Because I’m 51. I’m going to I’m going to go to work and try to make a living and keep those around me happy and behave like a human being. And I’m so grateful that I’ve been shown by the wisdom of calmer heads than mine that one can do that while trying to say I love you.

Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/12/opinion/ezra-klein-podcast-nick-offerman.html

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‘There Are Better Riches Than Commerce’ and Other Lessons From Nick Offerman

Source:New York Times

‘There Are Better Riches Than Commerce’ and Other Lessons From Nick Offerman