Truthfully, this book was going to be called RV Zen, but that was already taken.
Then I looked up Zen. It had nothing to do with this book’s main idea. Nothing at all.
How many words do we think we know what they mean, but have no clue. [ I once had a friend that thought “platonic” mean sex without commitment because the girl he spent many hours with kept saying they had a platonic relationship. True story. ]
Penultimate is a word like that too.
To me, that sounded like the BIG ultimate, the MAIN ultimate, the ultimate above all ultimates.
I would tell people “The software we’re making is the PENULTIMATE in development software.” I used that darned saying for a year or two.
One day, I’m telling someone that our software was the PENULTIMATE way of doing some little thing that seemed important in that meeting. One of the engineer that I’m good friends with says to me “Did you really mean to tell him that our software is the 2nd best?”
Then I looked up the word penultimate. It literally means second best. I was mortified. I had said that word in that context to 1000’s of people!
So I looked I better look up ZEN. It has a whole lot more to do with meditation and intuition than anything. All good stuff – but not what this book is about.
Zen is absolutely NOT the way to lesser stuff. Althooooough lesser stuff MAY be a path to Zen.
No. This is more about minimalism. But minimalism cannot be about simply doing without.
It has to be a state of mind.
You see, you gotta get something in return for minimizing possessions. Sure – I’ll show you how possessions are terribly costly and that simply minimizing your PHYSICAL footprint on the planet can be good for you economically. But more than, I’ll show you how all that stuff actually has a gigantic negative toll on your psyche and spirituality.
So when I thought about a symbolic anchor that people might get I thought about the Spartans.
They were WAY above the idea of things. They put the idea of excellence, presence, team, & relationships above all else. I love that.
So the idea of Sparta, of a spartan existence balled together everything I thought should go together. It combined an ethic of excellence and utilitarianism with a symbol that to me, just makes sense.
Some of you may have a negative idea attached to the idea of “being Spartan”. I don’t agree with that idea. You choose to be Spartan because of the incredible integrity of your being. This is the real and inclusive meaning of “integrity” here – not the abbreviated version meaning “good morals”.
So in my RV, “we are Sparta”.
[ Sidenote: A really fun movie about Sparta and the Spartans is 300 [Blu-ray] from Amazon. Massively entertaining show! Another sidenote is that a book that starts to get at the heart of the mental state I’m descibing here is a book called The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. ]