On not owning a couch

The best thing that fairly well-to-do parents can do today would be to refuse the temptation to buy their children their first couch. A few recent tweets tell something of the story about the American precariat:

‘Student Debt Slows Growth as Young Spend Less’ http://nyti.ms/10xd0uG  (More news about status of American #precariat)

‘The Idled Young Americans’: on the precariat. http://nyti.ms/11Hwf5V  ‘26.2 percent of Americans between ages 25 & 34 were not working.’

‘Suicide Rates Rise Sharply in U.S.’ http://nyti.ms/132PIRn 

Prudent 20- and 30-somethings will need to learn to live without beds when sleeping bags will do just fine. Places one might live should be already furnished; rent is to be avoided at all costs; leases are conceptual mistakes. Parents should buy their children a decent laptop and a good backpack and then let them be.

Unlike their parents, young adults will need to regard the unforeseen as a surprise, not as a sign of terror. They will have to cultivate courage and patience, openness and attention. They will have to replace ‘knowing’ with ‘not knowing, thus going and finding out for themselves.’ Most of all, they will have to pare down their inventory of items to only the basic essentials.

Early on, they might find in The Daodejing an excellent example of traveling through the world like a sparrow undistracted. They will have to settle down or settle in, of course, but settling for them will look like a very different thing. They will have to figure out how to be at home in a new world, one yet to be revealed.

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