Today at a thrift store I bought two bags of assorted kitchen supplies and five nice shirts for 17 dollars and change.
I’m not a fan of shopping. Inside of most stores I feel like I’m inside a half-world, where everything is not quite real, but everyone pretends it is. But it’s not just in the mall, where the glare of bullshit blinds. It’s a persistent sense of unease with the status quo, a feeling like somehow this homogenized profit-world turns all who participate in it into their own shadows.
It’s that feeling that really lies behind my trip to Denton Thrift. No matter how grand the philosophical architecture of my reasoning, moral action, when it comes down to it, requires feeling. Visceral, sensual, primal. I’m compelled to think about the choices I make on a day-to-day basis because I feel the urgency of acting as though I am on stage, and all history is my backdrop. This is my moment: the present: the confluence of creativity and history. Whatever I do will irrevocable alter the set for the future. Now I must act.
What should I do?
By god I hope I sing my lungs out.
This is how I try to think about every moment. The result is called intentional living.
I don’t always know what’s the right thing to do, but when I conceptualize my life in that way, I’m awful motivated to do what I can. But the question of what to do remains, and so I think of intentional living as a process. In my view, living intentionally means questioning my own actions in order to constantly refine them towards a more vibrantly flourishing self and community.
For me, the refinements that I’m making have to do with reducing the harms I inflict as a consumer. I am a citizen of the largest capitalist empire the world has ever seen, and I object to the way that empire treats its subjects. It destroys whole regions with its greed, gobbling up every life. Therefore, I will try not to support it. When I buy items new from the store, I’m paying directly into the system I claim not to support.