One of our M.Ed. graduates at the Institute for Humane Education, Christopher Greenslate, and his partner, Kerri, have embarked on a new project. For a month, they are eating on less than $1 per day each. You can read about their journey on their blog.
As I read their first week of blog entries, I found myself thinking about how important it is to break out of the unexamined routine of our lives. As Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Yet, how many of us actually examine our lives and challenge our assumptions, our ideas, our beliefs, and our behaviors?
When Christopher and Kerri end their experiment they will have learned so much: about poverty, desire, and themselves, and about the billion people in the world who go to bed hungry every night. They will have become cleverer and more resilient, more introspective, more aware. They will have cultivated their ability to persevere, their courage, and their creativity. They will have paid more attention to what surrounds them – not only to the availability of free food at fast food restaurants and in dumpsters, but also to plants and trees from which they can forage. They will have learned about the systems of food distribution and production.
And they will have deepened their capacity to make MOGO (Most Good) choices. What often makes living according to the MOGO principle difficult is that our desires, fears, and habits compete so vigorously with our commitment to lead an examined, intentional, positive, generous life. Most of us resist change; we become attached to our habits and mistake our desires for needs.
I love what Christopher and Kerri are doing for so many reasons, but what is most compelling to me is that by embarking on this challenging project, they open themselves ever more deeply to the possibilities for positive change because they have cultivated their ability to understand, to act, and to choose.