Author Topic: Early FI and the Allegory of the Cave  (Read 4319 times)

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Early FI and the Allegory of the Cave
« on: January 26, 2016, 08:14:23 AM »
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_Cave

It seems that the more I orient my life towards early FI the more I am alienated from other people.

Not strictly early FI but cutting cable made me an outsider on a lot of discussion about TV shows and even ads. It's surprising how much TV ads influence daily discussions.
Saving more money than other people at my salary level means I vacation less and spend less on luxuries. I go out to restaurants a lot less too.

I know it is the right choice for me; especially as I work in a specialty that is less in demand as time goes on and salary drops as a lot of it is moved offshore. But right now it seems like I'm the guy that prepares for the apocalypse while other people dance and drink and wonder why I am not taking part.

arebelspy

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Re: Early FI and the Allegory of the Cave
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2016, 08:55:46 AM »
Once you're out, you'll find plenty of us wandering around enjoying the grass under our feet and the clean air.

It's a great filter for finding people you truly connect with, and much more enjoyable to talk about real things than the shadow puppet reality wall show everyone else is talking about, IMO.  :)
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bobechs

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Re: Early FI and the Allegory of the Cave
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2016, 09:45:31 AM »
First it's does Atlas Shrugged = MMM?

Now it's Plato. Sheesh, it's like beer over pizza in college.

My nomination for MMM-ly literary inspiration is Howard the Duck.

Trapped in a world he never made.

CATman

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Re: Early FI and the Allegory of the Cave
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2016, 12:32:05 PM »
I wouldn't stress about it too much. Yes, you are living your life differently, but you're got your eye on the long game and not the here and now like most people. I wouldn't worry about cable, I cut that long ago and have only had one person really push me on it and think it was "weird", but I think she had some other issues going on. If you are looking for commonalities with people you can always focus on a plethora of other subjects and you'll be surprised what people are up to. One great way to do this is to ask people what they do when they're not working. You may find you keep company with some interesting underwater basket weavers ;)

 

Khaetra

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Re: Early FI and the Allegory of the Cave
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2016, 01:20:30 PM »
I wouldn't stress about it too much. Yes, you are living your life differently, but you're got your eye on the long game and not the here and now like most people. I wouldn't worry about cable, I cut that long ago and have only had one person really push me on it and think it was "weird", but I think she had some other issues going on. If you are looking for commonalities with people you can always focus on a plethora of other subjects and you'll be surprised what people are up to. One great way to do this is to ask people what they do when they're not working. You may find you keep company with some interesting underwater basket weavers ;)

+1.

You'll never know unless you ask and maybe one or two of them might teach you if they mention something that sounds interesting.  I learned how to crochet and home-brew, thanks to a couple past co-workers. 

PhysicianOnFIRE

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Re: Early FI and the Allegory of the Cave
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2016, 01:21:55 PM »
Like a arebelspy said, once you are no longer stuck in that job, you won't be stuck hearing about American Idol, Dancing With Stars, or the latest Geico commercial.  You'll be able to spend time with people interested in more meaningful conversation.  And you'll be able to spend time with yourself doing whatever you want.  Outside the cave.

In the meantime, if you feel deprived by all of this, maybe do some of the things you might actually enjoy.  I doubt it's the TV watching, but if might like to drink and dance with friends or coworkers, do it!  Find ways to keep your costs down.  Have a drink or 2 at home first, alternate drinks and waters at the club (good way to minimize hangover too btw), enjoy happy hour prices, etc...  I don't necessarily condone it, but I recall MMM telling us he's not above bringing in a flask to fortify his bar drinks. 

soccerluvof4

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Re: Early FI and the Allegory of the Cave
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2016, 05:42:41 PM »
Find ways to do things that you enjoy that cost little or nothing and be the one that starts the conversation like " i went fishing the other day or have you guys read the book"? They will probably feel like your talking.

zephyr911

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Re: Early FI and the Allegory of the Cave
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2016, 06:14:10 PM »
Once you're out, you'll find plenty of us wandering around enjoying the grass under our feet and the clean air.

It's a great filter for finding people you truly connect with, and much more enjoyable to talk about real things than the shadow puppet reality wall show everyone else is talking about, IMO.  :)
Au contraire, mon frere. It is YOU who are missing out! Come back inside and grab a TV dinner... Dancing With the Real Mob Kardashian Chefs is on... :P

@ OP: I guess I'm lucky in a way to have always been a little socially awkward. When the subject turns to finances and none of the ideas in the room are even in the ballpark with my own... eh? I just add that to all the other subjects I can't connect with my average CW on. I know who and where my friends are.

big_slacker

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Re: Early FI and the Allegory of the Cave
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2016, 08:26:34 AM »
I swear I responded to this thread right after it was posted but may have been deleted cause I mentioned religion, I didn't think in an inflammatory way. Anyway, big fan, the republic was the first philosophy book I read leading to others.

But it comes down to this. Even if you view the world through a different lens than your co-workers, you're all still humans. You should not feel alienated, that's a strong word. Most people have something to offer, even if they have SOME interests that don't sync with yours. It just might happen that you'll learn something, or make a lifelong friend. Or it might be that your example leads others to shift their lifestyles towards a more healthy one. This never happens if you withdraw, because you're seen as an outsider who does weird things instead of another one of us who did things a little different.

Ricky

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Re: Early FI and the Allegory of the Cave
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2016, 09:13:32 AM »
Not strictly early FI but cutting cable made me an outsider on a lot of discussion about TV shows and even ads. It's surprising how much TV ads influence daily discussions.
Saving more money than other people at my salary level means I vacation less and spend less on luxuries. I go out to restaurants a lot less too.

* Cutting cable is happening on a cultural level, independent of financial motives. People, not just information-conscious consumer Mustachians, are fed up with commercials and paying for things they don't watch. Netflix is slowly changing the game until we get to a point where we simply pay for what we watch.

* I don't know if people are actually eating out less as a whole, but you'd sure think they are with all of the healthy eating movements that have garnered traction over the past 10 years, not to mention all of America's general obsession with eating salads now. So, there's definitely reasons to eat out less other than simply saving money. Being healthier, learning valuable skills (good cooking), and spending more time with loved ones by involving them in the cooking are all reasons for not eating out less. Saving money is only the byproduct.

* I won't say that the general population is traveling less - because that probably isn't true. But I can almost guarantee that travel from city to city will become almost nonexistent in the future as technology brings everything we'd ever want right to us. And travel will become a nominal expense in the future so it will almost be synonymous with eating as we develop more efficient technologies and infrastructure. That's my guess. Lots of people are already living like this though by ordering everything they need online, working from home, etc.

So, as you can see, not all of these obvious money-saving habits are rooted by the motivation to save money. This blog primarily advocates for living a better life. Saving money is just the by-product. Being FI simply opens up the door for you to explore your perfect-fitting lifestyle. It doesn't mean you can't find like-minded people now even if you have to deal with a few socially constructed minions at the moment.

Honestly, knowledge is both a blessing and a curse. It opens some doors, and closes others. Once those doors are closed, you can't ever look back or see what's inside again. It's a literal wall between what you know now and what you knew then. Yes, it can be very depressing and isolating. To know everything would be to be put in the most isolated position fathomable. Once you begin to complicate knowledge with people's beliefs (things that can't be proven but are guiding lights) then it becomes even more complex and difficult to find people that you can tolerate for over 5 minutes.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2016, 09:21:29 AM by Ricky »

StetsTerhune

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Re: Early FI and the Allegory of the Cave
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2016, 09:18:30 AM »
One of my friends at work compared me to the guy from Flowers for Algernon the other day. Both flattering and depressing I guess. Very true though, I'm so far gone that I have no way to relate to people at work.

Edit: Not just at work, it feels like I'm having  hard time relating to everyone everywhere. Seems like 90% of conversations are people complaining about things. I can't complain about anything, my life is awesome. I also can't talk about how awesome my life is to the person complaining. I need to find friends whose lives are as awesome as mine.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2016, 10:02:25 AM by StetsTerhune »

hypocrispy

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Re: Early FI and the Allegory of the Cave
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2016, 09:31:45 AM »
Just a comment on cable cutting and feeling like an outsider:

I cut cable about 5 years ago, long before I ever even dreamed of concepts like FIRE. I used to feel like an outsider too when people (coworkers in particular) would start talking about their favorite ads and shows and they would feel the need to constantly point out in this pretentious manner that I wouldn't know what they were talking about because I didn't watch TV. Until Games of Thrones. I convinced people for a couple years that I was watching the show even though I had only read the books. Eventually the show strayed from the books enough I was caught but it was really nice FU to their general disdain about my lack of cable TV.

Fire2025

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Re: Early FI and the Allegory of the Cave
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2016, 11:22:29 AM »
Not strictly early FI but cutting cable made me an outsider on a lot of discussion about TV shows and even ads. It's surprising how much TV ads influence daily discussions.
Saving more money than other people at my salary level means I vacation less and spend less on luxuries. I go out to restaurants a lot less too.

I can totally relate to how you're feeling.  I'm an artist working in Corporate America.  I have never been able to relate to my co-workers, that well. 

The strategy I use to fit in and create good working relationships, if they bring up TV shows, I say "That sounds so fun, maybe I'll check it out".  Or with commercials I say, "No, I haven't seen that one, I'll have to keep my eyes pealed for it, sounds hilarious." 

I try really hard not to "create" the distance myself.  I never say, "oh I don't have cable",  I just ask them all about their favorite show and they are happy to go on and on about how great it is.