The Simple Life

From a book I’ve just read. The author spent a lot of time in the main square in Marrakesh, listening to the beggars’ repetitive chanting:

“Back from Morocco, I once sat down with eyes closed and legs crossed in a corner of my room and tried to say “Allah! Allah! Allah!” over and over again for half an hour at the right speed and volume. I tried to imagine myself going on saying it for a whole day and a large part of the night; taking a short sleep and then beginning again; doing the same thing for days and weeks, months and years; growing old and older and living like that, and clinging tenaciously to that life; flying into a fury if something disturbed me in that life; wanting nothing else, sticking to it utterly.

I understood the seduction there is in a life that reduces everything to the simplest kind of repetition.”


5 thoughts on “The Simple Life

  1. Erik R. January 6, 2009 / 11:47 am

    Three thoughts:

    1) We all like a little routine, but that’s a serious extreme!

    2) If I didn’t know what that chant meant, I might think those people were meditating Buddhists.

    3) I can just see God (as drawn in the Simpsons, in my mind) parting the clouds and screaming, “WHAT!?!!?” like a mother whose kid has just said, “Mommy, look!” four thousand times. 🙂


  2. simonlitton January 6, 2009 / 1:14 pm

    Re: number 3 – that’ll be you in a few years’ time.


  3. Helen D January 8, 2009 / 3:52 pm

    I like comment no.3 🙂

    Eagerly awaiting the travel & food review from Morocco – I checked the blog in anticipation so I hope you found some good places to eat! You guys can’t go anywhere now without your loyal readers expecting a full breakdown 😉


  4. simonlitton January 8, 2009 / 3:59 pm

    Helen – full breakdown will be up at the family blog in a few days’ time, and separate pieces on food and random observations will go up here. All good things to those who wait…


  5. J January 8, 2009 / 4:49 pm

    That is indeed a striking excerpt. There is a seductive quality to giving yourself up to such a life, to not having expectations or hopes or goals.

    At the same time, it makes me kind of sick to think of spending my whole life that way.


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