Human Scale and Pace
Parva means small, and the Parva Project is part of the larger simplicity movement, but with a couple of twists. The focus here is on human scale and pace, which is more of a philosophical underpinning than it is a concept. The larger work of Fritz Schumacher and John Senior mention this, but almost as if in passing. You see, up until the industrial age, we didn’t have the problem of people being disconnected. Disconnected from what, you ask? From each other. From nature. Most recently even ourselves. Surprisingly those attacking these problems most forcefully are architects and urbanists like Jan Gehl and Philip Bess. More than likely you do not recognize those names. You should. They and others like them are shaping the way people think about the best way to live.
Have you ever felt, even just in the fleeting moments before you fall asleep, that you weren’t meant to live like you’re living?
Well, guess what?
You aren’t supposed to be living like this. There is a proper human scale and pace, and we aren’t living it in the first part of the 21st century. To be honest, we haven’t been respecting it for quite awhile now.
There is an optimum human scale and pace, which leads me to my second twist. I am simplifying my life. I have been in fits and starts since 2007, but over the past couple of years I have gotten serious. Not being one to go it alone, however, I created the Parva Project to invite as many of you as want to, to come along with me.
That is why the Parva Project is here. I’m here to prove to you that a life lived at a human scale and pace can be exciting and fulfilling. Check the website often to see how I am doing, and let me know what you think. There are people from all walks of life who have noticed that something is drastically wrong with the way we are living, and are implementing changes into their lives that they feel gets them closer to the ideal. That ideal is a powerfully evocative vision of a simplified and sustainable life full of love for life, family and friends, and the world in which we live. If we live simply and sustainably, joyfully embracing a human scale and pace, others will want what we have, and join with us.
Nobody else is doing what we are doing! Will you join us?
As a long time contingency planner, and a masters degree candidate studying emergency and disaster management, time and again I read journal articles, stories, and websites about sustainability and building resilient communities. It intersects nicely with how I have tried more and more to live my life the past several years, moving closer and closer to the ideal, and having been deeply moved by the writings of Aldo Leopold, and as I mentioned earlier, E.F. Schumacher, and even the late, great professor of classics at the University of Kansas, John Senior.
It was Schumacher and Senior, both alive at the same time but operating independently so far as I can tell, who described human scale and pace. From a practical level, it is what drives me.
“There is such a thing as human nature, and therefore there is an objective and determinable human scale and pace. There is, in short, an optimum environment for the growth of the human species.” –John Senior
Determining that ideal environment and how to get back to it, concretely, one step at a time, is why the Parva Project exists. I hope that you will accompany me on this adventure.
It is time for a return to a human scale and pace. Maybe the Parva Project will be instrumental in changing the world, but if it is, it will be because it changed one person at a time who changed his or her family; one family at a time who changed a neighborhood; one neighborhood at a time which changed a community.
And as Senior also memorably stated, we’ll probably fail, because we are human, but maybe in the process we’ll become friends. I would like that.
Finally, a note about worldview
The Parva Project is an unflinching advocate for human life. While concerns about the earth’s carrying capacity have caused some individuals and organizations to attempt or advocate control measures, it is important to recognize that all human life is sacred, and that nobody has the right to dictate to a family how few or how many children they can have. The earth’s carrying capacity is not set in stone, but challenges to planetary habitation can and should be met with creativity and innovation, not draconian regulation policies or coercion. Anything else is an affront to the dignity of the human person.