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Author: reader99 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 37076  
Subject: The Modern Challenge of Stuff (long) Date: 3/4/2001 1:23 PM
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A poster on another board (Seattle Pioneer) often posts about how different it is nowadays in this country with regard to accessibility of material objects, and he got me thinking about it.

200 years ago if you wanted a new shirt someone had to grow the cotton, spin the thread, weave the cloth, cut the pattern, and sew the seams by hand. After carving the buttons from wood or horn. Whew! Now we can grab them off the rack by the handful, and for next to nothing at a thrift or 'dollar' store.

In today's USA, having Stuff isn't that hard anymore. I've visited people who had been short of money for years and their home was jammed with Stuff. Mostly poor quality, but stuff all the same. We used to have a homeless guy sleep on our back porch (long story), he stored his Stuff under the house - bags and bags of it.

Getting Stuff isn't the hard part any more. Now the real challenge is to make concious decisions about how much Stuff to have, and to keep from spending all your energy maintaining your Stuff.

I spent the 80's acquiring Stuff, and the 90's cutting way back on it. My quest for the 00s is to see how little physical stuff I can manage with. This is partly a spiritual journey, shifting emphasis to God and to interactions with other people, family, friends. Activities instead of acquisitions. Parties not purchases. Conversation vs. gifts. Social events not shopping trips.

It is also partly an experiment to push the limits of the digitalization of life. I already use only online reference works [www.britannica.com, www.m-w.com, www.google.com] instead of bound books. The only physical books in my house are library fiction. Ten years ago I was dragging 575 books around with me.
I bought a scanner, and as soon as I can convince it to work I'll scan 40 years of photographs in and do fun creative stuff with them. I'll pass the physical pictures on to others.

Years ago I made a spreadsheet file of what we owned, for homeowners insurance. We don't have contents insurance now, but I have kept up with the list and now turned it into a sort of countdown. Each time I find a non-physical substitute for something and get rid of an object, or just get rid, I delete from the list and the count goes down. A compulsive's idea of a good time!

I'm waiting for the invention of a wrist hologram generator that puts digital clothes on you. No more laundry! A Star Trek replicator that makes your meals from energy -- no pantry storage. Can't think of a digital substitute for furniture. Force-fields?



Reader99
Gone around the bend
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