Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Stuff

  Had a dream the other night. We were ordered to pack a suitcase and prepare to leave. What with the instability of the world, it is easy to see that current events can affect the subject matter of our dreams. I don't know who ordered this or where we were going. I had the sense that it was to leave the country or the planet, not sure which (I do watch my share of sci-fi movies and shows). I remember it being a difficult process to decide what few items to take and what to leave behind.
  The next morning, I thought about the dream and it reminded me of an article I recently read in Time concerning our possessions. In it Sarah Begley wrote:

Humanity has a “stuff” problem. Even in frugal Germany, the average person owns 10,000 objects, and as a whole, our trash has clogged the oceans’ surfaces with 18,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometer. But in his new book, Empire of Things, which chronicles the history of material culture, Frank Trentmann suggests we can’t reverse course without acknowledging how emotionally attached we’ve become to our possessions. Six centuries ago, the average person owned limited, utilitarian goods. Now, with the modern market’s cheap prices and abundance of choice, more people can (and do) make personal statements about their identity through cars, clothes and kitchenware–and they change those statements often. In this sense, “things are an inextricable part of what makes us human,” Trentmann writes. But to protect our planet–and ourselves–he concludes that we need to better appreciate “the pleasures [that come] from a deeper and longer-lasting connection to fewer things.”

  Something to think about, just don't ask me to give up my antique radio collection!

Everything in excess is opposed to nature. - Hippocrates

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