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robertogreco : possessions   48

William Gibson on Watches | WatchPaper
“William Gibson is famously credited with predicting the internet. Early works like Neuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive established him as a major voice in science fiction and the worlds he created still serve as a template for how popular culture views the future. If you’ve seen The Matrix or read any cyberpunk, you’ve seen William Gibson’s influence at work. Equally important, but perhaps less famous are his essays, collected recently in Distrust That Particular Flavour. Highly perceptive and suggestive, they span a range of topics from Singapore’s totalitarianism and Tokyo’s futurism, to the Web and technology’s effect on us all. The volume also contains his glosses on those essays, which were written over a span of 30 years. Brief afterwords, they are his reflections on the content, and on the person who wrote that content at a point and time, and what’s happened since. In his 1997 essay, “My Obsession”, William Gibson chronicled his interest in watches for Wired magazine. [See “My Obsession” https://www.wired.com/1999/01/ebay/ ] The essay is as much about the advent of the internet and sites like eBay as it is about watches, and his afterword to the essay reflects:
People who’ve read this piece often assume that I subsequently became a collector of watches. I didn’t, at least not in my own view. Collections of things, and their collectors, have generally tended to give me the willies. I sometimes, usually only temporarily, accumulate things in some one category, but the real pursuit is in the learning curve. The dive into esoterica. The quest for expertise. This one lasted, in its purest form, for five or six years. None of the eBay purchases documented [in the essay] proved to be “keepers.” Not even close.

Undaunted by his placing this interest squarely in the past, something he got over, I wanted to find out what had survived, physically or intellectually, of his obsession. It turns out, quite a lot. We corresponded via email and William Gibson shared his thoughts on collecting, how he got started, what “keepers” remain in his collection and why. We also talked about the Apple watch and what it means for traditional horology.”

...

"If “old” people, as you mentioned in our recent discussion, are concerned that what they’ve collected will be unwanted, how is that anxiety being manifested? Some watch brands like Patek Philippe use durability, inheritance and legacy as their explicit identity.

I was thinking of someone with dozens of rare military watches. Even if they have children, will the children want their watches? It could be difficult finding the right museum to donate them to, in order to keep the collection intact. I think Patek’s appeal to inheritance and legacy still has some basis, though the wristwatch itself has become a piece of archaic (though still functional) jewelry. You don’t absolutely need one. You do, probably, absolutely need your smartphone, and it also tells the time. Eventually, I assume, virtually everything will also tell the time.

Is there something authentic in collecting we as humans are striving for? What does the impulse represent for you?

I actively enjoy having fewer, preferably better things. So I never deliberately accumulated watches, except as the temporary by-product of a learning curve, as I searched for my own understanding of watches, and for the ones I’d turn out to particularly like. I wanted an education, rather than a collection. But there’s always a residuum: the keepers. (And editing is as satisfying as acquiring, for me.)

Do you think there’s anything intrinsic to watches (their aesthetics, engineering etc.) that make them especially susceptible to our interest?

Mechanical timekeeping devices were among our first complex machines, and became our first ubiquitous complex machines, and the first to be miniaturized. Mechanical wristwatches were utterly commonplace for less than a century. Today, there’s no specific need for a mechanical watch, unless you’re worried about timekeeping in the wake of an Electromagnetic Pulse attack. So we have heritage devices, increasingly archaic in the singularity of their function, their lack of connectivity. But it was exactly that lack that once made them heroic: they kept telling accurate time, regardless of what was going on around them. They were accurate because they were unconnected, unitary.

How do you think the notion of collecting has changed since your preoccupation with watches played itself out? Scarcity (but not true rarity) barely exists any more.

The Internet makes it increasingly easy to assemble a big pile of any category of objects, but has also rationalized the market in every sort of rarity. There’s more stuff, and fewer random treasures. When I discovered military watches, I could see that that was already happening to them, but that there was still a window for informed acquisition. That’s mostly closed now. The world’s attic is now that much more thoroughly sorted and priced!"
watches  williamgibson  ebay  horology  fashion  collecting  collections  learning  howwelearn  2015  esoterica  research  researching  deepdives  expertise  obsessions  cv  immersion  posterity  legacy  analog  mechanical  durability  longevity  inheritance  jewelery  smartphones  understanding  education  self-directed  self-directedlearning  timekeeping  connectivity  scarcity  objects  possessions  ownership  quality  internet  web  online  wristwatches  things  applewatch  pebble  pebblewatch  smartwatches 
9 days ago by robertogreco
Joy [Still Processing] - The New York Times
"Inspired by Netflix’s “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” we decide to KonMari Wesley’s Brooklyn apartment. We ask ourselves what sparks joy in our lives and examine whether Marie Kondo’s philosophy extends into the metaphysical realm.

Discussed this week:

“Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” (Netflix, 2019) https://www.netflix.com/title/80209379

“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” (Marie Kondo, 2014) https://konmari.com/products/the-life-changing-magic-of-tidying-up

“The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter” (Margareta Magnusson, 2017) https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Gentle-Art-of-Swedish-Death-Cleaning/Margareta-Magnusson/9781501173240 "
jennawortham  wesleymorris  mariekondo  legacy  2019  impermanence  konmarimethod  death  possessions  materialism  decluttering  mindfulness  scandinavia  clutter  tidying  organizing  sweden  cleaning  meaningmaking  joy  gratitude  life  living  self-awareness 
february 2019 by robertogreco
A Cluttered Life: Middle-Class Abundance - YouTube
"(Visit: http://www.uctv.tv) Follow a team of UCLA anthropologists as they venture into the stuffed-to-capacity homes of dual income, middle-class American families in order to truly understand the food, toys, and clutter that fill them. Series: "A Cluttered Life: Middle-Class Abundance" [11/2013] [Humanities] [Show ID: 25712]"

[via: https://twitter.com/xraytext/status/999109157612646406 ]

[See also: Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors
http://www.ioa.ucla.edu/press/life-at-home

and "Americans can spend a majority of their time in a few spaces in their home and still want large homes"
https://legallysociable.com/2018/06/03/americans-can-spend-a-majority-of-their-time-in-a-few-spaces-in-their-home-and-still-want-large-homes/

via: https://twitter.com/amandakhurley/status/1003283050782810113 ]
us  consumerism  consumption  hoarding  possessions  excess  2013  children  toys  accumulation  shopping  families  homes  housing  abundance  ethnography 
june 2018 by robertogreco
The Black Outdoors: Fred Moten & Saidiya Hartman at Duke University - YouTube
"The Black Outdoors: Humanities Futures after Property and Possession seeks to interrogate the relation between race, sexuality, and juridical and theological ideas of self-possession, often evidenced by the couplet of land-ownership and self-regulation, a couplet predicated on settler colonialism and historically racist, sexist, homophobic and classist ideas of bodies fit for (self-) governance.

The title of the working group and speaker series points up the ways blackness figures as always outside the state, unsettled, unhomed, and unmoored from sovereignty in its doubled-form of aggressively white discourses on legitimate citizenship on one hand and the public/private divide itself on the other. The project will address questions of the "black outdoors" in relationship to literary, legal, theological, philosophical, and artistic works, especially poetry and visual arts.

Co-convened by J. Kameron Carter (Duke Divinity School/Black Church Studies) and Sarah Jane Cervenak (African American and African Diaspora Studies, UNC-G)"



[Fred Moten (31:00)]

"Sometimes I feel like I just haven't been able to… well, y'all must feel this… somehow I just can't quite figure out a good way to make myself clear when it comes to certain things. But I really feel like it's probably not my fault. I don't know that it's possible to be clear when it comes to these kinds of things. I get scared about saying certain kinds of stuff because I feel like sometimes it can seem really callous, and I don't want to seem that way because it's not because I don't feel shit or because I don't care. But let's talk about it in terms of what it would mean to live in a way that would reveal or to show no signs of human habitation.

Obviously there's a field or a space or a constraint, a container, a bounded space. Because every time you were saying unbounded, J., I kept thinking, "Is that right?" I mean I always remember Chomsky used to make this really interesting distinction that I don' think I ever fully understood between that which was bounded, but infinite and that which was unbounded, but finite. So another way to put it, if it's unbounded, it's still finite. And there's a quite specific and often quite brutal finitude that structures whatever is going on within the general, if we can speak of whatever it is to be within the general framework of the unbounded.

The whole point about escape is that it's an activity. It's not an achievement. You don't ever get escaped. And what that means is whatever you're escaping from is always after you. It's always on you, like white on rice, so to speak. But the thing about it is that I've been interested in, but it's hard to think about and talk about, would be that we can recognize the absolute horror, the unspeakable, incalculable terror and horror that accompanies the necessity of not leaving a trace of human inhabitation. And then there's the whole question of what would a life be that wasn't interested in leaving a trace of human habitation? So, in church, just because my friend Ken requested it, fuck the human. Fuck human inhabitation.

It's this necessity… The phrase I use sometimes and I always think about specifically in relation to Fannie Lou Hamer — because I feel like it's me just giving a spin on a theoretical formulation that she made in practice — is "to refuse that which has been refused to you." That's what I'm interested in. And that doesn't mean that what's at stake is some kind of blind, happy, celebratory attitude towards all of the beautiful stuff we have made under constraint. I love all the beautiful stuff we've made under constraint, but I'm pretty sure I would all the beautiful stuff we'd make out from under constraint better.

But there's no way to get to that except through this. We can't go around this. We gotta fight through this. And that means that anybody who thinks that they can understand how terrible the terror has been without understanding how beautiful the beauty has been against the grain of that terror is wrong. there is no calculus of the terror that can make a proper calculation without reference to that which resists it. It's just not possible."
fredmoten  saidiyahartman  blackness  2016  jkameroncarter  fredricjameson  webdubois  sarahjanecervenak  unhomed  unsettled  legibility  statelessness  illegibility  sovereignty  citizenship  governance  escape  achievement  life  living  fannielouhamer  resistance  refusal  terror  beauty  cornelwest  fugitives  captives  captivity  academia  education  grades  grading  degrading  fugitivity  language  fellowship  conviviality  outdoors  anarchy  anarchism  constraints  slavery  oppression  race  racism  confidence  poverty  privilege  place  time  bodies  body  humans  mobility  possessions 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Why I love my possessions as a mirror and a gallery of me | Aeon Essays
"The trouble is that I am my things and my things are me. I don’t want to relinquish them. This reluctance is not acquisitiveness: it is that I don’t want to abandon myself. Single, childless, I’m all I’ve got: me – and the accumulated external markers of who I am, which are also narrative prompts for the ongoing story of my life. These stories connect me to the past, present, future, and live in nearly everything I own. Those oak tables in my living room come from a Maryland junk shop; embedded in their grain is the story of my bribing friends with a promise of crab cakes in exchange for help transporting the furniture back to New Jersey. A kitschy dish shaped like a duck taking flight reminds me of researching a book in Nashville. The bisque Rosenthal vase shouts: ‘Get back to Berlin’ every time I dust it.

In Being and Nothingness (1943), Jean-Paul Sartre wrote that man wishes to possess things in order to enlarge his sense of self, and that we can know who we are only by observing what we have. Studies of ownership and identity – by marketing experts, anthropologists, psychologists and sociologists – come to the same conclusion: we project our sense of self onto everything we own. According to Russell Belk, a professor of marketing at York University whose 1988 paper about possessions and the extended self remains a touchstone for all subsequent research, this kind of projection serves a valuable function for a healthy personality, ‘acting as an objective manifestation of self’. Humans have a fundamental need to store memories, values and experiences in objects, perhaps to keep them safe from memory loss; proof that, yes, that really happened.

It is not even necessary to own these totemic items for their charge to hold. People speak about ‘my’ television programme, ‘my’ movie star, or ‘my’ seat in a classroom – a form of possessive self-definition that extends to matters of taste as well as to stuff. Questions such as: ‘Are you Beatles or are you Stones? Blur or Oasis?’ are examples of how taste funnels us into tribes that proclaim our aspirations and ideals along with our interests.

Who are my people? Open my front door and the first thing you notice are books. They line the walls, hover overhead, and stack up on tables. Each is a chunk of autobiography, a clue to who I was while reading it, what I found to love inside its pages and where it sent me next. Umberto Eco understood this phenomenon well, saying: ‘The contents of someone’s bookcase are part of his history, like an ancestral portrait.’"



"As I contemplate a possible future of enforced minimalism, I am unsettled by the words of the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who wrote in ‘Why We Need Things’ (1993) that: ‘Artefacts help objectify the self … by demonstrating the owner’s power.’ They ‘reveal the continuity of the self through time, by providing foci of involvement in the present, mementos and souvenirs of the past, and signposts to future goals… objects give concrete evidence of one’s place in a social network as symbols… of valued relationships.’ As such, they stabilise our identities, giving permanent shape to ourselves ‘that otherwise would quickly dissolve in the flux of consciousness’.

I fear that disposing of my possessions would dissolve me. I’m precariously balanced on an emotional seesaw. On one side, writ large, are phrases such as ‘check your privilege’ and ‘first-world problems’, which remind me that many endure far worse. On the other side is the gut-wrenching sensation that I’m being erased. I try projecting myself into an unfettered future of ease and liberation. But all my imagination conjures is the kind of grim bedsit existence depicted by Muriel Spark."



"Sophie Woodward, a lecturer in sociology at Manchester University, works on a research project called Dormant Things. She studies the items that people store in cupboards and attics, and which they often never use, but which have ‘implications for understanding memories, life and relationship changes, and also for developing more sustainable consumption’. Time and again, Woodward notes that people think they ought to get rid of stuff; but, she tells me: ‘The more I talk to them, the more I realise that they get immense pleasure out of having those things, even things they don’t look at, because when they do it reminds them of something.’"



"Anecdotal evidence reinforces my instinct that jettisoning everything would undermine my me-ness. Daniel Miller, an anthropologist at University College London, spent 17 months conducting interviews with 30 London residents for his book The Comfort of Things (2008), in order to explore ‘the role of objects in our relationships, both to each other and to ourselves’. He was testing the popular assumption that ‘our relationships to things [come] at the expense of our relationships to people’.

He discovered that this assumption wasn’t true: ‘usually the closer our relationships are with objects, the closer our relationships are with people’. One of his most unsettling encounters was with a man who owned nothing, living ­– perching, really – amid a minimum of donated furniture and clothes. ‘There is a loss of shape, discernment and integrity. There is no sense of the person as the other, who defines one’s own boundary and extent.’ This seems to support Csikszentmihalyi’s belief that our psyches need the stability that possessions bring."



"Which brings me to a last, shaming truth. While I don’t buy high-cost, high-status items, my pride in what I possess is linked to a desire for admiration and love. I hope that people visiting my home will get me in a way that’s not possible when meeting me elsewhere. What’s more, this happened: my ex-husband swore that he fell for me when he saw my library and the dictionary that lives by my bed. Yet I’d need a nonstop stream of visitors to justify my numerous possessions. Why do I persist in playing to an imaginary audience, like a fairy tale princess in suspended animation, waiting to be discovered? Perhaps the dream of an improved future self keeps us whole and functioning in the here and now. Perhaps this is the necessity."
possessions  leerandall  2016  minimalism  jean-paulsarte  sartre  umbertoeco  mihalycsikszentmihalyi  michaellandy  sophiewoodward  meaning  memory  psychology  danielmiller  objects  relationships  marcallum 
august 2016 by robertogreco
The Oppressive Gospel of ‘Minimalism’ - The New York Times
[See also: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/03/marie-kondo-and-the-privilege-of-clutter/475266/ ]

"“Minimalism” was eventually canonized as an art-historical movement, but the name came to mean something different as it was adopted into consumer culture and turned into a class signifier. What was once a way artists shocked viewers became over the decades a style as delimited and consumable as any Martha Stewart tablescape. The word was defanged, no longer a critical insult and no longer a viable strategy within art — though it never quite gave up its veneer of provocation. Even austerity can be made decadent: To wealthy practitioners, minimalism is now little more than a slightly intriguing perversion, like drinking at breakfast. “One of the real problems with design-world minimalism is that it’s just become a signifier of the global elite,” Raskin says. “The richer you are, the less you have.”

The minimalists’ aesthetic of raw materials and aggressive simplicity leaked into fashion, design and architecture, where it became a luxury product, helped along at times by the artists themselves. Judd’s SoHo loft building is now an icon of sanitized minimalism, open to tourists. His Chinati Foundation, a permanent installation of concrete and metal boxes in and around a decommissioned military base in Marfa, Tex., is a site of hipster pilgrimage. It even appears in Ben Lerner’s “10:04,” a novel redolent of late-capitalist anxiety. The protagonist visits the town on an artist’s residency, where he wanders the desert landscape, parties with young people and accidentally ingests ketamine — but it’s Judd’s installation that provides an epiphany. The sculptures, he writes, “combined to collapse my sense of inside and outside.” Judd’s work “had itself come to contain the world.”

Today’s minimalism, by contrast, is visually oppressive; it comes with an inherent pressure to conform to its precepts. Whiteness, in a literal sense, is good. Mess, heterogeneity, is bad — the opposite impulse of artistic minimalism. It is anxiety-inducing in a manner indistinguishable from other forms of consumerism, not revolutionary at all. Do I own the right things? Have I jettisoned enough of the wrong ones? In a recent interview with Apartamento magazine set against interior shots of his all-white home in Rockaway, Queens, the tastemaker and director of MoMA PS1 Klaus Biesenbach explained, “I don’t aim to own things.”

Minimalism is now conflated with self-optimization, the trend that also resulted in fitness trackers and Soylent (truly a minimalist food — it looks like nothing, but inspires thoughts of everything else). Often driven by technol­ogy, this optimization is expensive and exclusively branded by and for the elite. In Silicon Valley, the minimalism fetish can perhaps be traced back to Steve Jobs’s famously austere 1980s apartment (he sat on the floor) and the attendant simplicity of Apple products. Pare down, and you, too, could run a $700 billion company. A thriving Reddit forum on minimalism debates the worth of Muji products and which hobbies count as minimalist-appropriate, in a communal attempt to live the most effective, if perhaps not the most joyful, life.

These minimalist-arrivistes present it as a logical end to lifestyle, culture and even morality: If we attain only the right things, the perfect things, and forsake all else, then we will be free from the tyranny of our desires. But time often proves aesthetic permanence, as well as moral high ground, to be illusory. And already, the pendulum is swinging back.

Writing in The Atlantic in March, Arielle Bernstein described minimalism’s ban on clutter as a “privilege” that runs counter to the value ascribed to an abundance of objects by those who have suffered from a lack of them — less-empowered people like refugees or immigrants. The movement, such as it is, is led in large part by a group of men who gleefully ditch their possessions as if to disavow the advantages by which they obtained them. But it takes a lot to be minimalist: social capital, a safety net and access to the internet. The technology we call minimalist might fit in our pockets, but it depends on a vast infrastructure of grim, air-conditioned server farms and even grimmer Chinese factories. As Lerner’s protagonist observes in “10:04,” even a dull convenience like a can of instant coffee grounds reaches him thanks to a fragile and tremendously wasteful network of global connections, a logistics chain that defies all logic, one undergirded by exploited laborers and vast environmental degradation.

There’s an arrogance to today’s minimalism that presumes it provides an answer rather than, as originally intended, a question: What other perspectives are possible when you look at the world in a different way? The fetishized austerity and performative asceticism of minimalism is a kind of ongoing cultural sickness. We misinterpret material renunciation, austere aesthetics and blank, emptied spaces as symbols of capitalist absolution, when these trends really just provide us with further ways to serve our impulse to consume more, not less."
minimalism  2016  mariekondo  asceticism  possessions  culture  society  consumption  ariellebernstein  kylechayka  siliconvalley  affluence  inequality  privilege  austerity  greatrecession  donaldjudd  davidraskin  aesthetics  technology  abundance  tidying 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Bros Before Homes | New Republic
"There’s nothing magical about favoring experiences over things, and there’s something subtly sexist about the refrain—especially in cases where the “stuff” is still plenty present, but is being dealt with by the women in a man’s life.

Tony’s essay in Toronto Life inadvertently highlights the sexism underlying the minimalist trend. It’s not just—as Ruth Whippman brilliantly demonstrated at The Pool—that the cool new tidying advice is aimed, much like older housekeeping advice, at women. It’s also that the very idea of experiences mattering more than things is a way of valorizing the stereotypically masculine. “While men are conditioned to dream big—to see their happiness in terms of adventure and travel, sex and ideas and long nights of hilarity—women are now encouraged to find deep fulfilment in staying home to origami our pants,” she wrote.

Whether women are being encouraged to rid our homes of useless belongings, or urged to shop for new ones, the result is the same: Society continues to associate women with the home and the material, men with the outside and experiences. While the enjoyment of domestic life, of stuff, isn’t inherently negative, it is dismissed precisely because of its associations with the feminine. An orientation towards stuff over experiences, moreover, gets cast either as recklessly materialist or, as Tony perceives it, an impediment to enjoying life. The only constant is that what women prefer, or are imagined to prefer, is thought inferior."



"As for whether Stillman’s life is actually minimalist, judge for yourself: He lives in “a series of rooms on the top two floors of a 17th-century apartment building in the Marais district,” a home “[s]parsely furnished with” his partner Marianne Monnier’s “family antiques.” (Green never spells out who pays for what, but refers to the home as “the apartment of his girlfriend.”) And as envy-inspiring photos of the gorgeous apartment confirm, “family antiques” isn’t a euphemism for second-hand IKEA, for “like Mr. Stillman, Ms. Monnier can trace her patrician roots back for generations…” Stillman might not have much stuff by his peer’s standards, but this situation—“imagine no possessions” paired with living in an aristocratically furnished Parisian duplex—is today’s macho minimalism in a nutshell.

We’re meant to admire the experience-lovers for their indifference to stuff, which implies they’ve got their priorities straight: to live life to the fullest. It’s no coincidence, though, that these experience-lovers are so often male, as it’s a stereotypically male aspiration not to be “tied down”—that is, not to have domestic responsibilities. But these men do have roofs over their heads. The bourgeois life they’re rejecting is simply one they’ve outsourced. After all, Tony hasn’t rejected the material life. He’s just got a woman—his mother—tidying up after him."
sexism  minimalism  gender  2016  phoebemaltzbovy  possessions  materialism 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Self-Denial | Submitted For Your Perusal
“A character who needs the accoutrements of worldly success will never be seen by the audience as heroic. Heroes are invariably ascetic, denying themselves pleasures and comforts that ordinary people take for granted.… In war films, the hero often declines invitations to partake of food or sex…. The hero can’t relax, can’t have fun. In westerns … all he owns in this world is in that tiny bundle behind the saddle we see when he first appears. We don’t know if he ever changes his shirt or if he even has a shirt to change into, so minimal are his earthly possessions. In detective, police, mystery, and spy films, the central character usually lives in a one-room apartment … but it’s hard to say the hero lives there – it’s where he flops when he’s overcome with exhaustion.… Like religious and mythical heroes of earlier years, the hero is in this world, but not of it. He denies himself the pleasures ordinary mortals yearn for precisely because he isn’t an ordinary mortal.” —Howard Suber, The Power of Film

[via "@ecourtem @savasavasava I bet there are some, but heroism in film often associated with austerity: http://submittedforyourperusal.com/2012/05/29/self-denial/ "
https://twitter.com/mattthomas/status/593125731879755776

part of this thread: “From the trailer, James Bond’s ascetic apartment (at least, I’m guessing that’s what it is) in SPECTRE (2015).”
https://twitter.com/mattthomas/status/593122899244011520

which also includes: “Cf. the lighting, austerity, and accoutrements of Steve Jobs’s apartment circa the early 1980s.”
https://twitter.com/mattthomas/status/593123128215232512

"@mattthomas @savasavasava Just once I'd like to see a superhero emerge out of cluttered and low-class surroundings."
https://twitter.com/ecourtem/status/593125140080234497

"@mattthomas @ecourtem serves to further that whole hero myth while ignoring the privilege of opting for austerity. kinda tired of it."
https://twitter.com/savasavasava/status/593126308286173185

"@savasavasava @ecourtem Cf. the Buddha."
https://twitter.com/mattthomas/status/593126469582397441 ]
simplicity  howardsuber  clutter  film  heroes  asceticism  possessions  buddha  minimalism  2012  2015 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Drink from the cup as if it's already broken - Everything2.com
"Advice from a zen koan. If you own a teacup that is very precious to you, you have two choices: you can be obsessively careful with it, and live in fear that you'll drop it, or someone will chip it, or an earthquake will come and it will fall out of the cabinet. This object, intended to bring you pleasure, can become a burden.

Or, you can imagine that it is already broken -- because in an important sense, it is. It's sure to break someday, just as you're sure to die and the universe is sure to come to an end. Then, every time you drink from the cup will be a pleasure, a gift from the gods, a special reunion between you and something you had lost. You will be sure to appreciate every chance you have to use it, but having already said goodbye you will not need to use it with fear.

This can be applied to personal relationships, to your job, to money... if you give up feeling that you need things, you can appreciate them more fully.

Some people worry that if they give up attachment to this extent, they will not have the will to get what they want; they'll end up living in a discarded refrigerator box and starving to death because they're so laid-back. In fact, there is substantial evidence that having a goal and enjoying a process is not the same thing as kicking your ass all the time, or being motivated by fear of failure or of becoming a bad person. You learn to act with what various groups call the original mind, flow, or True Will and do what you do because it's you, not because you're being bribed or threatened by an internal parent.

*****

In a now-deleted writeup, zgirll pointed out that you can effectively free yourself by giving the teacup away. This is an asymmetry between the possession issue and the relationship issue: giving away an object is an acceptable way to keep it. Giving away a person is stupid, unless your relationship (or the person) is dying on its own. The difference is that a possession is something you can fully know, and so your internal model of it can provide the same satisfaction as it can itself. Friends, on the other hand, are far deeper and we never really "figure them out." Ending a relationship that might otherwise have grown is a serious sacrifice which, I think, does not do any good in and of itself.
zen  koans  brokenness  fear  care  burden  pleasure  will  truewill  flow  orginalmind  process  peace  things  possessions  materialism  objects  time  satisfaction  presence  now  hereandnow  relationships  edg  srg  glvo  attention  friendship  listening  lightness  money  wealth  accumulation  needs  desire 
march 2015 by robertogreco
New study says American families are overwhelmed by clutter, rarely eat together, and are generally stressed out about it all - The Boston Globe
[via: "Stuff makes us sad, especially in America"
http://boingboing.net/2012/07/13/stuff-makes-us-sad-especially.html ]

"The rise of Costco and similar stores has prompted so much stockpiling — you never know when you’ll need 600 Dixie cups or a 50-pound bag of sugar — that three out of four garages are too full to hold cars.

Managing the volume of possessions is such a crushing problem in many homes that it elevates levels of stress hormones for mothers.

Even families who invested in outdoor décor and improvements were too busy to go outside and enjoy their new decks.

Most families rely heavily on convenience foods even though all those frozen stir-frys and pot stickers saved them only about 11 minutes per meal.

A refrigerator door cluttered with magnets, calendars, family photos, phone numbers, and sports schedules generally indicates the rest of the home will be in a similarly chaotic state.

The scientists working with UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families studied the dual-income families the same way they would animal subjects. They videotaped the activities of family members, tracked their moves with position-locating devices, and documented their homes, yards, and activities with thousands of photographs. They even took saliva samples to measure stress hormones."



"The researchers, working with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, were struck by the number of toys American children have managed to score from parents, grandparents, and friends. In the “Material Saturation: Mountains of Possessions” chapter, they report that our country has 3.1 percent of the world’s kids — and 40 percent of its Little Tikes EasyScore basketball hoops and other toys.

Many of them belong to 2-year-old Anjellisa Redfern. Her Newton bedroom is full of Dora-themed puzzles and dolls, and a kitchen set with 400 accessories. “But she doesn’t want to play with them,” said her mother, Anjelica . “She wants to be on the couch watching TV,” where she sees commercials for more toys to eventually ignore.

But sometimes the little girl does play with her toys, her mom added with a smile. “When I put her in a time out and send her to her room.”

In Weston, Jessica Pohl, a stay-at-home mother, is also being overtaken by inanimate objects.

“Somehow the Barbies multiply,” she explained as she shopped at a big box store in Waltham. “One turns into 10 turns into 100.” The doll is not her only tiny tormentor. “Playmobil,” she said as if it were a bad word. “I’ve got bins and bins of Playmobil.”

Her children, ages 9, 13, and 17, have largely outgrown the toys, but she can’t bring herself to give them away. “I’m saving them for my grandchildren.” She acknowledged that she was looking potentially at decades of storage, and then imagined herself forcing a toy on a future grandchild. “Play with that Melissa & Doug puzzle,” she said. “It was expensive.”

Pohl’s possessions do bring some joy, of course, albeit in some cases it’s when they’re being tossed out. “It’s cathartic,” she said, happily recalling the dumpster outside her home when she moved a few years ago. “I felt so light.”

With that, she pushed her bulging cart toward the store’s cash register. The circle of life continued."
us  consumerism  possession  psychology  culture  clutter  2012  stress  possessions  stockpiling 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Interview: Toy Story That Time Forgot star Wallace Shawn on the series anti-decadence message
"HitFix: With your writing as sort of a constant presence in your life, have the things that compel you to act – have they changed over the years?

Wallace Shawn: Well it’s hard to say. I certainly would be excited by the thought of a good part or a good project and I suppose that’s always been true. I mean obviously I have a craving for a bourgeois lifestyle or middle class lifestyle and so it’s exciting to be asked to do some work and be paid for it because that enables me to lead the bourgeois lifestyle that I can’t seem to wean myself away from. So yes, people... Yes, I mean what can I say? Working is something that I appreciate.

HitFix: Do you feel like you’re more drawn to that, as you say, bourgeois lifestyle now than you were 20 years ago? Was the balance at one point being drawn more to the art or to something else I guess?

Wallace Shawn: No. I’ve always really wanted to – when I say "wanted" I’ve always had an addiction to a bourgeois lifestyle and I don’t live very differently from the way I’ve always lived. It’s just a question of can you pay the bills or not. The bills themselves, give or take inflation what have you, are not tremendously different from one year to the next in my life. And my life is not terribly different.

HitFix: Do you ever stand back and look at sort of the themes of the "Toy Story" movies and the franchise and how that relates to consumerism and your own feelings on that culture?

Wallace Shawn: Well the film shows a middle class household. Well, Andy’s household, and Bonnie’s household is also a middle class household, so there’s definitely in this short film there is a – the young boy that Bonnie goes to visit seems to be a bit decadent and to have an outrageous number of toys, more than he’s using and there’s a certain statement there that this is excessive. And he doesn’t even play with those toys because in the film he’s watching video games or playing video games.

HitFix: And do you think that this is a message that kids get out of it as well or is it just something that you can take away yourself?

Wallace Shawn: No I think that a kid would take away the same thing I do. There’s something disturbing about the scene in that boy’s house and of course the whole idea of playing which is so emphasized in all of the films is kind of about finding satisfaction in your own imagination, which is helped along by these material objects, toys. But the basic idea is that you can have quite a lot of fun based on your own fantasies and, in fact, in this particular short film that is contrasted with the world of the violent toys, who get fun only out of crushing each other and conquering each other. The little Pixar gang is much more gentle and innocent and they get pleasure from fantasy."
2014  wallaceshawn  via:maxfenton  interviews  toystory  children  consumerism  imagination  toys  oneandonly  glvo  possessions  excess  consumption  play  fantasy  materialism  waste 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Un(der)known Writers: Diane di Prima – The New Inquiry
[also posted here: http://thenewinquiry.tumblr.com/post/104194087199/un-der-known-writers-diane-di-prima ]

"REVOLUTIONARY LETTER #9

[…]

declare a moratorium on debt

the Continental Congress did

‘on all debts public and private’

& no one ‘owns’ the land

it can be held

for use, no man holding more

than he can work, himself and family working

//

let no one work for another

except for love, and what you make above your needs be given to the tribe

a Common-Wealth

//

None of us knows the answers, think about

these things.

The day will come when we have to know

the answers."

[and]

"REVOLUTIONARY LETTER #31

(for LeRoi, at long last)

not all the works of Mozart worth one human life

not all the brocaded of the Potala palace

better we should wear homespun, than some in orlon

some in Thailand silk

the children of Bengal weave gold thread in silk saris

six years old, eight years old, for export, they don’t sing

the singers are for export, Folkways records

better we should all have homemade flutes

and practice excruciatingly upon them, one hundred years

till we learn to

make our own music"
poetry  poems  dianediprima  capitalism  wealth  debt  labor  commonwealth  knowing  notknowing  diy  making  possessions  ownership  consumption  property  communalism 
december 2014 by robertogreco
retrospective | the m john harrison blog
"Things I have bought over the years to convince myself I was happy: a brass lizard; a wire lizard; two small boxes, one in some featherweight lacquered wood, the other ceramic and half glazed with a stylised picture of the local architecture; a bowl in striking fire and earth colours now faded; various earrings; two belts and some peculiarly sordid- and pre-used-looking suede shoes; Italian things; Canary Island things; Spanish things. All these things bought out of a mistaken elation or assumption, all this unwarranted semiosis, all these unmemorable memories and tokens from moments unviable from the very start. You can’t quite call them kitsch, but they don’t have a quality of personal nostalgia either. It was weird being a romantic and living in a constant aura or vibe, a “dream” I suppose, or at any rate a sense of something happening when nothing, in retrospect, was. Luckily, age lifts you out of that, enabling a proud shiny new impulse control in boutique, fleamarket and gallery shop; freeing you up to buy the rubbish you actually like. (Something resembling a small wormy stone brain picked up on a beach does not belong to this class of objects.)"
objects  possessions  consumerism  materialism  mjohnharrison  2014 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Changed Life of the Poor: Better Off, but Far Behind - NYTimes.com
"Two broad trends account for much of the change in poor families’ consumption over the past generation: federal programs and falling prices.

Since the 1960s, both Republican and Democratic administrations have expanded programs like food stamps and the earned-income tax credit. In 1967, government programs reduced one major poverty rate by about 1 percentage point. In 2012, they reduced the rate by nearly 13 percentage points.

As a result, the differences in what poor and middle-class families consume on a day-to-day basis are much smaller than the differences in what they earn.

“There’s just a whole lot more assistance per low-income person than there ever has been,” said Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “That is propping up the living standards to a considerable degree,” he said, citing a number of statistics on housing, nutrition and other categories.

Decades of economic growth, however, have been less successful in raising the incomes from work of many poor families, prompting a strong conservative critique this year that hundreds of billions of dollars in antipoverty programs have failed to make the poor less dependent on government.

“That’s the crux of the problem,” Mr. Rector added. “What sort of progress is that?”

But another form of progress has led to what some economists call the “Walmart effect”: falling prices for a huge array of manufactured goods.

Since the 1980s, for instance, the real price of a midrange color television has plummeted about tenfold, and televisions today are crisper, bigger, lighter and often Internet-connected. Similarly, the effective price of clothing, bicycles, small appliances, processed foods — virtually anything produced in a factory — has followed a downward trajectory. The result is that Americans can buy much more stuff at bargain prices.

Many crucial services, though, remain out of reach for poor families. The costs of a college education and health care have soared. Ms. Hagen-Noey, for instance, does not treat her hepatitis and other medical problems, as she does not qualify for Medicaid and cannot pay for her own insurance or care.

Child care also remains only a small sliver of the consumption of poor families because it is simply too expensive. In many cases, it depresses the earnings of women who have no choice but to give up hours working to stay at home."
poverty  inequality  economics  materialism  consumerism  2014  possessions  wealth  incomeinequality  income  universalbasicincome  socialsafetynet  ubi 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Moxie Marlinspike >> Blog >> The Worst
"The Worst

So I’d like to respond with an alternate philosophy that I will call “the worst.” The worst stands in direct contrast to Dustin Curtis, and suggests that one is actually more likely to engender a liberated life by getting the very worst of everything whenever possible.

The basic premise of the worst is that both ideas and material possessions should be tools that serve us, rather than things we live in service to. When that relationship with material possessions is inverted, such that we end up living in service to them, the result is consumerism. When that relationship with ideas is inverted, the result is ideology or religion.

Any reasonable person wouldn’t feel liberated by a $50 fork, but constrained by it. One wouldn’t be able to help but worry: is it being cared for correctly, is my friend going to mess it up when absentmindedly tapping the table with it, is it going to get dropped or stepped on if a dance party erupts in the kitchen? After all, it is the perfect fork, what if something happened to it to make it… not perfect? The point shouldn’t be the cutlery, but the meal — and more importantly the relationships involved with preparing and sharing it.

Partisans of the worst will get 15 sets of cutlery (out of a bucket that’s an overflowing fucking sea of cutlery) for fifty cents at the neighborhood thrift shop, and as a result, won’t have the slightest reservation if five of their housemates simultaneously decide to start a band that uses nothing but spoons for instruments. Partisans of the worst won’t give a shit if someone drops a dish while people are hanging out in the kitchen. They can push their crappy bicycle to the limit without worrying if it gets scratched — without even being too concerned about it getting stolen. They can play a spontaneous game of tag in the park without worrying about their clothes getting messed up, or go for an impromptu hike without worrying about their shoes getting scuffed or dirty. Partisans of the worst will have more fun occasionally sneaking into the hot tub on the roof of a random apartment building than owning a hot tub of one’s own which is available for daily use.

The logic of the best is so pernicious because it’s poised to monopolize — an emphasis on the consumption of material goods can easily translate into a life of generalized consumption. A whole language can start to develop around not just the consumption of goods, but the consumption of experience: “We did Prague.” “We did Barcelona.”

“The best moments of my life, I never want to live again.”

Dustin Curtis also suggests that as a partisan of the best, he is taking on the hardship of truly understanding a domain in order to identify the best consumer good within that domain. Presumably, this means he now knows more about forks than any partisan of the worst ever will.

But internet research isn’t necessarily the same as understanding. No matter how much research they do, a partisan of the best might not ever know as much about motorcycles as the partisan of the worst who takes a series of hare-brained cross-country motorcycle trips on a bike that barely runs, and ends up learning a ton about how to fix their constantly breaking bike along the way. The partisan of the best will likely never know as much about sailing as the partisan of the worst who gets the shitty boat without a working engine that they can immediately afford, and has no choice but to learn how to enter tight spaces and maneuver under sail.

The best means waiting, planning, researching, and saving until one can acquire the perfect equipment for a given task. Partisans of the best will probably never end up accidentally riding a freight train 1000 miles in the wrong direction, or making a new life-long friend while panhandling after losing everything in Transnistria, or surreptitiously living under a desk in an office long after their internship has run out — simply because optimizing for the best probably does not leave enough room for those mistakes. Even if the most stalwart advocates of the worst would never actually recommend choosing to put oneself in those situations intentionally, they probably wouldn’t give them up either.

Green & Responsibility

Some amongst the best will resort to a resources perspective and say that in this increasingly disposable world, it’s refreshingly responsible for those of the best to be making quality long-term buying decisions. But we’re a long way away from a shortage of second-hand forks in the global north — let’s take care of those first.

Simplify

Hacker News could possibly be drawn to Dustin Curtis’ cutlery because it’s reminiscent of “simplify.” The makers of the cutlery took the concept to its core essentials, and nominally perfected them. But to me, “simplify” is about removing clutter — about de-emphasizing the things that are unimportant so that it’s easy to focus on the things that are. We shouldn’t be putting any emphasis on the things in our life, we should be trying to make them as insignificant as possible, so that we can focus on what’s important.

In a sense, the best gives a nod to this by suggesting that getting the very best of everything will somehow make those things invisible to us. That if we can blindly trust them, we won’t have to think about them. But the worst counters that if we’d like to de-emphasize things that we don’t want to be the focus of our life, we probably shouldn’t start by obsessing over them. That we don’t simplify by getting the very best of everything, we simplify by arranging our lives so that those things don’t matter one way or the other.

Perhaps P.O.S. said it best in their recent video: “Fuck Your Stuff”
[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FY6VcJR2PE ] "
consumerism  simplicity  used  reuse  dustincurtis  pos  responsibility  possessions  theworst  knowing  understanding  green  disposability  second-hand  moxiemarlinspike 
march 2014 by robertogreco
"This is what the worship of death looks like."
"The growing number of gated communities in our nation is but one example of the obsession with safety. With guards at the gate, individuals still have bars and elaborate internal security systems. Americans spend more than thirty billion dollars a year on security. When I have stayed with friends in these communities and inquired as to whether all the security is in response to an actual danger I am told “not really," that it is the fear of threat rather than a real threat that is the catalyst for an obsession with safety that borders on madness.
 
Culturally we bear witness to this madness every day. We can all tell endless stories of how it makes itself known in everyday life. For example, an adult white male answers the door when a young Asian male rings the bell. We live in a culture where without responding to any gesture of aggression or hostility on the part of the stranger, who is simply lost and trying to find the correct address, the white male shoots him, believing he is protecting his life and his property. This is an everyday example of madness. The person who is really the threat here is the home owner who has been so well socialized by the thinking of white supremacy, of capitalism, of patriarchy that he can no longer respond rationally.
 
White supremacy has taught him that all people of color are threats irrespective of their behavior. Capitalism has taught him that, at all costs, his property can and must be protected. Patriarchy has taught him that his masculinity has to be proved by the willingness to conquer fear through aggression; that it would be unmanly to ask questions before taking action. Mass media then brings us the news of this in a newspeak manner that sounds almost jocular and celebratory, as though no tragedy has happened, as though the sacrifice of a young life was necessary to uphold property values and white patriarchal honor. Viewers are encouraged feel sympathy for the white male home owner who made a mistake. The fact that this mistake led to the violent death of an innocent young man does not register; the narrative is worded in a manner that encourages viewers to identify with the one who made the mistake by doing what we are led to feel we might all do to “protect our property at all costs from any sense of perceived threat. " This is what the worship of death looks like."

bell hooks, All About Love, p. 194-195
bellhooks  death  society  us  gatedcommunities  safety  fear  violence  security  ownership  property  possessions  possession  threats  racism  irrationality  whitesupremacy  patriarchy  capitalism  masculinity  manhood 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Tupperwolf - Wealth, risk, and stuff
"The only way to own very little and be safe is to be rich."
charlieloyd  poverty  wealth  minimalism  2013  risk  society  possessions 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Plagiarism: Maybe It's Not So Bad - On The Media
"Artists often draw inspiration from other sources. Musicians sample songs. Painters recreate existing masterpieces. Kenneth Goldsmith believes writers should catch-up with other mediums and embrace plagiarism in their work. Brooke talks with Goldsmith, MoMA’s new Poet Laureate, about how he plagiarizes in his own poetry and asks if appropriation is something best left in the art world."

[Full show here: http://www.onthemedia.org/2013/mar/08/ ]

"A special hour on our changing understanding of ownership and how it is affected by the law. An author and professor who encourages creative writing through plagiarism, 3D printing, fan fiction & fair use, and the strange tale of who owns "The Happy Birthday Song""
plagiarism  poetry  poems  2013  kennethgoldsmith  moma  appropriation  creativity  originality  writing  creativewriting  3dprinting  fanfiction  happybirthday  songs  music  drm  copyright  fairuse  ownership  possessions  property  law  legal  ip  intellectualproperty  campervan  beethoven  robertbrauneis  jamesboyle  history  rebeccatushnet  chrisanderson  michaelweinberg  public  publicknowledge  campervanbeethoven  davidlowey  johncage  representation  copying  sampling  photography  painting  art  economics  content  aesthetics  jamesjoyce  patchwriting  ulysses 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Living With Less. A Lot Less. - NYTimes.com
"Our fondness for stuff affects almost every aspect of our lives. Housing size, for example, has ballooned in the last 60 years. The average size of a new American home in 1950 was 983 square feet; by 2011, the average new home was 2,480 square feet. And those figures don’t provide a full picture. In 1950, an average of 3.37 people lived in each American home; in 2011, that number had shrunk to 2.6 people. This means that we take up more than three times the amount of space per capita than we did 60 years ago.



Intuitively, we know that the best stuff in life isn’t stuff at all, and that relationships, experiences and meaningful work are the staples of a happy life.


I like material things as much as anyone. I studied product design in school. I’m into gadgets, clothing and all kinds of things. But my experiences show that after a certain point, material objects have a tendency to crowd out the emotional needs they are meant to support.



My space is small. My life is big."
homes  housing  stuff  possessions  materialism  2013  grahamhill  sustainability  small  slow  relationships  experiences  happiness  consumerism 
march 2013 by robertogreco
THE ONES
"‘Heirloomness’ is the one principle that guides everything on this list. Is this something we want forever? Is this something that our grandkids could want forever? These are hard, bordering impossible, questions. But let’s step away from external forces that drive current desires and trends and consider the objects we acquire on a generational time scale.

* The design is simple, timeless and long-lasting. We want to love it today and forever.

*It’s over-engineered to take a beating and age gracefully. We trip, fall, spill and drop things. It’s part of life. Engineer it to account for abuse, misuse and wear.

*It’s built with quality in mind, using the right tools and materials. There’s a time and place for every material. But, let’s not kid ourselves, a plastic case with a metallic finish will not perform the same as a piece that’s milled out of a solid block of metal.

*The interface is intuitive to use and works as expected. No manuals please. Who reads those anyways?…"
builttolast  longlasting  advice  quality  betterthings  lessthings  possessions  tools  cw  longterm 
december 2012 by robertogreco
Don’t Do What I Do | Seth W.
"You can prepare, fill your head with knowledge, listen to podcasts, buy a lightweight and foldable jacket and $250 pants, and email other people who’ve done the same thing, but really you just need to set off on your own. You need to make your own mistakes, because they’re yours. You’ll learn all the lessons you need to learn.

Am I telling you to trust a complete stranger with ALL your stuff? No.

I’m telling you to go make your own advenutres. Stop waiting for permission, stop waiting for the right circumstances, stop waiting, stop waiting, stop… waiting."

See also: http://sethw.com/about-seth-werkheiser/

"In August of 2010 I ditched my stuff and started traveling full-time while working remotely…

Since then: traveled from Brooklyn, NY to New Orleans, LA, over to Austin, TX and as far west as Albuquerque, NM. Visiting 12 cities in 14 days was fun, too, when I traveled by bike and train from Miami, FL to Portland, ME.

I carry everything I own in a bag (currently a Chrome Yalta)."
sethwerkheiser  experience  preparation  deschooling  unschooling  learning  yearoff2  exploration  trust  justdo  waiting  cv  travel  adventure  2012  bikes  biking  possessions  minimalism  yearoff  wandering  packing 
november 2012 by robertogreco
122. The Archipelago | I Have A Voice Too
"…Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag. Use your memory! Use your memory! It is those bitter seeds alone which might sprout and grow someday.

Look around you—there are people around you. Maybe you will remember one of them all your life and later eat your heart out because you didn’t make use of the opportunity to ask him questions. And the less you talk, the more you’ll hear. Thin strands of human lives stretch from island to island of the Archipelago. They intertwine, touch one another for one night only in just such a clickety-clacking half-dark car as this and separate once and for all. Put your ear to their quiet humming and the steady clickety-clack beneath the car. After all, it is the spinning wheel of life that is clicking and clacking away there.”

[via: http://caterina.net/2012/09/29/our-memories-are-what-make-us-kathleen-dean-moore/#comment-2207 ]
cv  travel  consumerism  possessions  memories  noticing  listening  cynics  stoics  buddha  christ  living  life  languages  memory  simplicity  lightness  neo-nomads  nomadism  nomads  aleksandrsolzhenitsyn 
october 2012 by robertogreco
jaggeree /Blog : : User centric design and real stories in hobbies
“We should own less but with more value – Things we own need to perform better for us”– Assa Ashuach

"The stories that anyone apart from an experienced practitioner could tell are only ones of failure and disappointment, not a way to encourage more people into the hobby."

"There seem to be a group of people missing currently in the world of making kits for hobbies; the “user”. All too often the kits I encounter are designed for the manufacturer not the customer. We’d like through the project we’re starting to fix that.

The other thing we’re going to try and fix is designing for more than one. I want to build kits which are designed all around the experience of the customer and for them to tell a friend/peers/others what they’ve done. It is all about, to use a phrase from Matt Locke, about designing for at least two."
storytelling  stories  modification  needs  wants  possessions  value  qualityoverquantity  modelmaking  3dprinting  sharing  experience  designingfortwo  hobbies  design  user-centered  users  user  2012  tomarmitage  mattlocke 
september 2012 by robertogreco
A (Real) Conversation with Bryan Cranston - YouTube
"In the fall of 2010, a PR rep invited me to the set of THE HANDLERS (an Atom.com-now-Comedy-Central web series) to interview Bryan Cranston about the production and maybe sneak some BREAKING BAD questions in.

It might, to date, be the best interview I've ever done. NOT because of any interview skill I have, but because I expected to only get 10 minutes of his time, and so only had 10 minutes of questions prepared. However, when my 10 minutes were up, I expected the crew to pull him away, and THEY DIDN'T.

I don't know what you would do if you were sitting opposite Walter White without anything to ask, but my solution turned out okay: I asked him questions about his life. And he answered, and in doing so revealed himself to be the coolest, most genuine guy.

So please enjoy me being very awkward with Bryan Cranston. Who, at least in 2010, was very much the best."
aging  kindredspirits  cv  creating  groceryshopping  shopping  lessthings  whatmatters  making  living  life  breakingbad  interviews  2012  experiences  possessions  things  bryancranston 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Is Cuteness Bad for Craft? | The Etsy BlogThe Etsy Blog
"We’ve come a long way since the days of William Morris, the designer and leader who fostered the Arts and Crafts movement of the late 1800s. For Morris, craft was a serious endeavor that focused on putting handmade, functional objects in homes. “Rather than three sets of elaborately decorated transferware china, you would have one set of handmade and glazed plates,” explains Lange. The movement was consciously putting its foot down against the introduction of impersonal mass production.

Since Morris’s time, craft has lost its heady undertones, but we’re now seeing a return to the original tenets of the Arts and Crafts movement. Lange cites blogs like Unconsumption and Make It Do, which echo the founding sentiment of the Arts and Craft movement that Lange summarizes as “make it yourself, buy better quality items, think about each purchase, keep it for a long time.”

“I wonder if we are not in the dawn of another reform era,” says Lange."

[See also: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2012/08/dont-put-a-bird-on-it-saving-craft-from-cuteness.html ]
craftwars  makers  making  possessions  meaning  materialism  consumerculture  consumption  sustainability  qualityoverquantity  madetolast  slow  artsandcraftsmovement  alexandralange  cute  williammorris  unproduct  makeitdo  unconsumption  crafting  craft  etsy  2012 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Mark Pilgrim’s philosophy …Preserved | aashiks'in
"1. Stop buying stuff you don’t need
2. Pay off all your credit cards
3. Get rid of all the stuff that doesn’t fit in your house/apartment (storage lockers, etc.)
4. Get rid of all the stuff that doesn’t fit on the first floor of your house (attic, garage, etc.)
5. Get rid of all the stuff that doesn’t fit in one room of your house
6. Get rid of all the stuff that doesn’t fit in a suitcase
7. Get rid of all the stuff that doesn’t fit in a backpack
8. Get rid of the backpack"

[I'd say that as a family, we're on step four (although all of our possessions would probably fit in one room tightly packed). And we make physical things, so that demands a palette of physical materials and tools, not necessarily a whole lot as Lizette describes here: http://lizettegreco.tumblr.com/post/19398592549/there-was-a-time-when-my-mother-used-to-remove-the ]
possessions  ownership  glvo  stuff  simplicity  materialism  postconsumerism  postmaterialism  travellight  via:litherland 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Collect 'em all! | MetaFilter
"Coveting possessions is unhealthy. Here's how I look at it:

All of the computers on Ebay are mine. In fact, everything on Ebay is already mine. All of those things are just in long term storage that I pay nothing for. Storage is free.

When I want to take something out of storage, I just pay the for the storage costs for that particular thing up to that point, plus a nominal shipping fee, and my things are delivered to me so I can use them. When I am done with them, I return them to storage via Craigslist or Ebay, and I am given a fee as compensation for freeing up the storage facilities resources.

This is also the case with all of my stuff that Amazon and Walmart are holding for me. I have antiques, priceless art, cars, estates, and jewels beyond the dreams of avarice.

The world is my museum, displaying my collections on loan. The James Savages of the world are merely curators."
craigslist  amazon  access  ownership  distributedownership  onlinewarehousing  2007  materialism  justintimepossessions  justintime  simplicity  travellight  postmaterialism  postconsumerism  via:frankchimero  ebay  metafilter  possessions 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Object memory on Vimeo
“‘This trade’, he said, ‘was not the trade as you Europeans know it. Not the business of buying and selling for profit! Our people’s trade was always symmetrical.’

Aboriginals, in general, had the idea that all ‘goods’ were potentially malign and would work against their possessors unless they were forever in motion. The ‘goods’ did not have to be edible, or useful. People liked nothing better than to barter useless things - or things they could supply for themselves: feathers, sacred objects, belts of human hair.

‘Trade goods’, he continued, should be seen rather as the bargining counters of a gigantic game, in which the whole continent was the gaming board and all its inhabitants players. ‘Goods’ were tokens of intent: to trade again, meet again, fix frontiers, intermarry, sing, dance, share resources and share ideas.”

With Bruce Chatwins quote as a starting point, a group of friends got together to explore storytelling through the trading of objects…"
stories  things  possessions  brucechatwins  totems  tokens  richardhouguez  2011  objectmemory  memory  storytelling  trade  trading  objects 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Living with 100 items. No, 50. No, only 15. Screw it, just get beautiful, useful things – marks.dk
"Bruce Sterling’s “Last Viridian Note”…puts things into the following categories:

1. Beautiful things.
2. Emotionally important things.
3. Tools, devices, and appliances that efficiently perform a useful function.
4. Everything else.

There are no numbers, no set rules for how much stuff you “must” own. I like the idea some have of only owning 100 things, or even just 50 things. But it’s only an idea. I couldn’t do it myself but I can, however, cut down on the stuff that I already own and don’t use.

DVDs go category 4…espresso machine in 3…couch, bed & chair in 3 as well…Half my clothes go in 4…& I need to buy after a pattern of 1 & 3 from now on.

…don’t think you can even buy after category 2 most of the time. That’s the kind of stuff that evolves over time…

Question yourself with everything you are about to buy; if there is a reasonable chance it will be placed in category 4 anytime soon, don’t buy it."
brucesterling  markjensen  possessions  consumption  minimalism  2011  lastviridiannote  things  simplicity  sustainability  consumerism  stuff  qualityoverquantity  viridianism  nomads  neo-nomads  materialism 
november 2011 by robertogreco
potlatch: riots and credit crunches: when economic objects attack
"What to do? The Actor Network Theorist might smirk and say that we should be putting the HDTVs and trainers in jail, rather than the poor human actors who sought to liberate them. Maybe the mortgage-backed CDOs should themselves be appearing before Congress, explaining what they were up to in the years leading up to 2007. The bankers were merely their servants. Or else we need to rediscover the virtues of a boring, inanimate economy, as the basis for an animated social and cultural world, as Marx intuited. The tedium of the old socialist block - laughable cars, unchanging fashions, steady incomes, pitiful growth - was always at the heart of its apparent legitimacy crisis. But it strikes me that it's precisely this tedium that we now need more of, to escape the tyranny of financial and consumer objects."
anthropology  sociology  markets  marxism  neoliberalism  riots  2011  actornetworktheory  karlmarx  socialism  finance  london  uk  society  capitalism  materialsm  consumerism  consumption  values  objects  possessions  economics  restraint  boringness  ownership  credit  debt  potlatch 
september 2011 by robertogreco
The Technium: Your Two Things
"…2 devices each person will carry are one general purpose combination device, & one specialized device (per your major interests & style)…

At the same time the attraction of a totem object, or something to hold in your hands, particularly a gorgeous object, will not diminish. We may remain w/ one single object that we love, that does most of what we need okay, & that in some ways comes to represent us. Perhaps the highly evolved person carries one distinctive object—which will be buried w/ them when they die.

…I don't think we'll normally carry more than a couple of things at once, on an ordinary day. The # of devices will proliferate, but each will occupy a smaller & smaller niche. There will be a long tail distribution of devices.

50 yrs from now a very common ritual upon meeting of old friends will be the mutual exchange & cross examination of what lovely personal thing they have in their pocket or purse. You'll be able to tell a lot about a person by what they carry."
kevinkelly  totems  possessions  evocativeobjects  objects  devices  future  predictions  technology  specialization  generalpurpose  combinationdevices  beauty  2011  specialists 
july 2011 by robertogreco
BBC News - Cult of less: Living out of a hard drive
"Many have begun trading in CD, DVD, and book collections for digital music, movies, and e-books. But this trend in digital technology is now influencing some to get rid of nearly all of their physical possessions - from photographs to furniture to homes altogether." [More discussion here: http://www.boingboing.net/2010/08/16/article-about-extrem.html ] [Some of these examples sound like trading in physical clutter for digital clutter.]
minimalism  simplicity  consumerism  2010  ownership  future  digital  lifestyle  lifehacks  less  psychology  society  technology  culture  trends  nomads  neo-nomads  travel  homes  homelessness  possessions  materialism  via:lukeneff 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Julio Cortázar: Instrucciones para dar cuerda al reloj
"...cuando te regalan un reloj te regalan un pequeño infierno florido, una cadena de rosas, un calabozo de aire. No te dan solamente el reloj, que los cumplas muy felices y esperamos que te dure porque es de buena marca, suizo con áncora de rubíes; no te regalan solamente ese menudo picapedrero que te atarás a la muñeca y pasearás contigo. Te regalan -no lo saben, lo terrible es que no lo saben-, te regalan un nuevo pedazo frágil y precario de ti mismo, algo que es tuyo pero no es tu cuerpo, que hay que atar a tu cuerpo con su correa como un bracito desesperado colgándose de tu muñeca. Te regalan la necesidad de darle cuerda todos los días, la obligación de darle cuerda para que siga siendo un reloj; te regalan la obsesión de atender a la hora exacta en las vitrinas de las joyerías, en el anuncio por la radio... Te regalan el miedo de perderlo, de que te lo roben... No te regalan un reloj, tú eres el regalado, a ti te ofrecen para el cumpleaños del reloj."
time  clocks  ownership  freedom  gifts  juliocortázar  possessions  fear  slavery  obsession 
august 2010 by robertogreco
russell davies: the comfort of the comfort of things
"We live today in a world of ever more stuff - what sometimes seems a deluge of goods and shopping. We tend to assume that this has two results: that we are more superficial and more materialistic, our relationship to things coming at the expense of our relationships to people. We make such assumptions, we speak in cliches, but we have rarely tried to put these assumptions to the test. By the time you finish this book you will discover that, in many ways, the opposite is true; that possessions often remain profound and usually the closer our relationships are with objects, the closer our relationships are with people."
materialism  russelldavies  thecomfortofthings  objects  relationships  books  physical  possessions 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Scion Presents: 'THIS MUST BE THE PLACE' on Vimeo
"Featuring work from Gluekit, Maxwell Loren Holyoke-Hirsch, Damien Correll, Joel Speasmaker, Matt Curry, Skull Phone, Dan Funderburgh and Jemma Hostetler, the acclaimed multimedia artists and designers explore the theme of "home" with the loose limitation of a two-toned color palette." [via: http://www.woostercollective.com/2010/01/scions_this_must_be_the_place_an_introdu.html]
homes  art  design  culture  consumption  materialism  illustration  glvo  mattcurry  gluekit  maxwelllorenholyoke-hirsch  damiencorrell  joelspeasmaker  skullphone  danfunderburgh  jemmahostetier  possessions  place  identity 
january 2010 by robertogreco
self-storage | neo-nomad
“Human laziness has always been a big friend of self-storage operators,” Derek Naylor, president of the consultant group Storage Marketing Solutions, told me. “Because once they’re in, nobody likes to spend all day moving their stuff out of storage. As long as they can afford it, and feel psychologically that they can afford it, they’ll leave that stuff in there forever.” Now, though, “there are people who are watching their credit-card bills closer than before,” he said. “They’re really paying attention to the stuff they’re storing and realizing that it’s probably not worth $100 a month to keep. So they just get rid of it.”
nomads  neo-nomads  possessions  self-storage  trends  economics  crisis  recession  2009  us 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Emily Davidow » Reboot and reset with Bruce Sterling
"I did a big reset one year ago moving from New York to New Zealand, and was surprised by the euphoria of liberation from so much stuff I thought I loved. Below are a few tools and resources that were awesome for virtualizing, storing data and getting rid of my stuff – perhaps they may help when it’s your turn."

[more on Sterling's talk here: http://www.zylstra.org/blog/archives/2009/07/reboot_11_the_n.html ]

[transcript of the talk here: http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2011/02/transcript-of-reboot-11-speech-by-bruce-sterling-25-6-2009/ ]
brucesterling  darkeuphoria  objects  possessions  materialism  simplicity  books  craigslist  freecycle  yearoff  citymove  deliciouslibrary  downsizing  neo-nomads  nomads  moving  virtualization  sustainability  reboot11 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Joho the Blog » [reboot] Bruce Sterling
"Reboot in power. Gen Xers running things. Cultural sentiment: “Dark euphoria.” Things are falling apart, everything is possible, but you never realized you would have to dread it so much...a) Top end: Gothic high-tech...b) low-end: Favela chic...practical advice on bright green geek environmentalism...“Stop acting dead.” You’ve been trained that way; it’s the default for your generation...How do you know...test: Would your dead great grandfather do a better job of what you’re intending to do...Think of objects in terms of hours of time & volumes of space. It’s a good design approach...possessions are really embodied social relationships: made, designed, sold by people...Relationships that happen to have material form...monarch among objects are everyday objects...you’re eager to tell someone about its beauty or meaning. Tools: Don’t make do with broken stuff. You’re not experimenting with it if you’re not publishing the results in a falsifiable form."

[video: http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2009/07/video-from-reboot-11/ AND http://video.reboot.dk/video/486788/bruce-sterling-reboot-11 AND interview: http://video.reboot.dk/video/485250/bruce-sterling ]

[transcript: http://wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2011/02/transcript-of-reboot-11-speech-by-bruce-sterling-25-6-2009/ ]

"Now let me explain how you can go about doing this, and it really is a different material way of life than any in the twentieth century. It’s a geek-friendly approach to consumption.…

What you need to do is re-assess the objects in your space and time. And I’m going to explain to you how to do this. 00:32:30-6

The king of objects, the monarch among objects are not fancy objects. They’re not high-tech objects, they’re not organic objects, they’re not biological objects, they’re everyday objects. Things that you’re with every day…

Common everyday objects. You need to have the best possible common everyday objects. 00:33:11-4…

Get rid of it. Get rid of it, if you don’t use it! If you haven’t touched it in a year, get rid of it immediately. Sell it, buy real things you really use. 00:35:08-7

Now, you’re going to have a lot fewer things, but the actual quality of your life will skyrocket!…

I’m going to explain to you how you do this…

First you need to make lists. Hackers love lists. A chart. You can make a flowchart. Flowchart it if it makes you any happier.

Four variety of items: Beautiful things; emotionally important things; tools, devices and appliances that efficiently perform some useful function; and category four, everything else…

It’s not that beautiful? It’s not beautiful! Gotta go!…

And everything else. Category four, everything else. Virtualize it, store the data, get rid of it…

It’s not going to hurt you to lose all these things. You don’t need them. After you go through this particular discipline, you will look different, you will act differently. You will become much more what you already are."
gamechanging  future  genx  generationx  favelachic  brucesterling  design  objects  change  longevity  quality  reboot11  postconsumerism  postmaterialism  stuff  possessions  things  travellight 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Get Great Gadgets. And Keep Them. - Last Year's Model
"We love cool gadgets as much as anybody else. We just want to be thoughtful about the stuff we've bought. Even the most cutting-edge, tech-savvy geeks in the world are choosing to hang on to their phones or their iPods that still work just fine."
gadgets  technology  environment  frugality  consumerism  sustainability  electronics  reuse  culture  green  possessions 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Six Questions from Kicker: Jack Schulze - "Sterling says the only stuff worth keeping is beautiful, emotionally important, or things you use all the time. Sell everything else. I don’t really cherish products that much. They lose their mystery when you.
"Design (verb) is often blamed or cited as to why a product is unsatisfying. Design (noun) is where that process manifests, but it’s rarely the process which has failed. It’s almost always something else. ... I’m personally most excited when I’m involved with something I’m literate in, but technically unfamiliar, when I’m in pursuit of something culturally new or playful. When there’s a sense of discovery or itchyness about newness, that’s when I’m happiest. ... No one cares about what you think, unless you do what you think. No one cares what you do, unless you think about what you do. No one ever really cares what you say. ... You get the work you do. If you want to do something else start doing it. ... Talking about your work does not directly improve the actual quality of your work. Ultimately design happens in the world and in your hands, and not in your mouth. ... Design is about risk. We all fear authentic public response to our work, but we have to be brave enough to overcome."
jackschulze  schulzeandwebb  design  work  advice  wisdom  glvo  curiosity  discovery  tcsnmy  brucesterling  possessions  postmaterialism  risk  berg  berglondon 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Unpacking My Library | varnelis.net
"There is no question that I lose memories as I sell off my unwanted books, but there are other considerations. My father is proud of his collection—after all it is part of the Lithuanian National Museum now—but he is also melancholy. The amount of matter to haul around and preserve weighs heavily on the soul. Selling my books allows me to realize, if even partially, Superstudio's greatest dream: life without objects.

The global continuum of information and product flow that we live in means anything is available to anyone at any time. When that is possible, the need for permanent ownership ceases. Does life become a constant field of variation, our possessions an endlessly reconfigurable but minimal set of objects?"
books  ownership  possessions  kazysvarnelis  postmaterialism  simplicity  neo-nomads  nomads  libraries  amazon  web  internet  change  mobility  identity  memory 
february 2009 by robertogreco
How to Live With Just 100 Things - TIME
"100 Thing Challenge, a grass-roots movement in which otherwise seemingly normal folks are pledging to whittle down their possessions to a mere 100 items."

[via: http://www.kottke.org/remainder/08/06/15881.html ]
via:kottke  materialism  consumption  simplicity  minimalism  neo-nomads  nomads  possessions  excess  culture  trends  clutter  organization  ownership 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Kevin Kelly - The Triumph of Experience
"If you want to buy happiness you are much better off buying an experience rather than a thing...[things] will always wear down, break down over time, while an experience will only improve over time...warm puppies (and children) are experiences, not thing
happiness  life  wisdom  kevinkelly  money  experience  possessions  consumption 
april 2008 by robertogreco
k-punk: Can't stay long
"Moving from one rented property to another, from one job (and ‘skill set’) to another, it’s unlikely that I will ever have a ‘home’ in the sense that my parents have one. This provokes ambivalent feelings: I’m well aware that keeping on the move revivifies at least as much as it drains, that the old, limited horizons were constraining, but the thought that there could come a point when I won't move again is increasingly alluring."
mobility  neo-nomads  nomads  moving  possessions  stability  furniture  future  change  society  life  constraints  homes  psychology  work  jobs  careers  place  identity  memory  digital  books  k-punk  markfisher 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Ford truck with RFID tool tracker - Boing Boing
"Developed with DeWalt & ThingMagic, Tool Link system comes with bunch of wireless RFID tags you attach to gear...in-dash display shows what's in your truck so you can tell right away if someone snagged your hammer, or, hopefully, you just left it at the
rfid  everyware  ubicomp  possessions  ford  ownership  cars  tools 
february 2008 by robertogreco
PopMatters | Columns | Rob Horning | Marginal Utility | The Design Imperative
"We are consigned to communicating through design, but it’s an impoverished language that can only say one thing: “That’s cool.” Design ceases to serve our needs, and the superficial qualities of useful things end up cannibalizing their functionality. The palpability of the design interferes, distracts from the activity an item is supposed to be helping you do. The activity becomes subordinate to the tools. You become the tool."
design  critique  criticism  function  form  utility  popular  aesthetics  retail  target  consumerism  consumer  society  competition  popularity  symbolism  industrial  products  customization  hipsters  marketing  image  personality  handmade  books  possessions  materialism  objects  fashion  style  commerce  variety  hipsterism 
january 2008 by robertogreco
UNREMITTING FAILURE: The Horrors of Childhood
"Proust spent 7 volumes trying to recapture his lost childhood. All we had to do to regain ours was walk into a cold concrete block building sitting just off the Accomac Road outside Hellam, Pennsylvania. The building is home to Toomey's Auction House..."
childhood  memory  consumerism  consumption  society  death  proust  stuff  possessions  simplicity  food  snackbars  smells  marcelproust 
january 2008 by robertogreco
MyThings - Get valuables appraised and manage your home inventory on one secure site
"an online service that helps keep track of belongings—when and where they were bought, for how much, the services provided with them, and their value."
possessions  tracking  materialism  consumerism  inventory  socialsoftware  social  socialnetworks  organization 
may 2007 by robertogreco

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