27 Oct 2000
(updated 27 Oct 2000 at 03:40 UTC) »
: Ah. Yes. Well.
Same goes for
about a billion other things.
I happen to agree with you, I just wasn't sure what
you meant. Personally I can think of several thousand ways
that the world could be made a better place simply by people
not doing something. And I strongly agree that most
people need to slow down, give their heads a shake, and take
a good long look around. Not just "people", but People.
All of us. Collectively.
We've made an awful mess of things. What's scarier,
however, is that almost no one seems to give a shit. Even
on a personal level people are becoming increasingly fucked
up by the sheer pace of things. Everyone with their
cellphones and PDAs and laptops and pagers and microscopic
attention spans and some seriously screwed drive to Do More
Faster Now! And for what? I mean, really, for what?
What's really being accomplished here?
Scratch that. What positive things are being
accomplished? How many of our personal lives made better
and more fulfilling by working 12-16 hours/day, 6-7
days/week? How is life improved by the continual
acquisition of more and better electronics and
communications gear? Do this many people really need
cellphones? Do people really need multi-thousand-dollar
home entertainment systems? Do people really need all the
console gaming systems? Do people really need another new
car? Do people really need to buy this many goddamned
I'm as guilty of this as anyone, although less so since
started paying attention to it. I haven't had a TV since I
moved to Montreal, thus no VCR or DVD player. I don't have a
PDA anymore. I have no car, and no desire to get one. I'm
going to drop one of my phones (either cell or landline,
haven't decided which yet). I don't wear a watch anymore.
I don't check my email obsessively anymore. I unsubscribed
from 9/10ths of the mailing lists I used to be on. I don't
work all the time anymore. I've been reading more, writing
more, walking more. Paying attention more. I've been
making a fairly deliberate attempt to slow down, and I'm a
much happier person for
This all began when I came to the realization that I had
real reason for
pushing myself to Do More Faster Now. That I was caught in
the classic trap of consumerism, believing that I could
somehow make my life happier and more fulfilling by Buying
More Stuff. It never worked. Not for years. I'd buy more
stuff, play with it for a while (like a kid on Christmas
morning), and nothing would change and I'd just have another
"thing" to put in the box with all the other unused
and I'd still be generally discontent with life and, worse,
I'd usually be further in debt.
"Well that's stupid", thought I. So, I've started
out the deadwood, cutting out the extraneous activities from
my life and allowing myself to, as you (graydon) said, sit
still. I'm not even halfway there yet, and things are
already significantly better than they were before.
Less stress. Less insomnia. Fewer headaches. And those
are only some of the purely personal benefits. If everyone
would do the same and just Consume Less, even by 20%, things
would get better. We would still be consuming too much by a
long long long shot, but it would be better. Maybe one
small 10-20% reversal in consumer spending habits would be
the pebble that begins a landslide.
So, yeah. I could go on, but, um, I won't.