Friday, July 20, 2012

Conformity, simplicity & personal down sizing

This image came via Neil Whitfield. It is only loosely connected if connected to tonight's brief comments. Bit what the hell. It made me laugh!

Little Boxes was a hit in 1963. It attacked the conformity of middle class society, as does this cartoon in a way.

Despite my sometimes fulminations, I have a more positive view. Western middle class society has been a considerable success measured not just by the passage through life, we have been living in an age of unparalleled abundance in historic terms, but in terms of contribution to others.

My train reading has switched. I won't give you the book at this point, but it deals with time, history, intensification, entropy and the rise of complexity. In a way, it triggered my last post, Systemic complexity and the need for simplification. Technology has allowed us to manage complexity in a way never seen before. Yet the same technology embeds complexity into our systems that, arguably, makes revolution if not collapse inevitable.

I guess that's my point about simplification. We have to simplify to survive. While I have been a supporter of things like the slow food movement, I am not a supporter of the modern trend to clean out our possessions, to down size to smaller places. It's not just that I love my stuff - another modern word - too much. To my mind, all it actually does is clean up our home spaces so that we can do more outside home. In other words, it's an integral element of modern complexity. We alter to give us more personal space to go faster.

Our house ceases to be our home but, instead, becomes just another launch pad.   

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