The tyranny of things

In 1917 as today…

But to some of us a day comes when we begin to grow weary of things. We realize that we do not possess them; they possess us. Our books are a burden to us, our pictures have destroyed every restful wall-space, our china is a care, our photographs drive us mad, our programmes and alpenstocks fill us with loathing. We feel stifled with the sense of things, and our problem becomes, not how much we can accumulate, but how much we can do without. We send our books to the village library, and our pictures to the college settlement. Such things as we cannot give away, and have not the courage to destroy, we stack in the garret, where they lie huddled in dim and dusty heaps, removed from our sight, to be sure, yet still faintly importunate.

Then, as we breathe more freely in the clear space that we have made for ourselves, we grow aware that we must not relax our vigilance, or we shall be once more overwhelmed. – via Quotidiana.

ALSO see this documentary on or ask George Carlin about stuff.

2 thoughts on “The tyranny of things

  1. Psaumes 46,17-18: “Ne t’inquiète pas si un homme s’enrichit et s’il augmente son train de vie. Quand il mourra, il n’emportera rien, ses biens ne le suivront pas dans la tombe”. So why do we bother accumulating?…

  2. La réponse est multiple et bien documentée. Sur le plan personnel, l’accumulation des biens apporte un faux sentiment de sécurité ou de bien-être. Sur le plan collectif, les entreprises ne se cachent pour reconnaître qu’ils oeuvrent à créer des besoins. Il y a donc une offre constante (on parle souvent de “bombardement”) de nouveaux biens qu’on nous présente comme étant la solution à de nouveaux besoins… ou une solution meilleure à un besoin existant. Et l’acharnement commercial est tel qu’il est facile “de verser dans la dépense”.
    In other words, we accumulate because we don’t bother to determine whether we really, truly need what is offered. The simile in finance is to add x percent to last year’s budget rather than, from time to time, follow a zero-based approach that does not rely on what is already there but seeks a justification -anew- for what is really needed.

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