"Get a bed, get a chair": en sakernas filosofi för 21:a århundradet

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e-waste04.jpgFoto: Sophie Gerrard

Ångrar jag den dryga timme det tog att transkribera de sista tio minuterna i Bruce Sterlings Reboot- prat? Nej, det kan jag inte direkt påstå. Kolla gärna från 32:23 in i videon, och läs med:

What you need to do is reassess the objects in your space and time, and I'm gonna explain to you how to do this.

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 are with every day. Whatever is in your time most, what's taking up most of your time, or in your space most, the stuff that's closest to your skin, on your skin, inside your skin, in intimate areas. Space and time. That's what's going on. That's where it's at. That's where it's happening. Common everyday objects.

You need to have the best possible common everyday objects.

Number one: a bed. Gah! You're spending a third of your life in the thing. You never take it seriously. Rich people have great beds. You should go out and get, like, the best bed you can get. Just, you know, money is no object. On a per hour rental basis, bed is superimportant. The sheets, the pillows, pretty high up there too. Every morning when you wake up you will thank me for this.

I know you're, like, resisting it. "Why, why am I buying a fancy bed, it's bad for me, I'm being taken outside of my comfort zone". You live in the thing!

Get rid of the wedding china. Get rid of the tuxedoes, the exercise equipment that you never use, the things you never touch. The heaps of things, the heaps of material objects in your closet, and God help you, your storage locker. Sell them all, buy a bed! Get a real bed, get a chair. I shouldn't have to tell people that work with computers to get a chair, knowing they would rather whine about their wrists blowing out, their spines blowing out. They wouldn't come up with a chair that would cost them maybe 50c an hour, of the first, you know, amortizable period. The world is full of beautifully designed, ergonomic chairs. Get a real damned chair. Sell the other chairs, the fancy chairs...your Grandmother's chair... Get rid of your Grandmother's chair, it was never properly built to begin with. 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. Now, you're gonna being having a lot fewer things, but the actual quality of your life will skyrocket. If you have real shoes, real underwear. Women, if you use actual cosmetics, instead of, you know, shoplifting cheap cosmetics because you're deeply conflicted about, you know, your impulses. Go ahead, it's on your lips, it's on your eye-lids. Get real cosmetics.

I'm gonna explain to you how you do this, because it's really kind of a hard karma. I've done it like three times. I'm an author, I'm pursued by books, by things accumulating. Periodically I have to scrape the barnacles off, but it's doable. It's doable, and it's very hackerly.

First you need to, like, make lists. Hackers love lists. Chart, flowchart. Flowchart it, if that makes you any happier.

Four varieties of items. Beautiful things; emotionally important things; tools, devices and appliances that effeciently perform some useful function, and category four, everything else. Let me repeat these four things: number one, beautiful things, number two, things that have some emotional meaning for you, tools, number three, your tools, devices and appliances, number four, everything else.

How do you know if it belongs in category number one, beautiful things? Well, you know, beautiful things are very important. Is it so beautiful that you are going to show it to your friends? Is it on display? Are you going to share its beauty with people in your immediated area, your wife, your husband, your drinking buddies, your pals, the techno DJ from downstairs, you know, whatever. Is it so beautiful that you're driven to exhibit it, to show it off, and to share it with others. It's not that beautiful? It's not beautiful! Gotta go. Take it's picture, make sure you get the barcode, if you for some reason want it back, just virtualize it, put it in your thumbdrive. It does not belong in your immediate vicinity. You're not born with it, you're not gonna die with it. It's gotta go.

Number two, emotionally important. OK, we're all the slaves of our objects. "Yeah, you know, Sterling says I should, you know, like, annotate and catalog my stuff and remove the things that are basically enslaving me. Oh, but not this, not you, not you, beloved little pancake turner!".

How do you know if it's emotionally important? Are you going to tell anybody else about it? "This is your grandfather's watch. Son. He wore this, and I've worn it too, and it should be for you, and look how well made it was, he carried this is battle, he fought for our freedom, there's blood stains on this one." Does it have a narrative? Is there something you wanna tell other people about it? Or are you actually its slave? Is it just emotionally blackmailing you because you're used to having it around? If you can't tell anybody about it, if it has no associated story, if it has no possible emotional meaning for anybody else but you, it doesn't really meaning anything to you. Get rid of it, you'll never miss it. Take its picture first, catalog everything about it, you might wanna write down the little story, they way it made you feel. It's alright, you can get another one, there's plenty of junk on eBay. It's just kind of sitting there, if you can click it you can have it, it's not hard. Your grandfather couldn't do that, got no eBay. Get it out of your vicinity. Stop dusting it off.  Stop heating it up. Stop paying it. Get it away.

And then there's your tools, right. I mean, you're losing nothing by getting rid of these things, they have no real meaning for you, you are gaining time and light and space and health by removing these objects from your vicinity. They're social relationships imposed on you by other people. They are powerful forces that put those there for you.

Tools? OK, high technical standards. I don't have to preach to you about this. Be very demanding of these tools. Do not make due with broken stuff. You're gonna meet a lot of (...) going, "Oh, it's perfectly good. Look, it's only a little bit splinterly, put some duct tape on it, you know it's fine." Do not make due with broken stuff. There's nothing more materialistic than doing the same thing five times because your tools are inferior. You should be trying to reward best practices for people. Go out and buy real stuff. Stuff that functions. You're knowledgable people in this area.

However, you have to look out for time-sucking beta rollout crap! Because that's the dark side of your tool fixation. Are you really experimenting with this stuff? "Oh, look it's nice, I think I better get it, you know, it might be useful, sort of keen to have, I've got its sisters and its brothers and, you know, it's marked down, it must be in my home." OK, are you really experimenting? How do you know if you're really experimenting? You're working on it methodically, and you're publishing the results. It's not an experiment if you don't publish the resulsts, in some verifiable, falsifiable form, OK. "I just needed it. No, no, it was mine, mine, mine, me shiny tech boy (...) you know, I had to, like, have it...In my underwear drawer." If you're not telling other people about it, you're not experimenting with it. You're enslaved by the thing. Put down the shiny gadget, go look in the shiny mirror. If you're really experimenting, you gotta be sharing the knowledge, just put it out there. Be brave. Be brave, tell other people. Share it, or stop it!

And everything else. Category four, everything else, virtualize it, store the data, get rid of it. Tons of stuff! Tons of stuff, you're gonna need help. You're gonna be crying hot, bitter tears over this one. Number four: collossal category. Probably 80 % of what's ever in your immediate vicinity. It's gonna (...) like barnacles.

You know, this is a hard discipline, it's a hard thing to do. Really hard. It's not the thing you do on impulse after you leave a tech conference. It's the sort of thing you do when a spouse dies. It's the sort of thing you do when you move to another city. It's the sort of thing you do when a child is born or a child leaves your home. It's the sort of thing you do after divorce. You have to pick a moment when you can really...cleave into it. Because it's tough. It's not a thing you do on impulse. I don't urge you to do it right now, I urge you to think about it. I think you should go home, catalog what you got, morally prepare yourself for this moment, because it's gonna come. It comes in everybody's life, it's gonna come in yours. Probably a lot more often in your lives, than the lives of people whose lives are gonna be a lot less turbulent. But if you're morally prepared for it, it will actually help you lessen the shock. You will be like: "OK, I'm ready. This is the moment I've been kind of plotting and scheming about. This is the moment that I rid myself of this dross, and come face to face with some authentic version of myself." It's not gonna hurt you to lose all these things, you don't really need them. After you go through this particular discipline, you will look different, you will act differently, you will become much more of what you already are.

Thank you for your attention.


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Jag heter Erik Stattin och det här är min blogg. Jag skriver om digital kultur, ungefär. Du får gärna tipsa mig om saker. Kontakta mig på erik.stattin@gmail.com. Jag är mymarkupTwitter och Delicious.

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