the things i write about: take two

yesterday, spencer and i had a really long, wandering, good conversation about many things. one of them was me writing a book and it might be about. this is my take on spencer’s take of what my book could be about.

what are the cultural implications of making and consuming differently?

i think a lot about objects: what they are made of, where they come from, who they come from, how long they last, what they mean to us (individually, collectively, societally).

this manifests in my daily life on a number of practical planes. i try to consume as little as possible (recycling is nice, but most of the waste our society produces is upstream, says my friend jonathan krones, who studies waste and urban metabolism).

that has two implications. first, because i try to minimize my throughput, i think a lot about what things i do consume. and by consume i mean, purchase, use, and discard (hopefully in circular ways, but not always). second, it means i try to pick things that have high utility. utility in this context is defined by how much i like the thing (shoutout to marie kondo), how long it’ll last, how often i’ll use it, how much it fits into my other possessions, and how durable it be for someone else once i no longer need it.

these two things involve a lot of thinking; thinking through what it means to use objects and what that means for consumption.

this, i imagine, will lead very quickly to differences between my generation and my parents’ generation. the question there will be: in a practical and technological sense, what are the implications of us not wanting the things that our parents wanted/created? my parents’ generation created mass consumption, consumerism, et cetera.

what, then, are the cultural impacts of wanting different things? as spencer put it, “lots of people think about the tools themselves but not the cultural impact of the tools.” this rings true to me, particularly as i think about about how the institutions that facilitate (dominate?) our society seem increasingly out of touch… but not from lack of trying. they just were built for a different era with different constraints and desired outcomes.

so, what are the cultural implications of making differently and consuming differently? i missed the local implications of this, but i guess that’s what the book is for?