Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Question of the Day #17: Stuff

George Carlin Question.

Do you own your stuff, or does your stuff own you?

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At 12/18/2005 1:29 PM, Blogger breakerslion declaimed...

Good question. I was a "collector", and still am to some degree, but my perspective on my stuff was radically changed by two events. The first one was when I made a bad trade with a "packrat", involving helping him move. He had an 1,800 sq. ft. apartment that was so full of stuff that I was amazed that the floor didn't collapse. Even after throwing out a couple of medium dumpster loads, the largest tractor trailer was not enough and we had to rent a 12' Rider truck. It took seven men over eight hours to empty the place. And this was after I had spent three weeks helping him box everything up. I was struck by the fact that this person was being figuratively crushed under the load of personal posessions, and might literally be crushed if one of his stacks of storage containers ever fell on him.

The second event, following closely on this, was the death of my father-in-law. He had saved a lifetime of stuff. It took considerable effort on the part of the whole family to throw out, distribute, and sell off.

These two events gave me a determination to lighten my own load, and share the joy of ownership for some of the stuff that just sits around in boxes and closets. I learned not to attach sentimental value to things. As for memories, pictures take up a lot less space.

At 12/18/2005 2:23 PM, Blogger mathyoo declaimed...

Do you own your stuff, or does your stuff own you?

neither. my stuff and I coexist in a state of balance and harmony.

just kidding. I own my stuff, and like breakerslion, I don't attach much sentimental value to things, other than photographs. Now that I've gone digital, those take up even less space.

At 12/19/2005 10:27 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

I've spent the past five years moving annually, so I've made a bit of a ritual of throwing out useless crap and starting over. There are a few things that I keep for no good reason, but they're mostly things that I've made, not things I've bought.

At 12/19/2005 12:09 PM, Blogger Niels declaimed...

What would that mean, that my stuff owns me?

At 12/19/2005 5:41 PM, Blogger BlackSun declaimed...

George Carlin was a groundbreaking comic, whom I admired for a long time. He was also quite incisive about the religious bullshit we all hate. But now he's turned collectivist. He was on Bill Maher recently ranting on about the evils of private property. To me, he's become an obnoxious, bitter old drunk. Any insight and wit he once had in his brain have now been rinsed away by alcohol and anger.

This latest comment about stuff is just another attempt to demonize private property as far as I'm concerned.

Notwithstanding the above, I'm a big fan of staying organized and getting rid of clutter. For the bulk of overfed, over-entertained, and over-consuming Americans, the overwhelming answer is that their stuff owns them.

At 12/19/2005 6:55 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

I agree with blacksun (no surprises there). It is quite inappropriate and immoral to rant against property. To deny the individual the right to own, is to give it to tyrants and bullies. So any discussion of property should be made on psychological grounds.

At 12/20/2005 11:29 PM, Blogger Hellbound Alleee declaimed...

I got rid of almost all of my stuff 2 years ago when I moved here. I am still sort of beholden to some of my stuff, which lives 3000 miles away. Somehow, some way, I must re-connect with this stuff. Not much, though. Just a few 80 year-old books, a violin, and some christmas ornaments. So I can understand how stuff can own you. If you`re going to be beholden to stuff, it should be really good stuff.



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