Ready to scarper on Wednesday evening, I’ve managed to reduce my entire personal junkstash to a ten-square-foot locker at a Glasgow SafeStore and a single suitcase of functional stuff, which is coming with me for the escape. H
Here are ten immediate thoughts about mobility and “stuff”:
Mobility versus “stuff”
1. I think I value mobility above all else. Mobility is freedom. Anything that compromises your mobility–a house, a grounded job, a possession, an expectation–is another nail in the coffin of your freedom.
2. Most of my “stuff” is in the form of books. It’s telling that my final vice is probably one that most people would overcome before, say, cooking utensils or clothes. I don’t own much of anything. Just a modest number of books. With libraries and broadband almost wherever you go, there’s no reasonable argument for a huge personal book collection so I’m forced to admit to object fetishism. I look forward to the day I’m unsentimental enough to cut loose my ten square-feet, settling to own but two suits, a laptop and a library card.
3. Mobility and “stuff” don’t mix. When people flee the cities in disaster movies, they always fill their cars with as much junk as possible. I love that the image of a killer alien tripod in pursuit of a Vauxhall Astra with a houseplant and a grandfather clock strapped to the roof.
4. “Stuff” calcifies and confirms who you are, not who you want to be. Your personality changes but the stuff stays the same. Consequently it holds you back.
The Masochism of “stuff”.
5. What I dislike more than anything about jobs is how you have to report to a certain place at a certain time. Such an agreement restricts your mobility, which is of course the idea. “Restrict to Dominate” is Page One of The Sadist’s Almanac–a tome well-thumbed by Government, itself a synonym for sadism. It doesn’t matter what you do in those hours (presenteeism is not a victory of the workers over the oppressors–their time is still owned no matter how it is used) but you have to be there, in that space, in that time, like a good dog. Ruff!
6. The person who hungers “stuff” welcomes restriction. It’s masochistic. Such behaviour is like a plant that welcomes a brace in order to grow straight instead of wild.
Mauvaise Foi versus “stuff”
7. I sometimes think people’s failure to escape humdrummery is solely down to Mauvaise Foi (Bad Faith), but there’s often a physical encumbrance in that they have so much stuff. An escape becomes a schlep and it’s easier to stay put, surrounded by junk and misery, than to act.
8. In the forthcoming Issue 3 of New Escapologist (October 2009), we blame the restriction of “stuff” for the failure to escape but in next year’s Issue 4 we will likely blame Mauvaise Foi. It’s important to remember that both of these things are restrictions–one physical and one psychological–but the blame cannot be put squarely upon just one of them.
9. Who would win in a fight between Mauvaise Foi and “stuff”? It’s like Godzilla versus Mothra.
10. Your house is a bunch of stuff with a cover on it: