Disrecognized Space

agressi sunt mare tenebrarum, quid in eo esset exploraturi

Why the 100 Thing Challenge?

As an ongoing topic for WEB206 (Web Publishing) I have chosen the 100 Thing Challenge, a subject which is of interest to me for a number of reasons.Some years ago my house was repeatedly burgled. The number of items stolen and the value was large, but there was also a sense of violation: my private space had been invaded, and things which had strong emotional value were taken. Furthermore, I was bemused and stunned by the total economic effect of burglary: it was not just the value of the items themselves, there was also the payment to various suppliers to replace the items, the time and cost to the insurance company and the police, the massively increased insurance premiums, the cost of upgrading home security (to a higher level after each burglary so that I felt I was living more and more in a prison), and the unknown economic turnaround from the selling of the stolen goods. Across every burglary Australia-wide I wondered just how much input crime had into Australian productivity. This was the initial prompt that made me think about the value of ‘things’, why we had them and what purpose(s) they served, but this also tied in with discussion around the same time concerning Affluenza, or the constant drive to consume more to satisfy some unsatisfiable desire to achieve pleasure through consumption.

In a Buddhist sense, it was the manifestation of at least the first two of the Four Noble Truths: desire drives us forward, but satisfying desires is never enough in itself, since it either leads to wanting that satisfaction again, or desiring a different satisfaction, one that might be better, more alluring.

Having always had a political leaning that would best be described as left-wing, these events made me ask various questions:

  • How is ever greater consumption compatible with a sustainable economy and environment?
  • Why do I have to upgrade my computer/television/car/life every year?
  • The 100 Things Challenge came along at just the time I was thinking about these things, and fitted neatly into these concerns.
  • Are we the things we own?
  • Is this the best way to live?
  • Are we liberated or constrained by things?
  • What do things mean in a digitally connected society?

The 100 Thing Challenge came along at just the time I was thinking about these things, and fitted neatly into these concerns. These are deep philosophical questions, but the 100 Thing Challenge provided a practical way of exploring them.

The burden of things

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