WE GET TO vote just once every few years, but every single day we consume, we buy, we acquire. Stuff. And more stuff. Each item had to be made or manufactured and transported to us, all at vast cumulative cost to the world’s resources. Most of us accumulate far more than we can use, and regularly yearn for a home devoid of clutter.
It starts early. Watch pre-verbal toddlers at play and I can guarantee you at least half their conflicts will be over who’s got possession of some object. This is me is followed very swiftly by this is mine, and as we grow the two concepts become ever more closely intertwined. Remember those first independent forays into acquisition? On a quest to figure out who we are by what we want. What clothes do I want to buy, when no parent is choosing? What do I like to have on the walls of my own room? It feels so crucial. What movies do I want to go to? What books do I want to read? What do I want to own? The delight in finding something just right, that makes you feel most like yourself. These shoes, that jewellery, this car. Then comes the apartment or the house – and in it the furniture, the kitchenware, the towels and tiles, the photos in frames and flowers in vases and so on and on and on.
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