Monday, January 26, 2009

On decluttering

As I mentioned in my previous post, some of the key ideas I've been exposed to over the past few months have been to do with decluttering.

Bruce Sterling's Viridian philosophy has at it's root an understanding that material possessions, beyond the tools we use every day, are essentially a tedious distraction.

As Sterling says himself:

It may belong to you, but it does not belong with you. You weren't born with it. You won't be buried with it. It needs to be out of the space-time vicinity. You are not its archivist or quartermaster. Stop serving that unpaid role.

The bulk of the stuff around me right now consists of various kinds of data-storage. There is also a lot of junk.

There are also some tools.

Why don't I lose the junk?

Nassim Nicholas Taleb makes a similar point concerning information: we are exposed to all sorts of information on a daily basis. But only a vanishingly small fraction is of any use to us.

The human mind being what it is additional information clouds our judgement of mundane, day-to-day matters as well as distracting us from what is truly significant (whatever that might be).

And finally Getting Things Done from David Allen. This strikes me as the ultimate in decluttering: it is the removal of all the nagging jobs and chores that we hold in our minds all the time and the placing of them elsewhere for processing.

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