My own little op ed…
Interesting observation the past month…not counting my own life long inclinations towards minimalism and a touch ludditism (more of a appreciation for simple ingenious tools than a hate of anything) I’ve encountered a significant number of people across various demographics who profess a desire to scale back and even eliminate a lot of the ‘matrix tools’ as I call them. This includes not only retreating from online social media but ousting their TV’s and video game consoles, going back to basic cell phones and in several cases canceling cell service for old landline phones-even tracking down rotary phones (yes they are still out there), canceling internet at home and even selling off any computers they have, content with using one at the public library when desired. Also in more than one case they express or are even in the process of selling houses for something smaller – out of the suburbs or city bustle if possible, getting rid of vehicles, and a general jettisoning of material possessions. Some of these people have a professional background, others don’t, some have an adequate income some don’t, some are highly educated some not. Some of them have admittedly, like myself, had a life long appreciation for minimalism but for others this orientation is a paradigm shift and they are not sure where or why it has come.
I think it says something about a shift in values, about a shift away from some aspect of daily operation that deletes qualities of being alive in a poor trade off for some hooked up plugged in alluring candy. I am starting to wonder if perhaps this is not so random but a larger social trend across a wide spectrum of society? Not that we are all going to go join the amish but perhaps the dazzle of the past 15 -20 years is impressing us less and we are coming out of the spell it has had on us. I don’t think it is a mere nostalgia for things of the past or a retreat to the what was or some imagined simpler time. I think for some of us of a age that can be a factor but many who are recalibrating their lifestyles are too young for such a recollection. I guess if when I next visit the local library I find some twenty somethings sitting around reading the likes of of Wendell Berry out of a real book I’ll have my confirmation… and probably a quiet smile.


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