We have more stuff than we could ever need. Every year, TV reports about Black Friday suggest how far society has gone mad with accumulation. The planet is drowning in unnecessary objects and their attendant waste. This bookshelf explores the roots of our culture of consumption and the importance of choosing other priorities (engagement with the present, sleep, silence and mental space) over commodities.
Naomi Klein and Tansy E. Hoskins both investigate the dark side of crazed consumerism and how multinationals (No Logo) and the fashion industry (Stitched Up) serve their rogue corporate interests at the expense of the planet while stuffing our cupboards.
In his brillant and sharp essay, 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep, Jonathan Crary explores how the imperative of ‘growth’ results in keeping economies running at all costs while threatening sleep as a fundamental restorative human need. In Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport advocates for a sober use of technology to live life to its full, away from screens.
From there, taking the decision to declutter one’s life is a radical change (Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying is a perfect starting point) as one’s focus shifts from ‘having’ to ‘being’, and keeping only the things one really loves. Speaking of which, books hold a special place here: in his beautiful essay, Packing My Library, Alberto Manguel argues for the importance of real books and explores the relationships between books and collectors, order and disorder, memory and reading.
Browse Gersende’s bookshelf: Live Lightly