Modern Austerity

I was just thinking about how, because of the digitization of media and the vast community of the internet, it is quite easy to live free of possessions that act like anchors on the mind. No need to find a place to store binders and binders of personal photos. No need for that huge shelf of disarray that people call a music collection. No more hodge podge of movies laying around the tv. No need for huge shelves of books masquerading as decor.

Between hulu, netflix and bit-torrent you can have almost any movie you could ever want within a couple of days.

Most people’s entire music collection can be neatly tucked away on a small fraction of a modern hard drive.

The photos are all archived on online sharing sites for friends to see.

Reference books have largely been replaced by resources on the internet and books I actually want a paper copy of can be grabbed second-hand off the internet and, once read, sold quite quickly over the internet to the next person who wants to read it. If I ever want to read it again I can just order up another copy and it will be with me in a few days. No need to maintain a giant life-long library of trophies that only decorate the living room.

I read articles claiming that the “digital life is coming”. I hear people pontificate about how minimalist their lives will be in the future when there won’t be a need for hard copies of things. But I think for me and my technically-inclined peers, we are already there. And the pundits are right, it is fantastic.

Everything is backed-up, no worries about losing a lifetime of photos or home movies in a flood or fire. No need to ever replace a costly movie, music or book collection lost to damage or thieves. And a life rich with all the benefits of huge collections can be had, but free of the soul-crushing burden of property, and with little more than a laptop and some know-how.

Laptop

vs.

Clutter

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