Sunday, June 1, 2008

Digitalization will free my home and mind!

I have always been attracted to a minimalistic lifestyle. Less and clean “things” around me seems to soothe and calm me down. It frees my mind.

However, I live in a small flat and that means that I have limited space. But I have a lot of things - e.g. many book selves with books, TV, CD and DVD player, files with important documents, newspapers, and paintings on the wall. They all collect dust and take up space. Not only that, they also take up my time and attention. I have to deal with all this stuff. I have to go out and find it, buy it, maintain it, store it, mend it, and replace it. In other words, all the stuff does not only clutters my home, but also my mind.

Even though I may dislike these physical things, I need and crave them. I like to consume them and I like how that consumption affect and contribute to my life. The problem is therefore that I need the things but I do not want them to clutter my life. Or stated differently - I am “a material man, stuck in a material world (Madonnaesque, or what)”.

The answer to the problem is of course Digitalization. There are growing possibilities to keep ”things” non-physical - as ”1s and 0s”. The discussion about the Long tail is all about digitalization. That is the "engine" behind the ever-growing tail. The more digitalization the longer tail, the less digitalization the shorter tail.

We have seen this trend for a long time now (Kindle, Android, Cloud computing etc). But it is first now that I really have realized the consequences of digitalization on a massive scale within many areas.

What glorious days do not lie ahead of me! I will manage with a hard drive connceted big paper-thin flat screen TV on the wall, a document typer and reader, and a small mobile phone. I can finally get rid of all my irritating books, DVDs, CDs, paper articles, magazine, and office documents. I can discard my now chunky TV, DVD player, CD player, and big bookshelves. Heck, I do not even need any paintings on the wall no more. That can the flat screen take care of. I will get a lot of clutter free space again and other, more productive, things to occupy my mind with. Finally - peace man!

But as always, immediately when we have answered one question, a new one pops up! Where will the digitalization end? The extreme of digitalization, which I can think of, is Star Trek. Talk about extreme clutter free environment. How many times have you e.g. seen some paper documents in that TV series? Even their food and travels are digitalized – or something similar to that. Even if it fascinates me, I have to admit that it also makes me uncomfortable. The thought of a sterile clutter free space gives me willies. Suddenly I feel stressed and my mind racing. So here we go again… de-digitalization, any one?

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