[ExI] Neo-minimalism and the rise of the techno-nomads

ablainey at aol.com ablainey at aol.com
Thu Sep 23 00:58:33 UTC 2010

 Yes and it depends on your personal currency. I value things I make very highly, so by extension the tools and materials that enable me to create have high positive utility. Also some tools hardly ever see the light of day, but not having them when I need them has huge negative utility which outweigh the negative of owning them and them mainly gathering dust.

Though I must admit that I am a hoarder and having way too much stuff (useful or not) does have a negative effect. I like the idea of neominimalism, but I know I would leave with one bag and come back with a shipping container full of stuff I picked up in my travels.





-----Original Message-----
From: Jebadiah Moore <jebdm at jebdm.net>
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Sent: Wed, 22 Sep 2010 22:52
Subject: Re: [ExI] Neo-minimalism and the rise of the techno-nomads

2010/9/21 police dept <policedepts at gmail.com>

Nothing wrong with a great deal of possessions if they are quality, and you can enjoy them-- that is to say if you buy thousands of good DVDs and never watch but a handful of them, that's a waste.

I suppose the article didn't touch on it much, but the idea behind "neominimalism" or whatever you want to call it is that having more things is, in general, worse.  That is, the utility of the set of the things you own is not just equal to the sum of the utilities of those things individually (perhaps plus the utilities of owning certain combinations of things), but also includes a term which defines a negative utility which grows in proportion to the number of things you own.

In other words (in Haskell-esque prefix notation):

  Old model: set-utility things = (sum (map utility things)) + (sum (map extra-utility (power-set things)))
  New model: set-utility things = (sum (map utility things)) + (sum (map extra-utility (power-set things))) - (f (length things))
      where f is some strictly increasing function such that for all x > 0, (f 0) > 0

Of course, if the quality of the some thing is high enough and you use it often enough, that should be enough to offset the negative utility of having it.  But a lot of people have a great deal of things which contribute very little to their lives.

And it's not just about avoiding waste.  There is actually a negative utility that comes, not just from wasting resources, but from being encumbered by stuff.  As it applies to "technomads", having a lot of stuff makes it more difficult to travel, because you have to carry your stuff around with you or find storage for it.  For some people, that may not be a huge issue, but if you don't have a free place to store your stuff--and a lot of people don't--it might make frequent travel prohibitively expensive.  Even if you don't run into money issues, there are always attachment issues--people won't/can't make certain choices because they have things that they are so attached to that they become rooted to one spot.  And then there's the matter of clutter; many people find that having a lot of things around them is quite stressful, both on the level of having to maintain that stuff and because it splits your attention.

That said, a lot of "neominimalism" stuff is kind of overblown, and it's almost always accompanied by some level of... er... granola-esque? sentiment.  For instance, take "the Last Viridian Note" (http://www.viridiandesign.org/notes/451-500/the_last_viridian_note.html), which says a lot of interesting things but has this other stuff mixed in with it.

Jebadiah Moore

extropy-chat mailing list
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20100922/e45665a8/attachment.html>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list