Fixation

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jacob
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Fixation

Post by jacob »


ducknald_don
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Location: Oxford, UK

Re: Fixation

Post by ducknald_don »

That's funny, I glanced through that in the bookshop this morning.

mooretrees
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Re: Fixation

Post by mooretrees »

This looks really good! Adding it to my list. Thanks.

the_platypus
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Re: Fixation

Post by the_platypus »

Found this as digital copy from my local library!

7Wannabe5
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Re: Fixation

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Interesting quick read. Recommended for all ERE levels ;)

The analogy the author weaves throughout is relating our relationship with stuff to Michael Pollan’s well-known take on our relationship with food. Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants. = Have good stuff. Not too much. Mostly reclaimed. Care for it. Pass it on.

None of this is likely very revelatory for the average participant on this forum, but Goldmark’s memoir of her experience taking this philosophy to the streets in the form of pop-up repair shops, and the what-all she learned from this direct interaction with people and their psychological attachments to their stuff, both functional and dysfunctional, is quite compelling.

One further note she made in reference to the analogy was that from her perspective “Mostly plants.” and “Mostly reclaimed.” are the toughest nuts to crack for most people. I found this interesting or reflection provoking, because definitely not the case for me on either side of analogy. Humorous note being that I actually bought a used bathing suit this week, which I guess is the icky equivalent of eating mealworms or vacant lot weeds. I think I struggle most with “too much” in terms of food, and “care for it” in terms of stuff.*

After years of running the repair shops as pop-ups, the author and her extremely handy husband and crew of other very handy folk from theater community decide to create a more permanent establishment. This establishment was meant to model how good new stuff, good used stuff, and good repair could all be provided by one vendor in an integrated fashion. I think this was my biggest take-away from the book, and I made a note to consider how this sort of integration might be applied to my intended reincarnation of my used book business. The author offers many examples and much research throughout the book on how these best practices are not being currently met by even very well intentioned well known businesses such as Apple, IKEA, and Patagonia.



*Suggested questions for book group: Do you agree with the author’s perspective regarding which rule or practice would be most difficult to follow? Do you think your perspective is that of most people in our culture?

white belt
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Re: Fixation

Post by white belt »

I just finished the book and thought it was an interesting read. It gave a nice overview of how modern business and supply chain practices have led us to the current situation with stuff and how they might be improved. I was a bit put off by how much she focused on what "they" need to do, whether that "they" is the government with more regulations or multinational corporations. I'm more of a bottom-up person (which is why I found the community repair popup concept so interesting like 7W5 did), rather than the top-down approach of getting organized, voting, protesting, etc. Especially when the author is likely part of the climate change problem given that I'm guessing her spending in NYC is at least 5x JAFI. However, I do think she makes great points about repairing stuff. Maybe I'm being too critical because I believe her target audience was mainstream well-to-do liberals whom the top-down approach likely appeals most to.

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sat Jun 26, 2021 2:56 pm
*Suggested questions for book group: Do you agree with the author’s perspective regarding which rule or practice would be most difficult to follow? Do you think your perspective is that of most people in our culture?
Here are her rules:

1. Have good stuff
2. Not too much
3. Mostly reclaimed
4. Care for it

I think the rule most difficult to follow for the general population is actually #2. I believe the author is biased because she lives in New York City, which means she is likely extremely limited on living space. Having a lot of stuff is the norm for people and in typical US housing with tons of storage space, it really becomes out of sight out of mind. Living in small spaces and moving frequently are both what forces people to rethink how much stuff they have but those aren't common occurrences for all people. Not to mention that stuff provides status, entertainment, purpose, etc in our consumerist culture. Thinking about it more, I actually think #2 is the most critical of all rules because it makes the other rules easier to follow. The amount of stuff you have is also likely the most important variable in environmental impact of that stuff for the average person.

I would say personally, maybe rule #4 is the hardest for me? I'm not sure since a lot of her rules are already embedded in the ERE book and philosophy so they have mostly become 2nd nature for me.

guitarplayer
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Re: Fixation

Post by guitarplayer »

I have this book on my mind to read sometime.
white belt wrote:
Thu Jul 08, 2021 8:03 pm
(which is why I found the community repair popup concept so interesting like 7W5 did)
This bit brought to my mind a practice that I see in some communities like the one where I work (sadly not the one where I work), where getting and fixing broken tools such as spades, trowels etc. is made into a workshop for people with learning disabilities. They are supported to fix the tools up, then the tools are used again or donated elsewhere. Depending on the skill set, the person can just sit around and watch, help to hold something, help to screw something in etc. Lots of meaning gets generated this way.

mooretrees
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Re: Fixation

Post by mooretrees »

I am almost finished with this and it has been an interesting read. I appreciate @7w5 and @whitebelt's thoughts. I liked her rules, and actually think that rules 2 and 4 are the hardest for me. I think strictly following rule 3 helps regulate the volume of stuff to care for.

Interesting executive order that the author might appreciate: https://www.vice.com/en/article/y3d5yb/ ... t-tractors

IlliniDave
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Re: Fixation

Post by IlliniDave »

white belt wrote:
Thu Jul 08, 2021 8:03 pm
... I think the rule most difficult to follow for the general population is actually #2. I believe the author is biased because she lives in New York City, which means she is likely extremely limited on living space. Having a lot of stuff is the norm for people and in typical US housing with tons of storage space, it really becomes out of sight out of mind. Living in small spaces and moving frequently are both what forces people to rethink how much stuff they have ...
Boy am I finding that this is spot on, even for someone who thought he did a pretty decent job streamlining a few years back. I'm cursed with the "I might need that some day" (IMNTSD) gene and just became very clever about storing things so they wouldn't be in the way of my typical activity patterns rather nearly as much as I actually streamlined. The IMNTSD gene is probably useful in a world of true material scarcity, which is ours not too many generations back.

My guess is 2 and 3 are the hardest, or at least would be for me without any deliberate regulation of my behavior.

Not positive if the author distinguishes between simply used versus literally pulled out of the trash and restored, but either way the difficulty there is time and timing. I know a few people who have very interesting collections of furnishings they paid very little in $ for as an example, but they also spent countless hours at garage sales and flea markets and auctions over decades to put it together, activities that to me generally feel like an enormous waste of time. Regarding timing, if there's something I decide I "need" I usually lack the patience to wait around until I can find a good solution outside of the consumerism infrastructure. Trying to anticipate future needs in advance causes the IMNTSD gene to purr which is another reason I simply avoid shopping in all forms as much as I can.

I'm finding books to be one of my areas of worst offense in terms of micro-hoarding, and they are getting difficult to get rid of. I suppose I need to make the ebook transition but there's a tactile satisfaction/ritual to books that reading a screen lacks. Clothes, surprisingly were another one. My wardrobe that would qualify as "look respectable in a public setting" has always been spartan, but as they wear down I relegate them to work (around the house/yard) duty and ultimately the rag pile when suitable only for that. I think I've parted with a 100-year supply of rag material preparing for my next move.

I'm very attracted to the idea of reuse/reclaiming/repurposing and have that on my official list of retirement pursuits. But when I'm honest with myself, I recognize I increasingly feel the clock ticking and suspect I won't ever invest the time to do anything meaningful about it.

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