Plenty of interesting articles in the November/December 2009 issue of AdBusters, one in particular by Wendy Steiner, “The Joy of Less”, which presents a literature review of how conspicuous consumption developed into a philosophy of meaning: self-realisation, aesthetic transport, spiritual transcendence.Her article originally appeared in Harvard Design Magazine, which is kindly available to read online. The passage that interests me most is a reference to sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, that:
… we derive profound pleasure and security from class and status affiliations defined through arbitrary distinctions, but the imperative for exclusivity with its casting-out or marginalization of the “other” seems more and more wasteful and old-fashioned. In the ethos of the internet and globalization, inclusiveness is a positive virtue.
Its relevance for me is a work project, Forum for Cities in Transition, which will apply an element of the internet to facilitate dialogue between cities separated by great distances, cultural and geographical, but hopefully willing to interact with online tools and facilities. Still a work in progress, but part of the learning process to reduce unnecessary, indeed potentially lethal, waste.