Sorting Through Stuff

In any advanced economy the problem is not the procurement of stuff but what to do with it once you have it. If you can't find what you have what good is having it at all? I don't think anyone would argue keeping track of what you have is important. Witness the rise of Google. Their whole mission is to help people find what they are looking for.

I spend a great deal of my free time sorting through stuff. Making small piles of orphaned things, mostly papers that don't have a home. I often wish there was someone who would tell me if I should keep a particular piece of paper. If I was an evangelical through whom God would speak directly, that would be very helpful. "Oh sweet Jesus, will I have any use for this 20% off coupon for Bed Bath and Beyond before it expires." Yet God remains silent to me on such things.

A result of procurement without editing is the garbage house. This has always been a fear of mine. One pile begets another. Say there is a small pile in the corner you haven't gotten to in a while, a week goes by and it's still there. Sooner or later one will become acclimated to its presence and as time passes another pile starts next to the first. As you can see it's a slippery slope before firefighters in breathing apparatus have to break down your door.

It need not be paper–in some cases it's clothes. A guilty pleasure of mine is watching the television program Cops. When the cops enter a suspect's trailer home there are piles of clothes everywhere, yet the suspect is usually shirtless and bleeding from the nose.

A C. Gardner of Washington D.C. relates in his review of Martian Heidegger’s Being and Time "we are entangled in a world which has two possibilities: the "ready-at-hand" and the "present-to-hand".
The former state involves our mode of "taking-care-of-things" when we are in the flow of normal everyday activities; the "thingness" of beings is covered up, because we are absorbed in what we are doing.
The latter state is disclosed when a disruption in the flow occurs: we notice the thingness of things in the world; in this state, the background significance of our activities (the projection) recedes."
I personally have come to believe old Martian realized this while looking for a missing sock.


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