Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:
Lately I’ve been reading a lot about “stuff.” How much of it we have, what we do with it while we’re alive, what happens to it when we die.
The latter is actually a big problem. In the olden days, people would pass down their heirlooms, furniture, and household goods and the recipients were thrilled to get them. But today no-one wants a 12-piece dinner set, or a set of sterling silver, or a heavy oak table with eight dining room chairs.
To me, the point isn’t how many or few belongings we own but how much we love and care for them.
The problem is that very likely no-one else cares for them. There’s a name for the favor you’re supposed to do your relatives and friends by getting rid of your belongings before you croak. It’s set forth in such books as “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter,” by Margareta Magnusson.”
Again, I get it—but there’s something peculiarly Western about the notion that your person, your belongings, and the space you inhabit are a burden on the rest of the world.
READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.