Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Tyranny of the Irrelevant

I have decided to coin a phrase, the 'tyranny of the irrelevant'. This refers to clutter, junk and tasks which fill our days but add nothing to them.
I remember my grandmother's laundry: there was a copper - nothing like today's hot tubs - under which you had to light a fire and in which clothes were stirred in the heated water to get them clean. I also remember the kitchen - a wood-burning stove! More hard work. The memories are symbolic of a tough life. No modern appliances for Grandma Durie. There was just such a LOT to be done around the place, to keep everything going. Cows to be milked, horses to be saddled, wood to be split, milk to be delivered to neighbours. Life was very, very busy. Yet although the days were full and tiring, they were never so cluttered as the lives we live today.
It seems that all around us there are marketers of distraction, standing ready to bombard us with choices, all the while telling us at the tops of their voices that choices are what WE want. It's got so that for me, shopping in Aldi's is pure relief, after enduring one too many choice marathons at the local shops. These days, the advertisers tell us, if you are not exercising choices every split second of every day, your life is not worth living.

Then there is all the physical clutter which a consumer society generates. It too is oppressive, as cupboards gradually accumulate diverse but useless contents, and our rubbish bins fill up daily with the most inventively diverse collection of junk.

So much of it is irrelevant. And this you may count on, that all this clutter has been sent to oppress us, to rob us of the gift of simplicity. This is the tyranny of the irrelevant. And as is the way of all tyrannies, it must be overthrown. Here's to a uncluttered life!

1 comment:

  1. Your reflections are so wise. I fully agree with you.

    A back while, not too long ago life was hard. Memories came up when you wrote about how to do laundry and wood-burning stove - feels like it was yesterday. And all those things that just had to be done to survive and manage for the day is not that long ago.

    And today we don't have to struggle in that way, but instead other things always try to take away our attention from what really matters. There are so many things that 'say' they 'need attention' even if they are of no bigger importance.

    The difficult part is to not listen to them and turn to the matters that pleases the heart and the soul - as I see it, in a spiritual way.

    To get the priorities right, is not always that easy.


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