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Space is the Final Frontier, or maybe Simplicity is the Final Frontier
by Linda Lane
2009-01-24 08:46:24
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Hi Dad,

7_400One day at our favorite little coffee shop in lower Wallingford you showed me your cell phone and your digital tape recorder and said - "this is my office - every where I go - I just place ads take calls and make notes and I am in business."

I have to let you know you helped me out with something - that is recognizing that if I reduce the stuff I own down to a minimal amount I can be more mobile and flexible.

So you are in a virtual business as a real architect meeting people and then doing the design and drafting at home (on paper but so what?). This virtual office ideal you were already living. While I may have considered myself hip and with-it as far as technology goes the reality is that isn't as true for me as it is for you.

Of course I had read about this kind of lifestyle, I knew it was possible. Working in technology companies, I helped to make it possible. What I knew about I hadn't integrated into my personship - although I am always looking for projects and design work to help people succeed, it had not occurred to me that in order for me to be happy, flexible, and carefree I have to dump old ideas even about what a job or an office is, and the accompanying stuff I have saddled myself with for so long. Sure I loved the stuff. But it's mostly gone now anyway having moved to a new flat on average once a year my entire life.

4_400_01So I had saddled myself with a bunch of old ideas along with electronics and clothes and things to cook with and paperwork that I don't really need anymore. Arguably I don't even need my art supplies because I just digitize the resulting images anyway, and other than that in our age art is really a moving medium or a conceptional framework rather than something you hang on the wall. The things we hang on the wall are really more of artifacts any way.

What finally broke me through to your side - my 85 year old father's revolutionary mobile office of one highly skilled professional? I wanted to see the beach and take photos of people surfing the same day I was working, I wanted to watch the sun set, I wanted to be outside. It's not that there aren't enough photos of people surfing in the world, it's that I wanted to be there and I wanted to upload my images to Flickr immediately so that others world wide who follow my photostream - like a little movie of "What Does Linda Lane See?" - could view them right then, and any subjects could see their images right away!

5_400But I had work to do, a design to get out, so instead I stayed home. Finally late at night it dawned on me. My laptop has wireless, I have a car, I can do the design work (which is all digital) on my laptop, turn it in from a beachside coffee shop, and shoot the photos and publish them to the Web the same way. Duho!

So now I want you to know I am combing through all that remains to see how much can be donated to charity or shredded or dumped. And I won't be collecting more - I will collect things like a couple of lens and bodies for the camera, a video camera, and another laptop cause this one was never intended for the kind of traveling I plan to do. Life is too short to sit at home any more. It's going to take a while but I am going to live up to my name.

I love you Daddy! Thank you!

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Emanuel Paparella2009-01-24 09:26:10
Interesting and inspiring article Linda. It brought me back to St. Francis of Assisi’s advocacy of simplicity 800 years ago. Closer to us in the 19th century, Henri David Thoreau too emphasized simplicity in his Walden and warned us Americans and Western countries in general that modern materialism would eventually lead to the destruction of the environment needed for living beings. His motto was “simplify, simplify, simplify” understood as the use of the absolute minimum necessary. He had only three chairs with which to furnish his house and in that sense he was a Franciscan. Beyond the environment, Thoreau, like St. Francis, observed that more often than not, material possessions do not lead to joy and conviviality, that few individuals win society's race to the top, and the rest are no better as a result of this contest, that such a quest produces enormous stress, which is a major cause of illness and death, that it leads to lives of quite desperation and that such desperation is a dangerous blight that spreads uncontrollably and becomes a distraction from many real problems, including those relating to the environment. Perhaps both St. Francis and Thoreau understood that poverty resides in the enormity of one’s desires which have nothing to do with one’s needs and it is a delusion to think that the will to power and clever technological gadgets will solve all our problems.

LL2009-01-26 11:37:37
Thank you Dr. Paparella. Simplify!

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