The Future of Stuff – Augmented Table of Contents

Seeing systemic embeddedness is central to our ability to reason about the future of stuff. 

  1. Section One: Justice and Desire
    The destructive ignorance of the past is being replaced with a witheringly harsh, scouring transparency.

    1. Seeing upstream, seeing downstream
      A near-exclusive focus on the ‘figure’ of consumer goods to the total neglect of the ‘ground’ is at the heart of our problems reasoning about stuff
    2. The magic of tools
      The great mother system to which all other systems interconnect.
    3. It’s not the clothes that fit you, it’s you that fits the clothes
      Industrial mass production is not really about us.
    4. A brand is a thing seared into the side of a cow
      Even nice factories are kind of horrible, but bad factories are really horrible.
    5. The age of wilful ignorance is at an end
      Nobody is suggesting we actually ban ballet, but there sort of comes a point where people look at the damage done and say enough! 
    6. Such stuff as dreams are made of
      A persistent pattern in the entropic heat and noise of the universe is literally the difference between being alive and dead. 
    7. Instinct and desire: I want that!
      Could your ancestors even recognise what this thing that you want is?
    8. Reification of symbols
      How much yacht is enough yacht? 
  2. Section Two: Desire and Destiny
    How are we to overcome the limits that evolution has left us, in willpower, in perspicacity, in cognition, in mastery? 

    1. Machines that work for us versus machines that work on us
      The advertisement simply attempts to make a false association between that which is biologically successful and that which is sold. 
    2. What can defend us from imaginary needs?
      The most subversive thing we can do is to know what is good for us. 
    3. Automated morality is the answer to human weakness
      Correcting the balance of power between manufacturers, workers and buyers will take time. 
    4. Stuff: Benign and malevolent
      We have left the job of watching the chicken coop to a variety of foxes.
    5. The Future of Stuff
      Fresh green shoots as we start, as a culture, to turn against malevolent stuff that poisons us and our world.
    6. Quality and Qualia
      I visit my friend Robert Brewer Young, a luthier, who is often to be found with a Stradivarius violin in his intelligent hands.