May 022020

It’s been interesting seeing local beautification in the Age of Corona. Around my neighborhood I’m finding painted rocks set in strategic places. Other rocks with inspirational messages on them. A fence with a christmas lights strung up on it in the shape of a giant heart. Basically, the whole neighborhood looks to be slowly transforming into a Burning Man encampment. This is the sort of heart-felt, homemade decor that enlivens the Playa.

I find the resemblence striking, because I’m willing to bet none of my neighbors are Burners. 100,000 people out of the entire US population makes for an incredibly low base rate. And yet, they converged on the same sort of decor when they were left to their own devices, with a lot of free time and no way to hire professionals.

This leads me to believe that there is a common psychological working among most people that leads to a convergence on this sort of decor. Simple, colorful, warm, inviting. This is the sort of thing people like to make for each other and themselves, when they want their surroundings to be pleasant rather than imposing and impressive.

Cory Doctorow calls Burning Man “a dry-run for a post-scarcity society.” When people aren’t impressed by displays of material, and with people having all their waking hours to do whatever they like, I expect a lot more of our world will be decorated in these personal ways. I find this to be aesthetically pleasing. :)

  One Response to “Post Scarcity Decor”

  1. There’s a lot of hope that some good will come from the whole corona crisis.
    – Commuting might get reduced when it’s unnecessary, saving time for people (even for those that still commute, with less traffic on the roads) and reducing CO2 output
    – We might discover that the whole growth based economy isn’t the only game in town (we eventually will discover this but it would be nice if we could do so before resources run out)
    – When it comes to profits vs saving lives a lot of places chose saving lives and even those that at first didn’t (like the US or the UK) couldn’t keep that stance when other countries decided that saving lives is more important to them
    – Spain is establishing permanent UBI as a reaction to the crisis and might be followed by other countries
    – We might discover that we as a global community can tackle problems that face us better if we work together

    There’s probably more but those were the points I could think of immediately.

    On the other hand, hundreds of thousands of people die from it. That’s sad.

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