Diary

Is this spinal cord strictly necessary?

25 April 2009 | Diary

Minimalism is Anorexia projected outwards.

That’s an entry for The Quotable Wringham, I reckon. Here’s another, which I plagiarised from a tee shirt my girlfriend saw in a mall:

I love Asceticism. I can’t get enough of it.

The Plain People of Cyberspace: Stop, our sides are splitting.

But seriously. What if my silly quip – Anorexia projected outwards – is true? What if my ongoing career in simplification is a form of mental illness?

If sanity is statistical, then I am a raving loon. Most other human beings tend to snowball through life, accumulating more and more and more. I do not. The only thing about me that expands, is my definition of “enough”, and so I constantly offload things from those days when I occasionally acquired.

When I tell people that I didn’t watch The Apprentice because I have no television; or that they cannot “text me” because I have no mobile phone, they either think I’m insane or lying. The BBC constantly warns me that “officers may call” unless I pay my television licence. They find it very difficult to accept that someone today wouldn’t own a television.

Perhaps eventually, I will live in a Japanese capsule hotel, owning just a handheld computer and an all-in-one bodysock, each day burning but a single calorie.

You might see such a vision as some kind of satire but for me it is a perfectly feasible future.

Where does it end? Cut to a future in which I’m soliciting for illegal medical operations: “I’ll keep one arm for now, to see how it goes.”

Sane minimalism stops at Body Bonsai.

But it might be an ever-advancing rationale. Perhaps when I am armless (“But I can give you a nasty suck”) and legless (“How dare you? I’m as sober as a judge!”) and shaved bald; and my spleen and appendix have been removed on account of their superfluity I will still insist that I am sane. Perhaps I will say, “Only when I’m a brain in a jar, will I accept the diagnosis of my mania”.

And then when I am a brain in a jar (“Is this spinal cord strictly necessary?”) I will still refute the possibility that I’m mad, drawing the line only at the point of voluntarily downloading my consciousness into a computer.

And then when I am but a digital soul on a server somewhere, tutting at the surplus data in the world recycling bin, I will accept that maybe I have gone too far and would there be any chance of downloading my girlfriend for some cyberloving?

Will it ever be possible to reduce oneself to an odour?

An evaluation: Minimalism is not Anorexia projected outwards. To have modest surroundings will only nourish, never starve: a maxim that won’t make it into The Quotable Wringham on account of it being true and not a stupid verbal handstand.