“Naked came we into this world and, with the exception of maybe a pacemaker and a few sad tattoos, we’re pretty much going out the same way.” Neil Jameson (Newcastle Herald, 14 March 2015) has observed in Lives stuffed with stuff, that in the period between birth and death we make a mighty effort to acquire as many material possessions as possible, not fully realising that there will come a time when it all has to be off-loaded onto somebody else. The sad commentary on the times in which we live, that many of the things we have spent a lifetime stashing away in the hope that our children will treasure them turns out to be very different. It’s a flawed belief. Much of what we place a value on, the next generation have little attachment to. The resulting fate of much of this stuff is landfill.
Just as we need to have a good think about the medicalisation of dying and the commercialisation of death, so we need to pay attention to the impact of all the goods and chattels accumulated. Just as we are now moving to a system of leasing land for a burial plot so we could do the same with ‘possessions’. Leasing would be a good start for all the things we convince ourselves we need. Ownership would be retained by the manufacturer and products returned for refurbishing and re-leasing. Fuji-Xerox does it with photocopiers so why not do it with other items as well. Leasing or renting a coffin or casket seems like a great idea to us. Why on earth would you want to pay hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, for a piece of furniture and then burn or bury it within days? Neil Jameson goes one step further … “how about this: a casket made from recycled junk mail lined with flyers depicting everything your material heart desired.” Paper mache would do the trick , and why not? Sounds like a good topic and activity for a Die-alogue Cafe meeting. http://www.theherald.com.au/story/2941672/neil-jameson-lives-stuffed-with-stuff/ and http://www.firstpalette.com/tool_box/quick_how_to/papiermacheballoon/papiermacheballoon.html