Have you read Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”? I have, at least some of it. The idea appeals. If something in your home isn’t giving you joy, get rid of it. It’s easier said than done.
I’m trying to get rid of a lot of things I’ve been dragging around for ages. I used to move a lot for work. Overseas, back to the States, overseas, back to the States. It’s easy to end up with a lot of duplicate items while you’re waiting for your household effects to arrive. A few weeks ago I realized I had three can openers. That was easy to solve. Getting rid of books is harder.
I’ve given away a lot of books the last few years, but I’ve still been hanging on to too many. There’s the usual pitfall – maybe I’ll read this eventually. I also have a few that I think are good reference items for some writing projects I have in mind. I’m convinced it’s almost always better to err on the side of giving them away, though.
I’ve been carrying around Andrew Bacevich’s “The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War” since my grad school days a long time ago. It was one of those books that I was reluctant to give away without finishing. I want to head to Goodwill today, so I made myself sit down today and skim through the final few chapters. I’m glad I did, even though it’s a disheartening topic. Bacevich – a professor of international relations, West Point grad, and Vietnam veteran – provides a well-written and compelling look at our obsession with the use of military power and force. I recommend reading it. If you’re near the Capitol Hill (Seattle) Goodwill in the next few days, it’s all yours.
We often hear people voice their surprise about how we sank deeper and deeper into Vietnam. The recent Ken Burns documentary spurred another round of those discussions. But I think we let the same thing happen in 2003 with the Iraq War. And we’ll do it again. We’ve proven very adept at convincing ourselves that the reasons this time are entirely different, and that we’ve improved our ability to execute a cleaner, more precise version of warfare. We’ll see another round of that logic with robots, drones, and AI. (That reminds me – another book I hurriedly revisited recently before giving away was Thomas Ricks’s Fiasco.)