September 10, 2004

Morris on my mind

Time flies indeed - more than a month since the last post. I have a good excuse as I am in the midst of moving my family and all my worldly possessions from North Carolina, where I have lived for the past 7 years, to St. Louis, Missouri.
Big, big task and I'm still in the midst of it.

In dealing with the packing - the moving - the boxes - the decisions, decisions, decisions - keep it - throw it away - leave it - take it, I have had a little time to reflect on the quote by William Morris, his 'golden rule' -

"Have nothing in your houses which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

- The Beauty of Life, 1880

I like the clever turn of phrase - you must KNOW it to be useful, yet you are allowed to BELIEVE it to be beautiful. That is, if you truly believe that big-eyed kitten paintings are beautiful, you're clear. It leaves a little room for one's personal world view.

I also like the implication that one must be conscious of the objects in your house, and by extension, in your life. You must be aware (know or believe) that the decision is not driven by blind impulse, nor a vague sense that it 'should be' something to keep, and certainly not be due to any social convention. That is, in order to keep an object, any object, you must be truly aware of the value it has.

21st century life does not make this easy, of course. So much stuff and so many boxes and oy, so many books (my weakness)!!
Yes, I would like to weed out the unnecessary and the unbeautiful.
Just give me time. Please.

Posted by Tom at September 10, 2004 12:58 AM