Haibane Renmei and My Relationship with Stuff
Haibane Renmei is an anime I return to again and again. There’s an idea introduced in the first few episodes that resonates with me far outside the bounds of the show: The main characters are restricted to only own items that are used.
I never finished the show. So I never learned why this limitation is placed on the Haibane. The more important thing for me is that this limitation sounds like an interesting guideline for myself.
As an adult I’ve gravitated toward old stuff more than new stuff. I have a lot of trouble resisting shiny new stuff, but most of my most beloved and useful stuff is secondhand. I’ve also had a lot of fun repairing and modifying stuff the few times I’ve done that in my life.
I’ve been bouncing back to this idea for years. I watched the show in college. That’s over a decade ago now. So it really stuck with me. I don’t remember much from college but I remember the few episodes of this anime that I got from the public library.
So with that basic idea, I’ve developed a number of other ideas that turn into a loose framework. Simultaneously I’ve been utterly failing to actually follow through.
The framework goes something like this:
- Buy used not new
- Except for the following categories
- raw materials
- time sensitive purchases (multiplayer video games on release)
- rare items
- creations by creators for whom I want to provide direct support
- items where used is prohibitively expensive compared to new (this is mostly theoretical)
So if I’m not actually doing this, why write about it? Well, when I fail to follow this I almost always regret it. So I’m writing this primarily to remind myself that this is something I should do. But I also wanted to tie this back to some other concepts from my recent reading and personal project work.
I recently came across the motto “make do and mend” from the UK during WWII. This from The Repair Shop 2049 which Jay Springett mentioned in his weeknotes a while ago. The whole article is great but the motto and its history is especially fascinating. I would encourage anyone to read the article.
The same article also refers back to the right to repair movement, especially the laws it has spawned. I believe that repair is not just a human right but an ethical obligation. Repair, and, possibly more important, maintenance are a necessity if we hope to continue to thrive.
I think my culture has drastically undervalued maintenance and repair. The levels of disrepair and waste are incredible in my culture. I have found it very hard to refocus on maintaining what I have instead of buying new things. With this in mind, I have tried to reframe new purchases in terms of what it will take, not just to afford them, but to maintain them.
Keeping maintenance costs in mind has also helped me re-evaluate my posessions. I’ve been asking questions like:
- Why haven’t I been taking care of this?
- What would it take to bring this item back to a level of care that shows it the respect it deserves?
- How much time have I spent maintaining this?
- Would that time be better spent elsewhere?
In some cases these questions have helped me part with things I had been holding onto. In others I’ve used these questions to gain a new and improved relationship with my existing stuff. I can enjoy using a tool because it is well kept rather than look for a new one.
Recently I’ve been resurrecting my 3D printer. A big maintanance job. It’s completion will give me a great tool for maintaining other things as well. 3D printing is interesting in this context because it can both help me with maintainance tasks, while also becoming a source for effectively infinite new things. I really need to figure out how to balance that.
Lots of thoughts and cool ideas bubbling up here. There is much more processing to do. For now though, I want to go back to basics and try to follow my own rules. This will of course be harder as the holiday season approaches, which is always a source of more things.
I’ve continued to have fun with Destiny 2 but with other stuff going on I’ve kind of put the game aside for now.
I picked up Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 a couple of weeks into release. My motto for this game is “I bought this to goof off and not care”. I’m not going to play the single player. I’m not going to play any modes that have vehicles or limited respawns. I’m just going to goof off and do whatever. It has been great! I’m so bad lol
I mainlined another volume of Ascendance of a Bookworm. This series is so absolutely good. I can’t recommend it enough.
I haven’t read another page of Building a Second Brain yet. I definitely want to. At the same time though, over the past month Obsidian has changed my life! I don’t know if it will feel like this forever but it kept me sane through a difficult issue with my house. It has augmented my memory and kept me from freaking out about Christmas presents.
After the Magic 30 release or whatever they called it I’m giving up on Magic again for now. Much disappoint.
I watched the MLS Cup with my girlfriend and my parents. Crazy amazing game! Find a highlights vod if you enjoy soccer/football at all.
That same week my girlfriend and I watched every pitch of the World Series. It was great! Really happy to see Dusty Baker get his ring. The Astros were a fun team to root for.
The Journey Continues
Take care of your stuff! Your stuff will thank you and your life will be better. Maybe find a game you can relax with and not care about.
Stay chill and enjoy