Monday, January 05, 2015

Fighting Kipple

We're back from Mexico. It was awesome to avoid two weeks of Canadian winter -- and Christmas craziness -- with a trip to Cancun. The return, however, was a challenge. It wasn't the red eye flight (but our four kids found that a bit rough); it was the stuff. Our house seems overwhelmed with kipple.

The concept of kipple was introduced by P.K. Dick in the novella Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep:

Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers or yesterday's homeopape. When nobody's around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance,if you go to bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up the next morning there's twice as much of it. It always gets more and more.

The concept is further articulated by J.R. Isidore, Dick's protagonist-philosopher. He explains the rules governing kipple:

"There's the First Law of Kipple," he said. "'Kipple drives out nonkipple.' Like Gresham's law about bad money. And in these apartments there's been nobody there to fight the kipple."

"No one can win against kipple," he said, "except temporarily and maybe in one spot, like in my apartment I've sort of created a stasis between the pressure of kipple and nonkipple, for the time being. But eventually I'll die or go away, and then the kipple will again take over. It's a universal principle operating throughout the universe; the entire universe is moving toward a final state of total, absolute kippleization."

We go away to Mexico and kipple takes over.

Unfortunately, kipple is bad for your health (as you would expect from something that will cause the end of the universe). Kipple as Jack the Ripper. A paper from the UCLA Center on Everyday Lives of Families basically says that people (or at least "wives") who describe their life as cluttered have a stress profile indicative of poor health outcomes.

From a review of the Center's work:


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