I have a fortune cookie fortune tacked to my fridge.
It says: "Moderate your appetite so that with a little, you may be content."
Tacked to the fridge, it would seem like a good reminder for someone on a diet.
Or a budget.
Which is, like, nobody in America.
But probably should be 95% of the population.
I kept it because I like applying it to other areas of life. Or trying anyway.
And, right... we should probably also apply the principle to society as a whole.
But of course, it has to start with individuals.
Enough individuals to reach a Gladwellian tipping point.
Feel free to use the term "Gladwellian" all you like (only for people familiar with the work of Malcolm Gladwell).
Once a tipping point of individuals with a new viewpoint is reached, society as a whole spasms forward. Then strides confidently. Then coasts for a bit.
In any case, I find that doing with less not only doesn't diminish my fun, it increases it. By maybe a lot!
Case in point: the immense blackout of summer '03. I ended up going to my roof where I met and hung out with some random neighbors from my building in dumbo. We'd all had the same idea: to watch the sun set behind a Manhattan skyline that wasn't going to light up. As if Christo, for the sake of Art, had covered all the windows of a normal Manhattan in heavy black construction paper. Just for one night. Just for the fuck of it. It was a pretty amazing sight.
In addition to their personalities, people brought things from their refrigerators/freezers to share. Spontaneously. And not just booze. Other stuff too.
Jeff contributed a hammock. I retrieved a lantern and an acoustic guitar. Various people brought varying ability to play guitar. There were cute girls.
It was the most fun I'd had in a while.
I'd like NYC to do that on purpose.
Every so often.
These 24-hour "electricity holidays" would of course be scheduled and announced well in advance, with plenty of reminders. Don't want people to have to climb up out of subway tunnels 'n' shit.
I could stand to do that once a month, possibly once a week. Would it kill us to go Amish one day out of seven? I think we might find we like it so much that some of us opt to get together for small-scale impromptu power-downs of our own. Though, it may be rough on gamers, geeks and internet-addicts (he typed into a blogger composition window).
It could become a tourist attraction too, but with no street lights, driving a car into/in town would have to be strictly forbidden. Well, maybe we would need minimal street lights, if for no reason other than to protect pedestrians from cyclists, who would most likely want to take full advantage of car-free roads throughout the entire city [viva la bicicleta!] Restaurants with gas stoves could still prepare candle-lit meals in candle-lit kitchens, and probably charge a healthy premium.
Street artists / performers covered in EL-wire and cool battery-powered blinky-tronic stuff would attract crowds, as would fire-spinners, drum-circles, little jazz combos, all over town.
Hospitals and all emergency response shit would of course still draw power as normal.
Dance club owners would be pissed.
So... clearly there are still a few minor kinks to work out.