Source: KSL

Every so often, I like to apply a simple Litmus test to my life to help me figure out a couple things. The test has a single question, and the way I answer this question tells me a lot about how reasonable of a person I'm being, and if I'm living in a sustainable way. The questions is this:

If everyone acted the way I'm acting, would it still work?

It's a simple enough question, and easy enough to apply to every day life. Next time you're on the highway, ask: If everyone drove the way I'm driving right now, would that be safe? Or maybe the next time you're in the office, check: If everyone put in the same level of effort I'm putting in right now, would the company be better or worse off? It's a simple enough question to be broadly applicable and easy to fit to any situation. I wanted to apply this question to my situation, and I phrased it as follows:

Would it be possible for everyone to live the way that I'm living right now?

I don't think this one has an easy answer. Or rather, I think the answer is clear, but it depends on the perspective you're looking at it from. So I'm going to play a bit of Devil's advocate, and answer my question.

Hell No.

I can hardly imagine what the parking lots would look like if everyone at my company lived in them. They would be packed, there'd be no room for everyone, and the traffic would be completely unbearable. And forget about using the gyms and showers in the morning or at night, there'd consistently be lines out the doors, and the facilities would quickly become gross and worn. Not to mention that dinner is only open at a few cafes on campus, and the lines are bad enough as it is. If everyone was trying to eat all their meals here, the company would have to shutdown the perks all together. If everyone was doing what I'm doing right now, everything would devolve into chaos, and it would happen pretty quickly.


In a more general sense, experimentation with "decentralizing" the home is not a new concept. A good example of this is the Capsule hotel, which is a type of hotel in Japan where you sleep in one of hundreds of small pods, and have access to a communal bathroom. This is basically what I'm doing, except instead of a pod, I have a box truck, and the "communal bathrooms" are at my workplace. If we ditch the European value of loving to have ownership over things, particularly land, this is a pretty efficient way to go about things. If everyone's homes were just glorified sleep pods and small storage areas, we'd save an enormous amount of land, energy, water, and pretty much every other resource that we consume. Something mankind has derived countless times in the course of engineering the world is that it's always more efficient to do something big and in bulk. Freight shipping is more fuel efficient, giant gas-powered turbines run more efficiently than cars, and having large communal facilities is more efficient than every individual having their own. Granted, I'm not addressing issues of food or leisure, but in this weird thought-experiment, those can remain basically the same as they are now. The point is that, if we had always organized our lives around small sleeping quarters and large communal services, we'd be dealing with far fewer sustainability issues than we are today. So in this sense, the answer is yes, it is totally possibly for everyone to live how I'm living right now.

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