28 Mar

Seasteading… or try living on an island

Interesting link via, I think, Paul Graham Raven (half my links are on Pocket, which tags where I saved the link which lets me attribute, but Safari’s Read It Later doesn’t, which means I have to rely on my memory)…

What do you get from living on a natural seastead oops I mean small island? Well, you get a different kind of time – a different set of distractions. Not simplicity, but a reallocation of complexity that suits some people. You get too many things to list here. The one I want to talk about is that you see your material dependencies more clearly. That is, you have to carry the gas that you buy. You know where your water comes from, even if it’s just as technologically mediated as a Brooklynite’s water – maybe more – because you have to replace the pump from time to time. It’s not that you have less of a supply chain, it’s that you pay more attention to it because you’re the last link in it. You unload your kit, your cargo, your stuff, from a literal-ass boat that goes across the water.

So here is what I can tell you: our material culture is vast. The substrate of comfortable, middle-class-as-portrayed-in-primetime American life is ginormous, far beyond anyone’s understanding in any depth.

From 6, 3: Seasteading by Craig Loyd.

I grew up on a boat, anchored off an island. This times a hundred. You become a teeny bit more aware of the fact that you’re on the tail end of a supply line when on an island.

My interest in things like being off the grid aren’t so much in a desire to drop out of the complexity of modern life, but out of a desire to decentralize a creaky system that I view as failing to properly account for carbon costs, and due to the fact that American politicians are basically now, due to Southernist dogma, refusing to invest in infrastructure. The lights failed at the last Super Bowl, which as a friend of mine recently said, indicates America’s inability to claim to have first world infrastructure anymore. The country I live in can no longer guarantee the lights will remain on… yeah, I’m going to need to think about that creaky system I’m plugged into come next powerful snowstorm/flood/grid failure.

To be honest, I’d prefer to see more investment in infrastructure and a simple carbon tax to price externalities.

I’ve written about seasteads a couple times in fiction. I tend to try and portray them with hints of the islands I’ve encountered. I do think someday I’ll need to sit down and do a whole story that’s just about that. Living on a small island might read as SF to a larger part of my audience…