K is for Kipple

Philip K. Dick is usually credited with the invention of the term kipple: the sinister type of rubbish which simply builds up without any human intervention. Mind image: my computer desk.
P.K. Dick

“No one can win against kipple, 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.”

The character J.R. speaking in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?


What do you get when you mix entropy with kipple? Plastic.

I hate plastic. I think it is ugly in every way imaginable. And even when it in theory breaks down it just gets deeper into our food chain. My New Year’s resolution was to reduce the amount of plastic in our lives. Reduce. Because I think it might be impossible to actually eliminate plastic right now. Plastic is that ubiquitous.

Knowing that takes me pretty damn close to the edge of the pit of despair.

But, rather than just teeter over, a person has to pull herself up by the seat of her pants and remember that magic word: Unless.

Where there is life there is still hope. Maybe?

I like to imagine our planet as a kind of sweet spot for the forces of anti-entropy. Stephen Hawking thinks:

One can define Life to be an ordered system that can sustain itself against the tendency to disorder.

I’m pretty sure he meant ‘kipple’ rather than ‘disorder’ but I could be wrong. He’s the genius after all and I am just some blogger. Either way, what this means to me is that when we put energy or effort into a system we can do good things and try to control the kipple-ization of the planet.


6 thoughts on “K is for Kipple

  1. K is for keeping the kipple down. Where I shop for food they have a very large bulk foods section so I can bring my own reusable containers to fill. When I do end up with a plastic container (because you’re right – it is impossible to completely avoid them) I try (try TRY!) to reuse it rather than throw it out. Plastic is such an enormous problem it feels these efforts are way too small, but we all have to begin somewhere. Reducing kipple is sure enough a start!


    1. I know. Only once I decided to make it the big priority for this year did I start to realize just how interwoven into everything it is. Like the mouse I am touching and this keyboard. Daunting but you have to start somewhere.


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