Monday, March 11, 2013

The Thing About Things

Why do people like stuff quite as much as they do? What about 'things' strikes a silvery-tinsel-spangled chord in our brittle and blase 21st century hearts? Let's be honest - most of us have been there. Coveted, lusted, longed, schemed, plotted, mulled - not in pursuit of an ideal or an idea, but something much baser than that - a representation or an approximation of a thought or desire. Beyond the boring connotations of status and the projection of self, what stuff does is erect fortresses. Stacks 'em up and builds 'em high. Enough so that we don't have to see or consider the unseemly, ugly and difficult. Stuff is the psychological ballast we buy, the defenses we employ, the fun we have. And lest this be seen as a lamentation, it isn't. It's exactly what some of us do with our constructs and arguments. As effectual, or ineffectual - depending on the kind of day we're having, or the mood we're in.

Stuff can make the living of life a little pleasanter, easier, brighter. Ideas can sharpen edges but stuff softens them. Stuff is the tangible, corporeal proof of quality of life, in some ways of material progress and accomplishment.

When it comes to it, if I had to choose between a democracy of ideas or a democracy of stuff, I'm not sure which way I'd go.

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