Friday, January 13, 2006

So, I have a snazzy new phone. . .

Thursday, January 12, 2006

So, I have a snazzy new phone. . .
Current mood: nerdy

Why are we so enamoured of stuff? Things, objects, possesions, treasures, knick knacks, doo dads, gear, belongings, paraphenalia, impedimenta?

I know I am. I am a bit of a packrat. This isn't all handicap; I mean after all there have been many, many times when something I'd saved did indeed turn out to be useful later on. Not to mention the sentimental and historical value of some things I have collected over the years. It is also true however, that objects, things, clutter are a problem for me. I have to expend energy and time to organize, sort and store all this stuff. I have to think about what to keep, and what to get rid of. Whether this or that needs replacing or repairing, whether we need to buy more of something or eliminate some things from our life. The upshot of all this is usually a cluttered mess.

Then I think about a more Eastern aesthetic, a "less is more" mentality. A minimum of choice objects, beautiful and functional, without all the rest of the junk to take away from their beauty and simplicity. A clear life, a focused life, a meditative environment. This has beautiful appeal. However: What does one eliminate?

Not only is there the nagging possibility that some things will turn out to be indispensible or somehow valuable in the future, there is also the very American search for convenience through consumerism. (I find I am sometimes a wholehearted participant in this ongoing expenditure). I keep adding more stuff. I have an appreciation for objects that are well-made, durable, well-engineered and convenient. I love shopping around to find the best products at the best prices. It could even be regarded as a hobby of mine- hence, we have collected a lot of great stuff over the years. Stuff we "need". But sometimes I wonder, am I just getting sucked in? Is the fun of researching and acquiring, and the convenience of using this stuff worth all the cost (time and money) and the clutter? I don't really know.

I have to admit however, that my new snazzy little cellphone does make me feel good. That sounds terribly shallow, but it's so much fun! It feels good in my hand, it does cool things and it's pretty stylin'. No, I did not need such a fancy little phone. (Arguably I don't need a cellphone at all, but again that convenience factor comes in. . .) In fact I intended to buy the cheapest possible model- that would have handled everything I "need". But perhaps the extra cost for the nicer phone is justified by the fun I am having with it?

Well, really I've rambled on about this longer than I intended. The extra cost of the phone isn't a big deal, but it did get me thinking about this habit of acquiring that we all seem to have. On the one hand we have the fun we get from things we buy or receive, the usefulness or convenience those things offer and the interest they can add to our lives. On the other hand we have expense (time and money), clutter and the endless cycle of managing our possesions. I guess it's just important to remember to weigh these things in our mind and ask, is it really worth it?

(But I still like my phone). :)

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