Friday, February 6, 2009

Reading - Why We Need Things

When I first started this article, I thought the author was going to talk about why people could not resist buying more things even when they don’t really need them. However, the focus and direction of the paper suddenly shifted to the relationship and the symbolic value between the objects and their owners. I found this shift was a little abrupt and was not smoothly transit into the main topics.

No matter what, I like the analysis of how objects relate to the three different human experiences: objects of power, objects and the continuity of the self, object and relationships. I found it most intriguing when the author talked about how a person is socially isolated when he/she claims there’s no object special to them.

Reflecting on the points of this article, I realized that all the objects I own in my room fall into two major categories: one I call “pure objects”, the other “meaningful objects.” Meaningful objects are the ones that have stories behind them, whether it reminds me of a person, a relationship, or part of my past. Objects that do not fall into my “meaningful” category are pure objects. For example, now I am sitting on a foldable chair in front of a white desk with a green cup on the side. The chair and the desk do not remind me of anything or anyone I know. They are necessities. They are pure objects. However, the green cup was a gift from my childhood best friend. It is a meaningful object to me. All the other cups I have in the kitchen are pure objects since they have no association to my experiences.

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