Friday, November 4, 2011

Material worth

One of the mantra's that I live by is a quote from the film Fight Club:


At first it doesn't seem to make sense, until you start thinking about it. The more you do, the more it becomes 'relevant', the meaning becomes clear.

My interpretation is that, alongside the accumulation of possessions, your freedoms are compromised. Take the scenario where you buy a nice white sofa which fits in perfectly with the rest of your decor. With this 'great sofa', the following concerns come to mind:
  • 'Scotch guarding' your couch to protect against marking
  • Avoiding *anyone* putting their feet up on it
  • Maybe getting a plastic cover / throw rug to protect it from wear
  • Avoiding drinking red wine / eating anything that could stain it.
  • Being reticent to move, as the sofa now fits in 'so nicely' in your current home
  • Getting insurance to ensure that if it's stolen / damaged in some way, you can get a new one
  • Paying the sofa off before the interest-free period expires (possibly)
It seems like a lot of things to consider just for a 'new sofa'. Now, take that new car. You now have to worry about parking, fuel, scratches, other drivers, your driving, servicing your car, keeping your miles down for high resale value, choosing the right colour also for high resale, choosing the right model for high resale etc. So much is geared towards not losing money, or maintaining the items that you purchased so they remain 'new' for as long as possible. Outside of the basic function of sitting on the lounge, or driving the car to get to point B, how much of the other things consume your mind? Maybe I just think too much, but I'm sure at least a few of the things on the list have crossed your mind at one time or the other.

The other Fight Club quote that seems fitting is:
"It's only once you have lost everything that you are free to do anything"

There seems to be some value in that quote, too. Even though those mantra's are high on my thoughts each day, I don't follow them to the letter. I am human, after all. I have things, I have things that consume my mind. At times I feel as if there would be merits in removing these items from my life, but as long as I live in a society that can't work without these things, I will always be shackled by a need to have things. I wouldn't be able to blog unless I had computer of some kind. I wouldn't have a job unless I could dress appropriately, I wouldn't be able to make a coffee without a kettle. All things that you 'need'.

I think at some point, there will need to be a change; either from choice or necessity. What will happen if, and when, that time comes? What things can you truly not 'live' without? What is your material worth?