CW #7: MATERIALISM
HOW MUCH BEING IS HIDING BEHIND MATTER?
Material goods have become essential and meaningful as never before. We feel an attraction, especially in terms of esthetics. In fact we are able to create individuality through objects because each and every item carries its own story. Stories covered with backgrounds, attitudes and opinions. At the same time human beings evolve and express their identity via items by letting them speak for life concepts and realizations. This is the reason why we attach a deeper meaning to things and establish a solid connection. So, do we sometimes tend to hide behind material goods? While having established a life perspective based on objects, we might have lost the ability to create and express identity by inner values and qualities. The following blogpost is going to make the function of material goods regarding personal growth a topic of discussion. WELCOME TO CW #7: MATERIALISM!
It was not merely Madonna´s expression of a “material girl living in a material world” that sparks a discussion today but the material oversaturation of all, once so-called, Industrial superpowers. Although, due to globalization and its industrial impact, an exact listing of industrial nations remains a matter of debate. Mostly, this arrangement includes nations named first world countries which show a significant progress in technical and economic situations as well as a major industrial production.
It was the Industrial Revolution that firstly brought the term „material wealth“ into the broad population. Material goods have slowly become mainstream, after suffering hundreds of years from a feudalistic system and subordination to political regime. Surely the relatedness to material richness of individuals is based on the period of industrialization. Furthermore it has been one of the first and most important milestones towards a flexible social fabric since it lead to a breakup of society classes. However industrial progress has stuck people into hard and time-consuming labor. Wealth has its price - the cost of self-awareness and self-realisation. Society is busy accumulating all sorts of goods, starting with more essential items like large numbers of food, clothes and houses. Later on, at the peak of Industrial Revolution the hoarding of objects has become more and more redundant, especially in terms of survival and viability.
Since then material goods and their quantity have represented prestige and have even decided over who is social valuable. Consequently a strong dependency regarding work was formed. This has been further reinforced due to the aftermath of consumption and the reliance of creating and manifesting identification through objects. In very simple terms, what you own decides over who you are. Thus it is seen as a type of identification based on extrinsic motivated intentions and established by exterior conditions. In an overloaded world like ours, material goods have never had a more notable meaning. However, there has been this little spark craving personal realization and fulfillment since history of mankind. And within every historical period there are occasional indications proving human creativity, gratification and contentment.
COUNTEREXAMPLE - wabi sabi
Wabi Sabi is a Japanese beauty ideal based on a technique called Kintsugi. Since the 16th century the Japanese have developed a distinctive method to repair and rebuild broken vessels. By no means shards were considered trash or disposable. As a result they have worked on a method to recreate artwork of the same nature. By filling in cracks with gold, the Japanese have been able to connect broken fragments and reunite pieces into a whole. In doing so, this method creates marvelous pieces of art, all of them representing exceptional fineness. The magic behind Wabi Sabi is that it does not care for hiding flaws. In fact the focus is on emphasizing deficiencies as a token of elegancy and beauty.
Furthermore the process of assembling objects using Kintsugi technique conveys an important message: A conviction that is based on a mindset implying that only flaws make real beauty. People believe things are in need of a story, a background that emphasizes and justifies their presence. In other ways, authenticity is more valuable than flawlessness. Besides human beings relate to items carrying a coat of usage. Compared to industrial produced and brand-new objects there is this spark of history, a singularity reflecting its fineness by itself. It is all about authenticity seen in scratches, dents, bumps and irregularities representing poetry of every day life. Eventually mass products will never be able to comply with this effort and cost.
I would like to make an attempt of transferring Wabi Sabi to present life ideas and realizations. Initially we live in an era full of material richness. Any living condition we try to explore and give meaning to is based on our vision, the method of observation. Somehow getting to know the world by opening our eyes has become an ultimatum. Certainly it seems to be difficult to please the eye and our vision. The absorption capacity is infinite. There is plenty for all of us, yet not enough for some. Why is that? Why does it seem to appear demanding to be satisfied?
To be fair, advanced technology, more precise social media and its entire impact on social interaction has not helped to clarify this situation. On the contrary, mindsets and behavior have become more and more artificial and perfunctory. It is essential to establish a flawless image, a perfect life concept, a desirable ME, all of the above as a consequence of social media attention. On a large scale what is missing though is authenticity passed on by individual personalities and its background stories. In other words, there is no Wabi Sabi in us. In addition, what we do is hide behind material goods, virtual “reality” and false impressions that carry meaning to a big extend by itself so that we get rid of the troubles developing well-grounded concepts of living and performance on our own.
What I would love to experience in society is the mediation of flawlessness, just the same as the Japanese did to recreate beauty. Because life is not about an impeccability. It is about receiving all its aspects, good and bad. At the end of the day, those are the scratches, the dents, the bumps and the irregularities that shape personality and result in unparalleled beauty!
With this new calendar week let us try to question our mindset and behavior concerning material goods. Give it a try! You cannot miss out on anything. In fact, by letting things go you make room for much more!