The Weight of Things

Like everyone else in the known universe I’m thinking of selling my house. This will necessitate picking up everything I own and putting it someplace else. The task of moving has me thinking about the weight of things. It isn’t just their physical weight but their spiritual weight I’m considering. My objects as carriers of meaning. Objects as a means of identification.

We all do this. People that become hoarders see an imaginary potential in every object they pick up. They imbue objects with such weight they are eventually drowning in them.

As hard as we work to acquire objects you’d think we’d be happy to always be around them but that’s not the case. People take vacations not to escape life’s responsibilities but to escape the objects in their life. If a vacation only entailed escaping responsibilities we could easily do that without leaving home. No, people seek a completely different perspective, from their which they will return transformed and the ordinary will no longer seem ordinary. It’s in this absence of the familiar that we are able to take a measure of things.

There are other situations in which we are estranged from our familiar objects, none of them as pleasant as a vacation. A stay in the hospital, a prison sentence, the priesthood or the military. In all cases a transformation is the desired outcome. It is an odd human trait that through all these situations we want to acquire souvenirs to bring back to our normal lives as a reminder of the journey (Is this why we take so many pictures while on vacation?).

Since we are destined to live our lives with our objects the problem becomes how we characterize them. Do we see them as individual entities? If so we become curators of a museum of our own making. If we see them as tools to achieve a goal then we have to examine the goal. If our goal is to live a comfortable life we can get by with very few things and by extension very little money. Some peoples goal in life is sex which isn’t really healthy because they begin to see other people as objects. I think a more noble goal would be to achieve a transcendence of sort. Like a permanent vacation. A life of exploration, creativity, and discovery.


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