Stay with me. This is a question. I’m researching a project I have in mind. . .
While visiting my childhood home, I came across an old, empty journal. The journal was a gift, and I’d thought it so wonderful, I didn’t dare write in its pages. The book is fat (nearly three inches thick), leather bound, with an embossed image of scantily, sheet-clad women holding hands and dancing (you know, sort of Greco-Roman-Barnes and Noble). I think I was around 15 when my parents gave it to me, and I can remember holding it just to savor its weight. The certainty of its objecthood thrilled me. The object, its quality, inspired me. I yearned to fill it with important things, better handwriting, serif-worthy prose. I’d had journals before, but this–you know, this was a JOURNAL.
I don’t think about objects as much now, as I did when I was a kid, and a quick pre-blog bath/brainstorm session led me to the following reasons why.
Reason number 1: “Object” is kind of a bad word–especially if you are sensitive to the female’s ongoing relationship with said word. I’m sure, even if you are not (sensitive to it) you’re familiar with the term “objectification” and all the negative connotations it conjures. But seriously. Pay attention to the next commercial break (or magazine page or billboard or grocery store isle or or or) The female body is ever dismembered (i.e. objectified) for the sake of making a buck or eliciting a quick thrill (in order to make a buck). A woman’s legs. A woman’s belly. A woman’s breasts. No matter how healthy my body-concept, it’s difficult not to feel (sometimes) estranged from certain body “parts”. It’s as if–in the midst of all this objectification– these parts aren’t wholly mine, or a part of the whole–my whole. I have to make a conscious effort to note and deny this aspect of my culture that allows my parts to be so easily marketed and sold (as parts). I have to make a conscious effort to inhabit my body as a body, as a subjective and warm, living and doing entity.
Reason number 2: It’s not exactly christian (in this christian nation) to worship objects. Placing too much importance on material objects is not only seen as foolish but perhaps a bit amoral. People tend to view the materialist as a shallow, greedy person, unconcerned with the things that “really matter.” In fact, I’ve personally heard our society condemned for being too “materialistic.” In his essay, “Images of God,” Alan Watts offers a counter-view:
“For it is strictly incorrect to think of the progressive cultures as materialistic, if the materialist is one who loves concrete materials. No modern city looks as if it were made by people who love material.”
Which brings me to
Reason number 3: Most modern day objects just don’t mean much, anymore. They’re cheap and disposable, if not right away, within a number of years. And the objects that do mean something (the objects that get us excited), mean something because of what they do, not because of how they are made, or what materials that were used to make them.
Part 3 (The Question):
So, the question I want to ask you is, what object gets your heart pumping, for its objecthood, alone, I mean? Please, your comments are welcome!