Material Definitions of a Non-Materialistic Man
Many people, including Joan Kron, author of the essay entitled "The Semiotics of Home Décor," believe that every object that a human being possesses can say something about its owner, whether outright or personally. She states that objects can have various different values to their owners, such as links to their past, security or perhaps personal comfort, and are possessed and used for various reasons, such as ways to convey status, competition, or personal control. One could say she states that possessions can be described as personal identifications, rather than just simply possessions. I will not disagree with this fact, but I will have to say I am not one of these people; people who buy things to show their identity, whether in style, culture, history, or simply social competition. I identify myself with my actions, my words, and my personal reputation. Still, as it is a fact that no item can be bought or simply taken without some sort of similarity, common ground, or feeling of comfort between the person and the object, it can reasonably be inferred there are a few objects that can define myself as a person, whether it be of social or personal value.
Still, I have never been one to define myself with materialistic objects, such as clothing, automobiles, and other technology. I am not the least like Martin J. Davidson, a man mentioned in Kron's essay, who was so materialistic, the article written in the New York Times about him was titled "When Nothing but the Best Will Do" (109). To desire to be so materialistically superior is what I see as a pointless and downright pathetic way of not only defining oneself, but also seeking social acceptance. The clothing I wear certainly can not define me, at least to the eyes of those who see them. I suppose if one knew their origins, which is usually a marked off rack of clothing at Goodwill, they might see me as cheap, or perhaps uncaring towards the fads of society, the latter being the truth, but they are still not my way of identification. Still, if I were to consider it carefully, I suppose there are some items that define me as a person, though these definitions are mainly personal, and do not have to do with such social ideals as acceptance or competition.
In Kron's essay, she states that "things are cherished not because of the material comfort they provide but for the information they convey about the owner and his or her ties to others" (114). This means that products are bought not only for the desire to own them, but also for the desire for a material-way of expressing oneself to others who view you with that product. This is most true towards my first object, or objects, if you count every part of the item itself. This object is my collection of various store-bought and homemade CDs. In literal terms, it is a collection of at least 60 different music CDs, having a variety of songs; short and long, sad and happy, country, pop, and even rap, etc. If one simply examined this collection, they would most likely be baffled, being it shows no distinct identity or theme.
If one listened to all the CDs, they would find an extremely diverse arrangement of music, with genres ranging from the soft, flowing melodies of Gordon Lightfoot's "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," to the powerful, heart-wrenching songs of Josh Groban; from the soft rock love songs of Celine Dion, to the hard rock music of Nickelback. I even have songs from the genres I otherwise would absolutely abhor, such as the rap tunes of Eminen, the country music of Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard, and the alternative songs of Enigma. To find a general theme to my collection, just by listening to every song, would be an impossible task, that is, unless one dug beneath the randomness of the songs and actually explored the randomness itself.
What these songs do for me is convey my cultural beliefs. These beliefs are centered on one ideal: In order to be truly...
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