If you can't reuse or repair an item, do you ever really own it? Do you ever really own it? Do you ever develop the sense of pride and proprietorship that comes from maintaining an object in fine working order?We invest something of ourselves in our material world, which in turn reflects who we are. In the era of disposability that plastic has helped us foster, we have increasingly invested ourselves in objects that have no real meaning in our lives. We think of disposable lighters as conveniences -- which they indisputably are; ask any smoker or backyard-barbecue chef -- and yet we don't think much about the tradeoffs that that convenience entails.
The only grown-up other than Jacob who ever came into his schoolroom was Eli Willard. School was in session one day when the Connecticut itinerant reappeared after long absence, bringing Jacob's glass and other merchandise. Jacob seized him and presented him to the class. 'Boys and girls, this specimen here is a Peddler. You don't see them very often. They migrate, like the geese flying over. This one comes maybe once a year, like Christmas. But he ain't dependable, like Christmas. He's dependable like rainfall. A Peddler is a feller who has got things you ain't got, and he'll give 'em to ye, and then after you're glad you got 'em he'll tell ye how much cash money you owe him fer 'em. If you ain't got cash money, he'll give credit, and collect the next time he comes 'round, and meantime you work hard to git the money someway so's ye kin pay him off. Look at his eyes. Notice how they are kinder shiftly-like. Now, class, the first question is: why is this feller's eyes shiftly-like?
Because of this false idea, they devised an aesthetic belief in making the exterior of an object a reflection of the practical functions of the interior and of the constructive idea. Yet these analyses of utility and necessity that, according to their beliefs, should be the basis for the construction of any object created by humanity become immediately absurd once we analyze all the object being manufactured today. A fork or a bed cannot come to be considered necessary for humanity's life and health, and yet retain a relative value. They are 'learned necessities.' Modern human beings are suffocating under necessities like televisions, refrigerators, etc. And in the process making it impossible to live their real lives. Obviously we are not against modern technology, but we are against any notion of the absolute necessity of objects, to the point even of doubting their real utility.'Asger Jorn
What's great about this country is America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you can know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good.
Nin knew how much humans loved money, riches, and material things though he never really could understand why. The more technologically advanced the human species got, the more isolated they seemed to become, at the same time. It was alarming, how humans could spend entire lifetimes engaged in all kinds of activities, without getting any closer to knowing who they really were, inside.