We need to see a bag as a bag.
And we need so badly to see a person as a person.
Since we engaged in mass production, we are coming down the hill.
We should discuss what we feel when, exiting the mall, we find a homeless person lying next to the door.
Is there a feeling?
Do we feel sorry for that person? Culpability?
Is there an emotion? What happens in our head when we see the homeless?
We were worried about those jeans that wouldn’t fit our ass. Or that beautiful, beautiful, blouse that wouldn’t fit our blouses-budget, at least not this time. And then, there is a person outside with no place to go. A person without a home.
So, I won’t start here. Guilt isn’t helpful right now.
I want to understand what happened inside the mall, instead.
For what the actual reason, are we loving blouses?
I always had that feeling that I prefer to have unique things.
That person who screams when sees someone using the same pair of sneakers- not me. But yet, I had that feeling of expressing myself in a unique way.
BAD LUCK, MASS PRODUCTION WAS INVENTED BEFORE I WAS BORN.
I didn’t have all I wanted, but I had a good collection of clothing and accessoires.
I did try many haircuts, even bald (but that’s another tale).
I needed to use glasses since I was six, so you can imagine… orange&blue, black&green, round dark-purple, turtle pattern, etc.
Consciously or unconsciously, I was struggling with the standardized people around me.
All. The. Same.
Not just the same clothes, but the same routine, same likes and dislikes and, worst, same sadness -that discrete sadness.
Discrete sadness I call when people complain a lot about superficial stuff, but never say a word upon the deepest anguish they feel. You know- the bad things.
DO THINGS THAT WE USE HELP US EXPRESS OURSELVES?
Are garments a camouflage, a defense, a weapon to protect us from the rowdy-busy-insane world?
Or… Are we buying things the same way we are drinking cows milk in the 21st century?
I mean, we are drinking it only because someone (that is making a fortune) invested weighty in the marketing (and corrupt science) telling us that there isn’t such a healthy thing as drinking bovine formula.
Is someone investing in telling us to buy things to be successful?– Yes. Every company.
Almost everybody, including our mum. Do we do what they say?
Do we enjoy it?
Do we understand that someone is making billions out of our consecutive consume? -Hm… Yes… People need to make a living.
Do we know someone is being underpaid out of our cheap goods?
Do we know our cheap goods will last little?
Do we know they require the waste of finite natural resources?
Do we know they are polluting our environment?
-Yes, we know. At least, we have a glimpse.
And yet, I ask:
Do things that we use help us express ourselves? Is it a defense from the rowdy-busy-insane world?
No and no.
I imagined you expected me to give us a little comfort about our… errors. [error – a deviation from correctness]
I said guilty isn’t helpful right now, but responsibility is.
Returning to that precious moment when we leave the mall and find the homeless person laying on the street: Is that feeling that we can’t explain the responsibility inside our head trying to free herself from the cage where we looked it in?
It lasts a second.
We manage to change our mind to those too-skinny-jeans and our may-be-bovine-milk-fat ass. Anyhow.
I find that it is responsibility.
Perhaps I should say irresponsibility -as you may know, it is the lack of responsibility.
RESPONSIBILITY CAN BE GATHERED WITH AMUSEMENT OR DISCONTENTMENT.
Let me guide you. Imagine someone saying this to you: (read this with an ancient and wise tone)
“This plant is your responsibility now.
You are answerable for its life:
You are guilty if it dies, you are guilty if it lives.”
(Normal tone again)
Would you take this responsibility with pleasure or letdown? Yes, it also depends if you are a plants person but away from it -away from this example,
HOW DO YOU TAKE RESPONSABILITY?
Do you hold it in your hands or it is like a hot potato that you try to pass on?
Each day, we know more about the impact of our actions.
And even if we want to ignore the homeless person, we can’t, even if we pretend. There is a part of us who feels responsible.
I started writing this article during an online lecture on Design Theory.
I paused the video because the words started to come.
This was all I had written.
I left the text in the drafts so we could mature and rest from one another. Now I came back.
I knew I would.
Guy Debord expresses on The Society of the Spectacle the horror of people communicating superficially. People buy things and people use those things.
And by using all those things, people create an external projection of themselves.
And right away, people start to express through that projected image.
Take a moment to think about the things that you buy. Try to grab the root: why do you buy exactly that? Does it represent you or are you representing it?
Are people expressing through a projected image of themselves? Are we all an external projection of ourselves?
Is it the reason we love clothes, cars and all kinds of objects? Do they compose that image?
Could we still project an image if we were all naked in a room? Well, there are tattooed people.
I’m tattooed. Am I trying to project an image even when I’m naked? Need to breathe out of this for a moment. I’ll make tea.
You know, I’ve changed a lot.
I was a girl who would go shopping if I felt less happy. Shopping was my hobby.
This is true.
I struggled a lot.
Now, are days when I dress in the most comfortable clothes and go to work.
Yes, tracksuit trousers, polar sweater, and no bra.
I know, sometimes it is too much. But I really feel like it.
This is because I changed the way I grab responsibility.
More and more, I want to hold it in my hands. There are hundreds of things I still need to change. But there are also hundreds I already did.
Objectifying the objects and personify people, was one of them.
I no longer ignore the salesperson, the waiter, the driver, the employee, the employer, the cleaner, the mechanic.
I didn’t start to ignore objects but now I only see them as that, objects.
If I see a beautiful bag I wonder who had the idea for that beautiful bag.
If my coffee is just delicious, I imagine the care that the barista had doing it.
We may be projecting an image of ourselves, but we really need to try to see behind it. I try to see you.
I try to see me too and am definitely trying to pull my projected image closer to myself.
Love people and use things, don’t love things and use people, they’ve said it.
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Masha is the founder of Literaa Poetry and the better half of Pedro.
She likes to write columns and lifestyle topics and takes care of the editorial staff. Read more about Masha here.