Material attachments or sticky objects


Did you ever have this feeling? Sometimes I get obsessed with something that I need to acquire. I try to walk myself out of it, but I can’t resist. The last time this happened, I bought an eraser. This cute eraser reveals Mount Fuji every time you erase something. I was enthralled by the idea that you get rewarded for mistakes. The presence of this eraser in my life will remind me that it is okay to make mistakes.

A blue and white eraser that will get the shape of Mount Fuji the more you erase things

Why do we amass so many things and objects? Some might call you gold a mess. Everyone has a different opinion on what is valuable. Some objects are part of our personality. They let us express ourselves. Some objects help people become more and more themselves. They have something that resonates with us; they have some stickiness. They let us find ourselves. Some objects show me the way. Their presence suffices to inspire me to go where I want to be.

A cherished song or book could forge your character. Often, children cast career choices with impressive assurance. One kid would see a horse for the first time and want to become a horse rider. Another kid would see a fire engine and want to become a firefighter. You could argue that they have different contexts and environments influencing their choices. Objects, hobbies or activities. How do we encounter them? What put them in our path? When I think about it, there seems to be a spooky and immediate connection between the thing and the kids that came from nowhere. I believe there is some kind of Newton’s Law of Gravitation that rules our relationship with objects, art, hobbies, and people. We get attracted to objects. They could be books, songs, places, gadgets, an article on the Web or a cute Japanese eraser… Good things spread. Some objects might have a stronger attractive force, similar to how small and big planets exercise different forces.

The Internet has done a great job of putting things in front of people they might be attracted to and helping them find their tribes. Thus accelerating what they can become. However, It’s a double edge sword because it also perversely manipulates people, making them think that they should love this or that, or be more like this or that and lure them into an infinite thread-mill of possible activities and acquisitions. You could end up in a situation where you want to do all the hobbies and read all the books. This situation leads to becoming mediocre at anything. Back to horse riding, the kid we mentioned might actually want to start horse riding because of peer pressure. A little voice in their head might say: “I want to horse ride because my cool friend does it and has shinny trophies.”

This above all: to thine own self be true

Life being finite, we want to maximise our exposure to things that will forge our character and identity. But we want to do it purely and mindfully. We want to find those instrumental objects and tools that will enable us whilst staying away from the noise and unhealthy influences that make us lose our identity. How do we do that?

I don’t have an answer, but I think it is a matter of listening to your gut feelings and avoiding decisions that feel rational. In life, there are things we do because of external forces and things we do because we want to. Train yourself to notice when you feel a genuine desire to do something.

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