For the love of things…

For the love of things…
Jul 2016

For the love of things…

I don’t think humans were created for a predisposed purpose. As an atheist, I discount the one creator theory. The creation of human beings, in my opinion, has been the sum total of an infinite number of natural processes, of which, we barely know a thing or two. Anybody who claims to know otherwise is lying, blind or mad.

We’re not perfect animals. We’re far from it. Nature’s most advertised feature is symmetrical chaos and humans are prime exhibits. Symmetrical chaos means that as sentient beings, we try to demonstrate predictable behaviour, all of us. However, we still end up being distinctly unique. That is the beauty of nature’s most controversial experiment – Us.

We’re also the only beings, at least, on this planet, who’re capable of expressing remarkable emotion and attachment for inanimate objects. After eons of seemingly Darwinian evolution, all that we’ve achieved is our love for objects, not beings. On the other hand, our emotional connect with living beings, has been on a rather slippery slope.

As a society, we spend our precious time on this planet, looking for ways to earn money, an inanimate construct that was created by us in the first place. And why? It buys us survival on this planet.

Survival, in its virgin glory, refers to the art of creating a minimal set of favourable conditions that grant continuation of species. However, humans have contorted this definition beyond repair.

Look at yourself in the mirror. You wear clothes. Animals don’t. They’re also not shy, which means we’re flawed and we cover up that flaw by creating an inanimate barrier. You carry a cellular phone, a product of human brilliance. Or is it? Phones allow us to connect with other humans. How can that be bad? How can we expect to live without it? But we have, for most of our existence on this planet, not only survived but triumphed without it. Thanks to hand-held pandora’s boxes, we’re more disconnected than ever. And yet, we cannot detach ourselves from this ‘thing’. I know I can’t and I don’t expect you to either.

Every frame of our stereoscopic lives is bookmarked by inanimate objects. Your favourite childhood toy, your first bike or car, your first computer, your first smartphone, your first house. Somewhere in the midst was the first time you sang a song, the first time Mom made a dish that you still love, the first time you made a friend in school, the first time you played football or cricket.  Our brains have evolved to be hardwired for ‘things’.

My Dad believes in the Japanese practice of Kaizen when it comes to ridding the house of old and useless things that have served their purpose until the end of life. Every now and then, he goes about sorting and purging items of zero use. In the midst of one such and recent session, I came across compact discs which I had accumulated. Not one, or ten, but over 300 in total. And yet, I never, ever used them or even knew that they existed in the house.

It is also a reality that I personally kept them somewhere and despite my seeming detachment now, it pained me to the bone, letting them go. Why do we behave like this? Why do we tag our existence with these ‘things’? That is a question that is more complex than you might think.

Our mobile phones are so precious that we’re constantly lost in their perpetually inviting maze. We forget life on the outside, we forget important moments, experiences and simple things like sunrise and sunset. And yet, it all seems natural and normal to us. On the contrary, an individual without a mobile phone is seen as a social outcast.

Isn’t it fascinating and sad to note that social bonds depend on inanimate objects?

We love our ‘things’. We see them as milestones along the highway of life. We feel lost and emotional when they’re taken away from us.

As dismal as this sounds, perhaps, that is the greatest triumph of our species. We’re the only ones who see life in inanimate objects.

We’re explorers, who see the world which we have created and one that we spend our lives to own, love and live. That is also how a toddler sees his box of toys. In a way, our bodies age, but perhaps our conscience doesn’t.



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