Minimalism and Assigning Social Value to Our Possessions

*photo courtesy of s. yume:


There is a value that we often assign to the material items we own that goes beyond the financial.

Why do people own a Rolex when an inexpensive Timex will provide you with the same information. When almost every electronic device we own has a clock built in?

All objects carry two attributes; form and function.

From a functional point of view, a luxury watch offers little more than the Timex.

However, when it comes to form, it’s a different story. Many luxury watches could be framed and hung on the wall as art.

But we don’t hang them on the wall. We hang them on our wrist. Where everyone can see them. Like all art, it is a form of communication.

We display this art, not so that others can enjoy it, but to send a message to them. “I am successful. I have discriminating taste. Compare me to others and you will see that I am superior to many.”

But comparing ourselves to others is a dangerous game. It can lead to bad places. It can be a very unhealthy practice that doesn’t lead to happiness.

I haven’t worn a watch in some time now, but I do still have a couple I left to sell.

In fact, I’d think I might prefer to live a life where I really didn’t need to be checking the time anyway.


One comment:

  1. I just gave away my alarm clock and switched to using the alarm on my phone, and I have noticed how nice it is not to have the time staring me in the face every time I’m trying to work or relax in my room.

    Also, I completely agree with what you say about choosing belongings to send a message of success and superiority to others. Sometimes I catch myself choosing an outfit based on what will look good to other people rather than what I like or need. It’s a process! 🙂

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