Blog Post #8: The Invisible Line of Necessary and Unnecessary

Throughout this course,  our Expository writing class learned objects are ingrained and intertwined with all aspects of our lives. From functionality to pleasure, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. This age old saying shows how some objects and its consumptions proves beneficial for mankind, while other objects may prove detrimental. This line can be determined through examining the functionality of the object. Unfortunately this line is not always clear and with objects lingering on both sides of the spectrum. Objects such as medical equipment like needles, anesthetic, life-support systems, and diagnostic equipment such as x-ray machines, CT and PET scanners provides intricate information for diagnosing and saving lives everyday. Phones and car make the transportation of good, people, information and services simpler than ever. Yet what happens when those same needles and anesthetic are being consumed by a drug addict? How frequently do we hear in contemporary society smart phones are ruining social norms and daily interaction, that we concern ourselves more with technologies than our surroundings? Does the convenience of a car outweigh the amount of deaths it produces each year? Or justify the consequences of pollutions it produces each day? Consumption of objects of whether beneficial and detrimental remains contingent on what individuals use said object for. When Lakisha Rose discusses baby carriers in her post The Culture of Baby Wearing, the functionality of the device proves beneficial for both the mother and her child. But as Lakiesha describes the baby carrier, the convenience for carrying a child is not the only significant factor but primarily the connection it develops between the mother and child.She states However, I learned that this object help build a connection to with mother. The reason is obvious; mothers are carrying babies 90% of the day. Throughout the semester we have been learning about the relationship between object and writing, objects and people. Also the way object make us feel. The object’s functionality is not limited to the actual service it may provide us, but also emotions, memories, and experiences associated with said object. One one of the most significant purchases in my life remains the day I paid for my kid brother’s baseball season. Paying for his season costed me over five hundred dollars. Spending this cash meant at the time meant I would be limited to having no extra spending cash the remainder of the month with possible consequences on being late for some bills. Yet the ability of being able to help my parents out when needed, and bringing happiness to my brother outweighed essentially ‘the greater good’ which at the time meant putting priorities societies consider prominent aside for a reason I considered the greater good.

Through this experience I learned personal responsibility and discipline remains crucial for these habits of consumption. WIthout those traits, I would be found living in my mother’s basement. If all I did was ‘consume’ objects, I would have nothing substantial to show for myself except these possessions I own that do not amount to the things society values outside of possessions, such as respectable and moral person, signs of success and contributions to society. Yet again the line remains difficult to determine because without a certain degree of object consumption, businesses would fail, capital would cease to increase, halting development of crucial objects and overall advancement of society. I believe a healthy balance of object consumption is necessary but our contemporary society is still attempting to understand better this relationship. Our dependency to object is dangerous. But hopefully this age of materialism will be the fallacy humans learn from to ebb our dependence on object consumption.

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2 thoughts on “Blog Post #8: The Invisible Line of Necessary and Unnecessary”

  1. Alex, I really enjoyed reading this. You really do draw out the complexity of the cycle of consumption– our society seems to function through and suffer because of consumption. Rightly relating to a complex psycho-social and economic reality is not simple.

    Your paying for your brother’s baseball season is indicative of the kind of consumption that has intrinsic value. A baseball season is immaterial– it’s truly buying someone an experience. More people are spending money on experiences, not things. There was a recent article in The Atlantic about this:

    As the income gap increases and as personal debt rises in America, it’s obvious that our relationship to consumption needs to be re-tooled.

  2. I agree with your first point, that the line between functionality and detriment is very fine. Not speaking on detriment, but absolute superfluity, it seems that most objects contain within it a complete uselessness depending on the actor and how they utilize that object. A hammer in the hands of my young nephew will lead to a complete decimation of anything of value around, if he could get to it. With that same hammer in the right hands, maybe a carpenter, it becomes useful in mending dysfunction. But, of course, it can be argued, that the hammer in my nephew’s hands may teach him life lessons, that things break when you go swinging away at them. Your post opens up a great question also, at what cost are these objects worth, such as the cars and needles you mentioned, knowing that they cause unintended or unseen destruction and is it worth the price of the many lives that are taken from it. It is a very complicated question also. I think in how paid for your brother’s season although you knew it the many risks involved answers the previous question, somewhat — it was a risk that you took, like driving a car knowing every bad scenario that can happen.

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