Friday, June 17, 2011

Security & Stuff

Edward Lemay, assistant professor of psychology at the University of New Hampshire and his colleagues found that people who had heightened feelings of interpersonal security — a sense of being loved and accepted by others — placed a lower monetary value on their possessions than people who did not.


I am becoming more and more anti-stuff. I have always been anti-shopping but some of that is simply not liking the process of looking, finding, sometimes trying on and then purchasing, followed by being told I could have gotten it cheaper, larger, greener or with more power. Anti-stuff is both anti-consumerism and anti-clutter. I find the weight of ownership to be a burden. The process also requires that I labor to produce capital to expend on the objects I find objectionable. Seems like an obvious wicked circle, Dante comes to mind.


On the other hand, I don't find that being loved or accepted has much to do with my meager ways. I just don't like stuff. In fact, often upon entering into a loving, accepting relationship the event is inaugurated with a flurry of accumulation. New furniture, new clothes, new this, new that. OK some of the this and thats are fun, you know one of those things with the whatchamacallit and the thingamabob attachment. But other than that - no more stuff!


The Lemay study actually asked people to put a monetary value on their possessions. So it really isn't that being accepted and loved will make you purchase and consume less, but rather that you value the stuff at a lower price point. Hoarders, in particular, value their piles of items as much as five times more than those who are secure, loved and accepted.


However, if love and acceptance makes anyone less attached to their possessions dollar-wise or otherwise and if being less attached means accumulating fewer things - well then I am all for it! I love you, I accept you. Let's celebrate by not going to the mall.
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Art: the BuyMoreMandala made of plastic shopping bags

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