Things > Experiences

A popular claim on the Internet advocates having experiences because they are better than things. Maybe for normal people, but my experience tells me different.

Things have purpose

The things are tools. Human ingenuity lies in our advance tool usage. Not just in physical tools. Many animals make and use physical tools. Our true abilities lie in our use of mental tools to record and pass along knowledge and skills. For example, if you want to learn how to do anything, then there is probably a Youtube video showing how.

Books impart knowledge. My library is an enormous reference for many things I have learned.

Art communicates interests, taste, and identity. My teeshirt collection essentially is essentially a way for me to impart on the world who I am, my fandom allegiances, and/or how we might share something in common.

Things represent significance

The venir in souvenir means to come. The sou means cent. When I took French I thought of it as spending a penny to return to a place.

This makes them part of my personal narrative. Ask me about anything I have and there is a reason why I have it. I may have acquired it while having or to have an experience and use it to remind me of those events. When I see it or hold it, my brain locates and replays the memories of that experience making it easier to find later. They are essential a mnemonic device.

The cat statue sitting over the fire place reminds me of going to the local renaissance festival the second year living here. The jugglers, bellydancers, acrobats, jousters, etc all flood my brain just by looking or holding it.

The soapstone dragon statues next to it remind me of going to Philadelphia to visit my aunt and uncle, having long conversations until 4am, my first encounter with a biker gang, and annoying the plane by eating our cheesesteaks while everyone else made do with the stupid little pretzels.

Tara* in high school gave me a piece of marble while we sat in a park. I carried that rock for years and thought about her while fondling it. Belle* gave me a copper ring which I put on my keychain and followed the same thing. Every important woman in my life has given me knicknack which becomes their mnemonic.

* Not their real names.

Things bring true happiness

There are plenty of experiences where I either failed to acquire or have lost a souvenir. I have trouble recalling much about them because I have not thought much about them. The memories are vaguer. I feel like I need to have the experience again because even though I think I enjoyed it, I have nothing that helps me remember it. What was the point of the experience if I do not remember anything about it?

The rants against things is that we have misplaced biases which tell us these items are going to bring more happiness than they truly do. Maybe normal people do. They also have more emphasis on social interactions. As an introvert, experiences are essentially sensory hell. Therefore, I live in my own head much of the time. I surround myself with things I love. At the end of the day, I would rather be at home surrounded by my things where I am happy than out suffering from experiences.


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