Tuesday, October 31

A journey

Lately I've been feeling restless, as though something's out of sync in my life. Looking back on my journal, there is nothing much to worry about on the physical and material planes. I'm keeping up with my homework, eating well in spite of my parents' and grandparents' worries, getting exercise and spending plenty of time with my friends. Judged solely on these and the lack of anything really terrible in my life (though editing the Opinion pages is rather stressful) I ought to be happy, and I have no doubt many people would gladly switch positions with me.

Still, I realize this and my restlessness remains. Perhaps you could blame it on my recent reading material: Viktor Frankl's account of time in a concentration camp and on his theory of logotherapy in Man's Search for Meaning and an attack upon my lifestyle in Hooked!: Buddhist Writings on Greed, Desire, and the Urge to Consume. One demands that we find answers if we are to survive, the other provides answers and philosophy so distant from what I am familiar with, and I'm left with a yearning to find my answers.

I have questions, a lot of them, and not so many answers. Sure, you could ask me what the purpose of art is or how can we best understand it. I could probably give a decent response, but it probably came from someone else. I need my own answers and philosophies, ones that I have critically analyzed and considered.

So here I start out with only the vaguest of ideas what I'm doing. I have some basic questions like "What is right?" and "How do I do right?" I'm not even sure what the best way to go about answering these is. Solitary meditation? Participation in and observation of daily life? I'll try both I guess. The only other thing that occurs to me is the need to cultivate good productive habits and eliminate distractions.

So I'll use this space to record my thoughts and progress. Hopefully I'll find my answers. Barring that, I hope it will help you find and sharpen your own. Later.

Friday, October 6

Developing an idea

I don't remember if I have ever discussed this particular belief on 'Spice of Life' before, but, for simplicity's sake, I consider myself an anti-consumerist. Eventually I'll work up the energy and time to describe the associated beliefs in earnest, but, for now, it may just be simpler for you to read Consuming Religion and No Logo, both of which have been huge inspirations to me.

Among the attached ideas is a distaste for those brand names which seek to transcend the material and sell you an identity, a personality brought forth by your (typically and most commonly) clothes though cars and many other products suffer from this as well. My problem with brand names has been longstanding but has undergone some development as of late. Their products neither can nor should create an identity for us. We should create our own.

It's a simple dispute but bothers me because it eliminates an agency on the part of the consumer. What if they buy a certain product not because of its particular image but because it's quality and within their product? Do the intentions of the consumer matter not?

About a week ago, I think I came up with a solution for this. It works by analogy. A woman may enjoy wearing a low cut shirt and mini-skirt and feel pretty doing so, but the unwavering stare of a creepy guy can do a lot to disrupt their mood. He looks at her like a piece of meat, and it matters as do the intentions of marketers and producers. The nature of a marketer's intention is nowhere near as personal as an uncalled for stare, but the same idea is there.

What about that? Any obvious counter-points or kudos for my brilliance?