Splash! For the first time in a couple of hours my eyes are actually wide open. As a paralyzing shiver rolls through each and every one of my veins, I ask myself, why am I not on my boat? Why don’t I have a drink in my hand? Just a moment ago I was partying my brains out with people I consider my best friends, alongside the closest thing that I have found to true love in the past 7 years, which I pay through the nose for—sometimes literally. In all directions, except for one, I see nothing but darkness. In the direction of the coast, I can see lights. We must be 5 miles, give or take, from the harbor. Man, is it freezing! What the hell happened? I must have leaned back a little too far on the railing along the starboard side of the bottom deck. Cigar in one hand, drink in another. Shit. The yacht is not turning around. Nobody saw me. They couldn’t have. They were all two stories above me while I was enjoying a few moments alone. Continue reading
In anthropology, there is a definition of culture that describes it as both abstract concepts and the physical tools by which human society adapts to nature and nature to human society (“Culture,” pars. 5-6). Whether these physical tools aid in the gathering of resources or provide a barrier between humans and the elements, these physical tools—these material objects—serve a vital function for civilization. As such, some form of materialism is necessary for human societies to thrive.
Furthermore, materialism as a system of thought can be traced back to the 4th century B.C.E and the ancient Greek philosopher Democritus. This belief system holds that “the nature of the world [is] entirely dependent upon matter, [which is] the fundamental and final reality beyond which nothing need be sought”(“Materialism,” par. 1). This definition, though extreme, coincides with the reality that human society depends upon, and thus defines itself by, material goods to some degree. More currently, however, the word materialism refers to the importance of material goods in society, implying that the concern that materialistic people have for material objects is excessive (Goldsmith, par. 2). This negative connotation is not without basis. Materialism has evolved in modern society into over-consumerism, the consumption of material goods disproportionately in excess of the resources available to the consumer to acquire goods and beyond what is strictly necessary to live (par. 3). So, despite its necessity in society as a whole, in practice materialism has resulted in several negative consequences that plague modern society and not only damage society in the short term but are also not sustainable in the long term.
My Granddad encouraged me to “art,”
so my muse is the crooked portrait of Aunt Margaret,
cradling a Siamese cat,
that’s tacked to the wall of wine.
Lilac traces the room with a hint of smoke.