Thursday, July 08, 2010

What is stuff?

There is a difference between what we have come to call "stuff" and meaningful objects. Stuff is a word we use with a sense of disdain. Having returned from Nebraska with a U-Haul trailer loaded with some of my mother's personal effects, and having rented a storage unit to help us sort and process the things that are most meaningful to us, the idea of "stuff" becomes an interesting point for personal reflection. My mother had a lot of stuff. Her closets and drawers were full of materials for making table ornaments and decorating bulletin boards for church and the clubs to which she belonged. My sisters and I hauled truckloads of stuff to the church for their annual sale, and we disposed of many bags of stuff with little or no value at curbside pickup.

George Carlin offers his observations on the matter, and then there is the "Story of Stuff", which describes the hidden environmental costs of making and using objects.

By making things are we making "stuff?" Or can we make things of useful beauty that fit better with the environment and enrich our personal lives and provide greater meaning to all? I have been putting away my sample boxes and getting ready to apply finish to the boxes I made at Marc Adams School of Woodworking for demonstrations in my box making classes. Objects can have value in teaching, and the making of them may serve in personal growth. Sometimes objects represent relationships with deep meaning, and we may cling to those objects as evidence of that relationship. And when an object is devised to represent greater meaning, and serves as evidence of learning, do we still call it "stuff," or is there a better term that might apply? I invite your response in the comments below.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:13 PM

    Well I posted my rant in the wrong section as it fits better here but read this It says it better then me.

    Scrap Wood