Why we need things discussion (1/11/17)

One object that means a lot to me is my accordion. It is important to me for a couple of reasons. First, it has sentimental value, as it belonged to my grandfather from my mother’s side. I never knew my grandfather as he died a long time before I was born, but my mom used to tell me stories about him and when I look at his accordion it kind of reminds me of him and start to wonder what he would be like in person. To tie my relationship with the accordion into the reading, it reminds me of the Czikszentmihalyi article where she talks about how objects are tied into how we relate ourselves to time. My grandpa’s accordion makes me think of the past, although it was not a past I was a part of.

My accordion is also tied to the future because I want to learn how to play it one day.  As it is now, my accordion stays in my room as a sort of decoration, because I think it is aesthetically pleasing. If I were to do a (basic) stylistic analysis of my grandfathers accordion like in the Prown article I would say it has this shiny and technical look to it with a black casing and and yellow natural keys on the keyboard side so it looks like it is from the 1950s. So my accordion also ties me to the present as it makes me immediately happy looking at it and I sometimes view it as more of a work of art.

Another important object in my life is a book that I am using to learn html. Like my accordion, the book (as an object) ties into how Czikszentmihalyi talks about how objects are related to time.  Czikszentmihalyi uses an example of a french grammar book possibly representing a future vacation in France, whereas my html book represents for me a future career, which is technical writing. However, since I study it habitually it is also something that is very much in the present for me. My html book also ties into an object that represents power a little bit. Not only in the cliché “knowledge is power” kind of way, but also in that when I study this book it is so that I will have a skill that I will need to be a technical writer which hopefully will make me wealthy. So maybe my html book is not a symbol of power, but a key to it, it represents a future where I have career success.

What makes my relationship to these objects different from each other is that the book is replaceable whereas the accordion is not, since it is the fact that the accordion belonged to my grandfather that makes it special to me. However, the book is something that I interact more with so it has more of a practical kind of value. These objects are similar in that like Czikszentmihalyi says they give me a sense of identity, be it through my professional aspirations or through my family.

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