In the US we will live in a very object foci lens. We demonstrate our wealth, status, loyalty, tribe affiliation, style, values, concerns, obsessions, weaknesses through our objects. Although I generally consider such material needs as a foible, a misappropriation of what is essential, now I ponder upon the memories that objects hold for us.
Objects do not have a brain nor a nervous system, but they do have a hippocampus. The hippocampus is that part of the brain believed to be responsible for memory. Individual objects can hold memories for us as well. Gifts are the most direct logic between a physical item and its associated emotional value. We give people things not solely for them to have something they want or need, but something that they can associate us with. If this were not the case, people would not feel the need to get rid of things, object, that carried such an association.
Objects carry memories. If a little girl tries on a pair of her mothers heels, clanking about to show her – those heels will always remind the mother of that sweet moment. Not any pair of heels, not shoes in the same color, not all the shoes for sale in stores, just those heels carry that thought. A child sat my white west elm desk the other day to draw with a furry with my prismacolors. The mother looked up, “oh no not that one”, they are all permanent I said. “She will get it all over your stuff”, and as she said that, the green marker danced off the paper onto the desk. But instead of my feeling it had been ruined, I thought of it as enhanced. I would now forever get to look at that spot and see a darling two and half girl that my lifelong friend birthed, sitting with me at that desk.
But it is not all desks that will conjure this feeling, bring her face into focus, remind me to value childhood, and release a need for perfection. It is that object, which I own, which my privilege affords, which I will cherish.