I am reading an extremely interesting book written by Bruno Latour, a French philosopher. He explores the topic of why it is so difficult for us, for our societies, to shift our mindset about how we consume… our planet. I have to admit that the content of this book is intense and sometimes difficult to completely follow. But he proposes many considerations that fascinate and inspire me. I would like to share one of them with you.
The point from Bruno Latour that I would like to share with you is about the double link we have developed with the material world.
On one hand we despise materiality by not giving it so much attention: it is interchangeable, unanimated, soulless.
On the other hand, we expect from it to provide satisfaction and happiness.
I think that now that we are entering in the pre-Christmas period, it becomes easier to observe this double link. We know that Christmas tends to be based on consumption. Materiality is constantly on the spot light. During this time, it spans our attention even more. It get difficult to resist the temptation to buy for oneself or for pleasing other people.
And there is nothing wrong with that: beside the fact that we do need a certain level of materiality so that our survival needs are fulfilled and we feel secure, getting something new arouses positive emotions.
But those positive emotions, usually, do not stay long. In addition, we finish by spending time, energy and money to manage our staff. And we have probably already all what we need.
We end up looking for short term rewards that pushes us to look for the next short term rewards. We end up with possessing and wasting too much. This spiral of consuption and inattentiveness is the double link we developped.
Bruno Latour suggests, in order to go out of this double link to develop more attention towards materiality. To stop being negligent towards our possessions.
Because owning more things do not automatically means being satisfied and happy. Owning more things drives us in being less attentive on our long term goal and in being negligent of our basic needs.
The opposite of negligent is attentive, careful, caring and mindful.
How do we nourish that? I would like to suggest you to take some time and reflect about this question: How do you deal with what you own? How do you valorize it, integrate it or use it?
Or you end up throwing away or forgot about your possessions?
Since one year, one of my personal trainings has been to reduce as much as possible the use of plastic and to valorize what I have at home (wearing, upcycling, using, creating). I will continue to do that also in 2019!
If you would like to develop more mindfulness about your materiality and, more important, to valorize it, contact me 🙂
Picture Michelle Sabatini – Irland