Friday, April 17, 2015


    We cannot fully let go of it, our desire for the grandiose, the extravagant, and the full on glamorous.  And when I use those words, I mean more than just the glitzy and expensive; though that is certainly a major player. I am referring to a need we have to acquire, to amass about us.  Trying to understand why that is, could take thousands of pages, dozens of researchers, and probably end us up with a shrugged shoulder, and a "hell if I know" at the end of it.
    So, lets just work with what we have, shall we?  Good.  The fact is that we seem, as a species, drawn inexorably to visions of ultimate luxe, and of control of our environment, through possession, in whatever form our culture, and education creates that in our heads.  Whether our conception of grandeur means huge feather collars, acres of beads, and a substantial body size, or it means impossible slenderness, and a dress the size of a pillowcase that costs as much as a new car, matters not a whit.
    What matters is, that this is a universal.  Now I don't mean that in a literal sense. Clearly there are many in the world who eschew anything even approaching the idea of extreme visual display, or acquisition.   And there are those millions whose lives are so constrained by circumstance, that notions of visible wealth and temporal power are no real part of their world view. Granted.  But, we seem always to want to climb.  We want to scale the next height, whatever it might be.  We want more color, more pattern, more texture, more precision, more of everything, till, on some level, we have it all.  And it gives us at least the illusion of some control over our huge, and often incomprehensible world.  Its a process that seems hard wired into our psyches, and its one that has created both massive wonder, and massive horror, over time.  And again, no, not all of us want this.  But enough of us do, that it has become a huge societal driver, moving commerce, politics, religion, and our baseline notions of ourselves into new directions.  Whether those directions are healthy ones is another question, for another time.
    Perhaps this is connected to our boundless curiosity.  It may be that we cannot stop, because we simply have to know what the next thing is that we can achieve. Can we wear bigger jewelry, carry an even bigger bag, have even higher heels, get yet another tattoo?  Are 50 pairs of shoes too many? Are 500?  How many pairs of jeans do we need?

    See where this goes to?
    Its not just about those with massive wealth.  I personally know, and you may too, people with huge collections of t shirts, numbering in the hundreds.  Why?  Because it pleases them; they can afford a t shirt, and it gives them a goal to always strive for; another piece for their collection.  It makes them feel special, different, and important in some sub-textual way.
    And we do not confine our lust for grandeur to the things we clap on our bodies.  Not a bit of it.  Its not all about fur, jewelry, embroideries, and couture, or even gathering all of something we can, like a squirrel preparing for winter.  Not at all.  Everything we do that alters us physically into some more extraordinary version of human, is an aspect of this mechanism in action as well.  For example, a man or woman who takes the sport of bodybuilding to its most extreme expression is on some level creating a new physique that expresses their desire to be seen as important, remarkable, and special; grand, if you will allow me.  Conversely, the person who works very hard to get to, and maintain a body of extreme thinness, is very often after the same ideal.  And those who are gainers, who deliberately go after increasing body weight, and size, are also after that same goal of specialness.  All that differs is the methodology that we choose to get there.
At the end, this is why I refer to this societal mechanism as a universal.  Because such a huge number of us manifest it on one way or another.  We either pull things toward us to alter ourselves, or we literally make ourselves over in another image.  Any way you choose to look at it, its fascinating that this is one of the prime drivers behind the whole experience, and expression of the Attire language.

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