think outside the box? what's a box? you must be nuts.

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October 23, 2003



Anthropology 101
One cause of society's psychoses is that objects lack stories.
Time was, every so-called object related to some grander
scheme via a narrative, usually a creation myth.1
In contemporary "Western" society, we are
surrounded by objects without origins.2
As a result, people feel disconnected.
Almost everything we touch is anon-
ymous. The food we eat, the clothes
we wear, even the houses we live in
are usually of unknown origin. People
have always used stories to place them-
selves in the world and relate to others.
Without these narrative connections, people
feel adrift, alienated, purposeless, and vague.3
Today, trace any object back far enough and you
are liable to come to some uncomfortable conclusions.
The subconscious suppression of these facts forms the
basis of everyday denial, our number one coping mechanism.

version i

version ii

version iii

1The last remaining people of the 20th century, the Australian aborigines, sang their history when on walkabout, naming the origins of every rock, tree, and lizard along the way. Suchlike is related in Bruce Chatwin's The Songlines.
2"MADE IN CHINA" is usually the extent, and though we suspect slave labor is involved, we quickly block it out, denial being our primary survival mechanism.

3Maybe this accounts for the desirabilty of designer and name brand commodities--the name, the face, the illusion of personality somehow contextualizes the product, instilling a feeling of familiarity in the consumer. "I am lonely; let me buy myself a family."