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One’s Tools of Self Dismay


The human home is a collective space of stuff. Contained within its walls are the collected items of existence. All tools relate to life in distinct formats: some tools exist to preserve human life while others function on the lesser level of reminding us of previous experience or memories beyond our grasp. Our television does not preserve life, but through it we gain access to the world beyond our limited perception. Likewise, a photograph cannot provide the means of continued existence but through it we gain access to the life we’ve already lived. All items within the human home function in relation to existence: all either assist to continue life or provide access to the life already lived.

Beyond this basic classification one can consider these tools by the emotional connections bonding them to human use. By the fact that we keep them in our homes we demonstrate a need or use for the items. Perhaps minor or even trivial, the reasons that we have for both buying

and keeping items is their utility. If an item serves a purpose it maintains its place within the home. Stuff becomes trash when these reasons disappear of when newer stuff replaces these items via better service.

A small sect of items have a uniquely tedious relationship with their users: avoidance. There are some items in a home that people dread using, whose very appearance can negatively alter their user’s mood. All devices are imposed on by their users but even more profound than a device that provides pleasure is the device that inspires negative emotions. For these devices the easier link to human use is broken and a more complicated relationship exists.

The most obvious of these devices with complicated relationships is the human weight scale. Consider where most people keep their scales. Often these items are hidden. The weight scale exists merely for utility. An awareness of one’s weight is a mere data point in one’s health and provides a mere spec of information when considering one’s overall health. Why do human scales continue to exist in the home? When one considers the value of data provided the scale has such a minimal value that it’s reason for continued presence in the home should be questioned.

The human weight scale remains in the home because of our complicated relationship with weight. The need to know and need to compare personal weight with our past and our peers guarantees the continued presence of scales in our home. We weigh ourselves as a means to evaluate our present self with the self of the past. Our weight becomes a means of comparison by which we gaze at who we are today in relation to the past and to those considered similar to us. Where do we stack up? The mere number displayed on the weight scale is useless and a source of countless mental waves of stress.

Though largely useless and a source of immense pain, the human scale will remain in the human home merely for the emotional power we associate with weight. It is a unique device whose presence in the human home has less to do with true utility and more to do with the emotional trials and tribulations of society. Look to the scale to see how complicated the human mind can be and how easily we distort our tools to serve other means. No matter how silly our tools function to give us exactly what we need no matter how useless, sad and unnerving.

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