We often regard the pleasure given by commerce and consuming as vices. Yet, this year, it has become particularly obvious that window shopping and shopping sprees can be very good for you. Taking pleasure in material goods is something deeply rooted and inherent in us. This is because many things, probably all of them, new or old, evoke memories and feelings; they make dreams come true and fulfil objectives. The label sewn into the back of the neck of a fair trade T-shirt gives us a clear conscience. The luxury watch shows that we appreciate quality which lasts for generations. Each item generates individual images and emotions. When skilled market vendors call out – “sweet and juicy summer apples for grandma's farmhouse bakery”, they immediately trigger a whole range of mental images. Every successful brand tries to complement the material world with intangible, positive thoughts and feelings, using images and texts, words and music, architecture and design, analogue and virtual encounters to do so. They achieve this so consummately that we often forget the object itself and are more likely to recall the feelings triggered. The bigger the brand and more exquisite the mental images, the keener our potential disappointment and the more unlikely we are to accept anything less than perfection. After all, the more famous or specialized the brand is, the stronger the group of like-minded people who feel an attachment to it and to each other. This is somewhat treacherous, because the scenarios and shared expectations do not necessarily materialize. There is, of course, no shame in enjoying material objects, brands, and consuming; although you may find the pleasure is actually in the dream they offer. You only know that when feeling thinks and thought feels, when logic and emotion complement each other, in other words, when you know what you want and why you want it.
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