Is it what you want or why you want it that matters?
I've recently began a new project called Stuff. Above is the first image in the series. (I'll post more information, more images and more of the background to it soon.) I've been trying to better understand the reasons behind our need to possess things, so I did a little reading around the subject and found the answers to be really interesting.
The acquisition of stuff is often linked to our need to develop an identity which we begin demonstrating by the time we are 2 years old. We all know that young kids tend to have a favourite toy or blanket and these objects of attachment are sometimes referred to as transitional objects as they are believed to aid the transition to independence.
Stuff continues to signal our various intentions to others all the way through adulthood into later life when it can become a comforting reminder of a life well lived. Beyond this it can ultimately embody the essence of a person in the form of an heirloom. So stuff is important but surely materialism is intrinsically bad? Not always. Like most things it depends on the reasoning behind it.
Studies have shown that the effects of materialism can be positive when the motives are self-determining e.g. are built on a desire for fun or freedom. The key take-away for me is that like any type of consumption it is probably less important deliberating over what brand we choose, whether the next door neighbour has one or how much it costs and more important to question the reason why we want it in the first place.