If you don’t know what it’s for, you probably don’t need it.
In my travels, I was in a coffee shop the other day getting an afternoon pick-me-up espresso. As I waited in line, I noticed that they had a rather enticing merchandise wall with all sorts of cool-looking coffee paraphernalia, branded clothing, and gadgets.
I picked up one of the items they were selling and realized that I had no idea what it was or what it was for. Presumably, it was something to make a coffee drink at home seem more ‘artisan’ (a word, in my opinion, that should only be used to describe the humans that create goods, never the actual goods themselves).
As I looked at this mystery object, I realized a few things. First, we make too much stuff and most of it will only end up in a landfill, adding no real value to our lives whatsoever. Second, that I go to the coffee shop to have someone else make me the kind of coffee that I cannot and do not want to make at home. Finally, I realized that if I do not know what something is, there is a high likelihood that I do not need it.
-Robert Van Valkenburgh teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Kogen Dojo