Are you curious about the things you see in other people’s homes? 🙂
I know this is totally bad-mannered, but I must confess that I am. 🙂
And before you condemn me as a snoopy and gossipy person, let me explain – I am curious, because I believe things are choices that speak about their owner. So – if I am interested in a person, I am quite naturally interested in their things too.
During communism in Bulgaria, people used to have a love/hate relationship with things. The shortcomings of the plan economy and the mere handful of ideologically acceptable trading partners heavily limited the variety of what was available in stores, which resulted in people ending up owning the same things. Most people also lived in very similar flats in identical concrete panel tower blocks, so the homes of many looked almost identical too.
Exchanging Bulgarian money for U.S. dollars or any other currency for that matter, was strictly controlled, so people could not shop for things made in the enemy capitalist camp unnoticed. These restrictions, quite cynically, did not apply to members of the nomenclature and their families, or to persons who had been granted permission to work abroad and could account for their possession of foreign currency. This created very noticeable inequality on the backdrop of ubiquitous slogans proclaiming the opposite, in a situation undermining the foundations of the regime by destroying the sense of social community and contributing to rampant opportunism, hypocrisy and alienation.
At the everyday level – this created a cult of things – things coming from the West especially, – that was often masked as an outward proclamation of a disregard for things. Not caring about the aesthetics of things in particular was considered the proper thing for a communist to do, and the opposite was condemned as a bourgeois regress, charges on which could very heavily complicate or even destroy one’s life.
Now the situation has changed – people are free to buy anything they can afford and, contrary to the efforts at limiting consumption typical of the past decades, consuming more and more often is what has been underpinning the prevalent attitude to things today.
After the collapse of communism, the wide availability of things contributed to the very quick rise of consumerism, which resulted in a higher number of possessions, cluttered homes and – alas – expanding waistlines.
I do not intend to preach on mindful shopping or eating, and frugality as an attitude to home decoration, cooking or life in general as, although I do believe in these principles, I am not always irreproachable in my observance of them.
Instead, I thought that showing you the home of this Bulgarian writer whom I admire, would serve as an illustration of how intelligence and mental sophistication can shine through things, adorning them with layers of meaning and significance beyond their utilitarian purpose. I believe the slight asceticism evident in this interior also hints at a very healthily dosed contempt for things – just enough to put them in their right place.
Meaning – things do not add value to people, but rather people add value to things.
Things rhymes with wings, have you thought of that?
So, let’s take to our wings, and soar above the things. 🙂
PS. Among other things, I am thinking about your good mood, so my musical gift to you today is this cheerful song on things, proposing a charming – acknowledging but lighthearted – attitude towards things – both material and of the heart 🙂