He sat down as usual, inspecting his new wristwatch, he looked happily at me and ask me: How much do you expect it is worth?
I wasn’t exaggerating too much when I told him that its cost may exceed two thousand dollars, because I knew his desire to collect valuables and special items.
I had barely finished my answer before he gave me a yellowish, disgruntled look… Then said: It is worth over one hundred thousand dollars!Oh my god… His words stuck me as lightning… It had never occurred to me that I would be setting with someone that owns a wristwatch worth that much!
We engaged in a long dialogue about the wristwatch… I didn’t ask him (Where) because I know about his sources, but what concerned me the most was: What’s in it for you?… What do you feel?… His answers were limited: I seek distinction.
This situation still pops up in my memory each time I sat near Collectors of valuables, this one boasts with his luxurious car… and that one boasts with a shoe he bought from an Italian designer that only designs a hundred pair of shoes each year for specific people around the world… and another would boast with an epic house… It has even come to small children boasting about cellphones, iPads, PlayStation and similar things.
The same question that occupied my mind is still the same: Why?
And am I entitled as an observer to judge those who fancy this stuff in ways that does not suit them or they don’t like?… Never… No one is entitled to do so; because god almighty the provider and blesser likes to see the effects of his grace on his believer, and all those blessed or graced may boast what grace god has bestowed upon them.
So, the topic isn’t there at all, for I, like other humans pursue, purchase, wear, own, and change my car, and yearn for a better home, and I love to have all those beautiful things… but what really hurts me is to sit next to someone who has focused his entire life, attention and future on those things… Not only that but he judges you according to it, as you are in his eyes worth as much as you keep up with him in terms of what he owns!… So, beware making the mistake of asking your friend or girlfriend: “Do (Firzacchi) glasses protect against UV rays?!” … or “does (Armani) suit have three sleeves?!” … and “Is your car capable of flying near the clouds?!” … or even: “Can your shoes travel 50 Km/h ?!” …
Don’t you ever… as those are forbidden in the world of brand and luxury enthusiasts.
Culture… And obsession
Among the funny situations you might get into, is that your little girl would come and say:
-Daddy, my phone needs changing
So you ask her: Why? … and she replies:
– It has become old
So you protest that it still works well, and then be surprised by her saying:
-My friend jane doe has bought the newer model!
Oh my god… How will we ever convince this kid?!… And so on, you would feel like living in a spiral, not matter how much you try to pursue this tech you will find yourself spinning in circles.
The question most important in the matter is: Why are so many people keen to pursue those matters, and follow the news about it, and who collects them, and which artist bought something of it?… and what is the latest invention by (Apple)?… And how owns a more precious item?…
Why has it become the focus of their lives?!
When do we transform from being merely a consuming market that only cares about purchasing, to smart users that buy, own, and use, but moderately?
What would thinktank Malek Bin Nabi if he were amongst us?… And he was the one that split people into 3 types: Those who think about thoughts, and those would be thinktanks, and those who think about the people, and others whose thoughts redound to material world… Whether we like it or not, we have become to think about the material world, willingly or involuntarily, and there is no way around that.
Personally, I try my best but I realize like others do that it has become a culture, expanding and spreading among different generations unfettered.
And in this context, there is something I cannot explain that baffles me, and that is the obsession of many people with unique numbers; As you would find some of them pay a price of hundreds of thousands for a plate number, pay close attention, as that amount is payed as a price for the number and not the car!
And you would be amazed sometimes when you read an advert on the front of a shop saying that a special number is up for sale!… And pay heed, It could be a license plate number, or a cellphone number, or perhaps anything that can be expressed by numbers!
And because Arabs were affected by this obsession many jokes were told about them, one of them being that an Arab was watching the news and heard that the number of fatalities of a train crash in India was 999 people, so he immediately said to his wife: “Nice number, I would like to buy it”.
Each time some sort of phenomenon is proliferating within the society, specialists move swiftly to study it, and discuss possible solutions, and the obsession with boasting about luxuries, is considered a negative phenomenon that needs solutions.
No one can deny any person his desire to be special, we are all that way, but the required distinction is not achieved by owning a watch that costs as much as a house or a car would… And not by riding in a car that costs as much as building a school would.
And this is what we need to raise our children to do, as in fact, I would be very delighted if my daughter came to tell me:
-Daddy, I need to change that storybook you bought me, I did not like the idea.
Then I wouldn’t mind at all, because I will have by then understood that my daughter is starting to understand what ideas she likes and what she does not like.
And actually we need a close collaboration between families and educational institutes, in order to raise a generation that cares more about essentials and necessities, in a way that they would become reliable in the future, and that will not happen if we do not convince this generation that distinction is not by how much luxuries we have, but it is by thinking and innovating, and to be more clear, I will give a simple example: In the technological curriculums of our Arab high schools, students are taught the mechanics of the wristwatch, but in Japanese elementary schools, students are required to make a wristwatch!
It would seem that we are back to square one for us to realize the entire matter is nothing but a (wristwatch)… Some would view it as a tool to know about time, and another would view it as means to learn the mechanics of technical motion, and a third that finds it a prototype he starts from to make and invent something more sophisticated… but the rest of the people see it as a means to boast!