Why have status symbols?
We all know what status symbols are (fancy clothes, expensive cars, fancy watches, etc)— but my question is this:
Why have status symbols? Why publicly display totems of “success” to others?
Why signal your status-level to others?
“Dressed in all Goyard, Homie go hard.” – Nas
This is the interesting thing about luxury goods:
Once you get to Uber-high luxury status, 99.9% of people don’t even know the brand (besides the Uber-elite in society).
For example, the fashion brand Goyard as making Louis Vuitton look like Old Navy. Or a Bugatti Veyron making a BMW M3 look like a Toyota Corolla. Or a digital medium format camera make any “full frame” camera look like a child’s toy.
Anyways — the tricky thing with “luxury” goods is this:
Do you own that thing because it is the best possible tool or object for your needs, or do you own it because you want to signal to other people that you’re “high class” and “successful”?
Of course this is difficult to determine — because most people aren’t either honest with themselves, or they’re fooling themselves.
Thus, it seems to be a waste of time to determine the motives of others. Instead, perhaps we should consider our own personal motivations.
Personally in my own life, I actually strove to go against the grain. I hated following the mainstream, because I felt like a sheep. I didn’t want to become a “sheeperson”— I wanted to become the eagle.
Anyways, my consumerist behavior was this:
Purchase the opposite of what everyone else purchased.
But this is where I think I got suckered:
I shouldn’t need to purchase anything to differentiate myself. In fact, probably better to differentiate myself by deciding what NOT to purchase.
Let others enjoy their status symbol totems
I also think that we shouldn’t “look down” (nor look up) at people with expensive or fancy/luxury things. Best to just ignore them. No need to disparage them, because if you call people who own expensive luxury stuff as stupid — you’re only signaling your own personal insecurities and envies of the rich and powerful.
I say, simply own the things that are beneficial to you. For myself the goal is to discover the optimal simplicity in my own life, in order for me to have fewer complications in my life, fewer things to weigh me down, in order to maximize my own creative productivity.
Once again, creative productivity is the ultimate goal. Don’t get distracted by anything else!