I’m the first to admit, I’m the biggest sucker to GAS (gear acquisition syndrome).
Why I want the new new thing
Why? I cannot speak for you, but these are my thoughts:
- I seek to be EMPOWERED by the new new thing: Whether it be a new phone, laptop, tablet, camera, car, whatever… I somehow think that this “thing” will make me more productive, look cooler, and more “efficient” in my life. Therefore, I will earn more money, gain more followers, and be “happier”.
- I get bored of my gadgets quickly: I always stress the differences, rather than the similarities of new gadgets and gear.
- My life is boring. Therefore, I think buying a new gadget will bring more excitement and NEWNESS, novelty, and less “ennui” in my life.
It never lasts
Psychologists call this a “hedonic treadmill”— in terms of our hedonism (feelings of pleasure), they quickly fade. We buy the new BMW, and we get bored of it after a month. Same with a new digital… anything.
It is a “treadmill”, because the march of technological advancement is relentless. New cameras, phones, and devices come out every 6 months or so. We are afraid of not upgrading. We fear being “left behind.”
We scour rumor sites, and outsource our lack of creativity and blame our devices.
- I feel that I’m not a good enough photographer, because my camera sucks and isn’t “good enough”
- I’m not cool enough because I don’t have the newest iPhone. What would my friends think?
Pleasure and pain
My new theory: we can only feel pleasure and joy from pain and dissatisfaction.
For example, I can only enjoy the taste of food,,, when I feel the PAIN of hunger. As anyone who has eaten an all you can eat Korean BBQ can attest, after 12 plates of short rib, eating more is actually painful.
Food only tastes good when we are hungry.
The same goes in life. I went through a very shitty childhood, and suffered a lot of pain. But my deep pain, is what forced me to become more resourceful, and gave me the opportunity to overcome. And I did. And now, I have endless optimism, because I have stared deep into the abyss of bankruptcy, credit hounds calling on the phone, witnessing the physical and mental abuse of my dad to my mom, having my dad send me and sister to our relatives for “ransom” to get money, etc.
Anyways, you cannot be optimistic without suffering really bad shit in life.
So smile, all the pain and suffering is what allows us to feel pleasure and optimism.
We love to compare.
Let me continue.
We feel happiest in life when we feel a sense of “progress”. We like FASTER, STRONGER, and lighter things. We like feeling differences.
But all is relative.
How would you know what a “fast” car would be, if you have only driven one car in your life? A 500 horsepower car may seem “fast”, but unless you have been in a 1,000 horsepower car, you cannot “compare” the feeling of “fastness” or “slowness”.
With cameras and image quality… what is our benchmark for “good image quality” and “bad image quality”?
For example, we can “pixel peep” and see noise, and unsharpness. But… is sharpness what makes a good, and meaningful picture?
We need ambition.
Let’s take it deeper.
What if we were all 100% satisfied with everything? Would that be blissful joy, or fucking horrible?
What if we had no passion, ambition, or things we were excited for? For me, that would be hell. For me, passion, ambition, curiosity, excitement, and a sense of play and experimentation is what drives me. Like I’ve had a lot of fun shooting on a phone, tearing new Google cameras, and even shooting with an iPad.
I love innovation. I’m very excited and optimistic for the future of technology, and how it can empower us. For example, I’m very into “computational photography” right now— how technology can empower more photographers with phone cameras, and therefore NOBODY can make an excuse for not making good pictures.
What is we had everything?
But… what happens when we have no more excuses in our photography and life?
What if we already have the “BEST” Phone, laptop, tablet, car, home, and live in the coolest city?
To be honest, a lot of people get depressed. They have nothing higher to endeavor to. Nothing in life to aspire to. This is where “nihilism“ (thinking that there is no meaning in life) comes from.
Therefore, a lot of rich folks and celebrities end up turning to drugs, sex, fast cars, and other hedonistic pleasures to “feel” something… to feel more of a sense of … anything.
Happiness is having a sense of PURPOSE in life.
Anyways, I’m getting off point. My point:
To be truly happy in life, you need to find joy in a higher sense of PURPOSE and PROGRESS in your life.
I can’t speak for you, but for me this is what gives me a sense of purpose and progress in life:
- Never stop making art: Art as pictures, art as poetry, art as writing, art as conversation, art as illustrations.
- Never stop learning: Learning about biology, physics, computer science, sociology, philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, economics. Essentially to learn everything, and have a BROAD MIND. Becoming a modern day renaissance man.
- Do something greater than yourself… seek to empower others. For me, I’m most joyful when around other humans, and helping others.
So just ask yourself when you want that new new thing… why do you really desire it?
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HOW TO CONQUER GAS
GAS: (Gear Acquisition Syndrome): wanting to buy new cameras, because you feel like your photos aren’t good enough, because your camera isn’t good enough:
- TIMELESS CAMERAS
- Why it is Cooler Shooting With a Shittier Camera
- No Camera Lasts Forever
- Why Do We Buy Cameras?
- Why Camera Companies Want You to Be Perpetually Dissatisfied With Your Gear
- DSLR CAMERAS ARE LAME.
- Why You Shouldn’t Go Into Debt For Your Photography
- PHOTOGRAPHY SLAVES
- How to Conquer GAS
- How to Stop Pixel-Peeping
- Why I Shoot With One Camera and One Lens
- 30 Tips to Conquer G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)
- Gear Allergy Syndrome
- Disregard Differences, Notice Similarities
- More Megapixels, More Problems
- Sensor Envy
- If Your Camera Isn’t Good Enough, Your Camera isn’t Expensive Enough
- How to Be Grateful For What You Have
- Having No Choices is the Ultimate Freedom
- Technology Won’t Fix Your Problems
- Why is Image Quality Important?
- Why Sharpness is Overrated in Street Photography