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  • Efe Alpay

About the importance of meaning



The world we live in is overcrowded with the objects of desire, that is leaving less and less space for the living in the pursuit of having. With the advancement of technology, things are getting more and more personal. The main aim of the product industry has been to give an answer to every need and every desire, every taste and every size. Now with our newly emerging abilities such as on-demand manufacturing, we will be able to produce even more customized products, tools, objects that perfectly fit our needs, desires and different tastes. Getting free of the constraints cast by conventional mass manufacturing methods, we will be able to tailor every instance of production to the person in need. Then we come to face the question, when we are able to get anything we need in any shape we want, how do we decide?


Through human history, we have inherited knowledge through stories. Stories were there before writing, and many other social constructs. The reason behind the strong impact of stories in human history I think lies in its power to construct connections between different concepts, events and things. By design, we always try to make sense of things. And this endeavor of meaning making shows its reflections in the possessions that we have. We are very less inclined to throw things away if that thing has a special meaning for us. For example an object from our youthful years, a gift of someone special, or the simple coffee machine that we used to make coffee with our family and friends. Thus, when we will gain the ability to produce or have anything we want, the meaning of the thing we will have a strong importance for us. Physical things are in a way a solid proof of our existence that is not diminished away with a ‘delete’ button or an hard drive failure. Also their connections with our memories and past has a strong effect in their possession of value. Because they start to define our connections with this world as physical manifestations of it. I think it might be something like a reality check in inception movie in a world that is becoming more and more detached from the physical reality. In the coming times, we will be finding ourselves more and more questioning the reality itself.


I wrote this because when I watched the movie by Ruben Fro above, it brought to my mind that when everything becomes dream/nightmare like, we will be able to design/make things via fluid, transforming evolving constructs that are responsive to our actions. When that happens and when you can do anything you want, the meaning will be more and more important. And maybe that will be the most valuable asset of the object that will be brought into the physical world.

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