Recently in Psychologyish Stuff Category

Commodity Fetishism

Der Spiegel has an article on what it calls objectophilia, the phenomenon of quite literally falling in love with an inanimate object. It's purely anecdotal but for a conversation with a retired professor of sexology whose work I would need to be more familiar with before I granted his statements credit. Also, since it's a newspaper article written for a popular audience, the whole thing has an unfortunate "Look at the freaks!" quality, though it's not overbearing.

What I find interesting about the description of the article's subjects is that it really doesn't seem to be a primarily sexual relationship that they have with the objects of their affection. There is a sexual element which the article goes to some trouble to point out, but the people involved seem to have genuine love for their objects of choice, rather than a purely sexual lust. Mid-way through the article Joachim A. goes to some trouble to explain that what he and others have is not a fetish, and while he isn't very eloquent about it (in translation, at least), I think he's right.

The portions of the article that quote sexologist Volkmar Sigusch are a bit annoying. The quotes where he discusses asexuality and the increasing isolation of modern life make me think he sees it a primarily non-sexual, but then you have quotes about "Singles, isolated people, cultural sodomites, many perverts and sex addicts." I'm inclined to give Sigush the benefit of the doubt; I feel like the author of the piece may be taking the most salacious off-the-cuff statements from his interview with Sigusch and ripping them out of context to spice up the article.

I wonder, though, how much of this really is a modern development and how much is a long-standing but rare personality trait. I can't put my finger on any examples right now, but I recall having read in a lot of stories about people with strong, affectionate relationships with objects that they use daily. Doro B.'s discussion of the relationship she has with her metal processing machine strikes this chord particularly strongly. And, really, is having a strong emotional connection with your welding machine that much more bizarre than having a strong emotional connection with, for instance, your dog or your horse? I feel like the isolation of modern life might be a factor in drawing out the tendency to form bonds with inanimate objects, but I'm dubious that this is a new phenomenon.

Of course, what I don't know about psychology would fill the libraries of every psychology department at every university and institute in the world, so treat my thoughts on the subject accordingly. Nonetheless: Interesting article.

Gagh. Tonight I have been reminded rather forcefully that caffeine is a mind-altering drug, and as such is not to be trifled with.

I spent yesterday securely ensconced in my room trying to write a program that will play Nine Men's Morris. All well and good, but I've found that if I don't get a certain minimum quantity of exercise and sunlight I start to feel sickly and lethargic. Today proceeded much as yesterday until I forced myself outside around 6 in the evening, still early enough for about an hour and a half of walking in daylight. I brought a book along with me, and eventually ducked into a coffee shop as twilight fell.

It should be pointed out that I lead a largely caffeine-free existence. It isn't that I have any strong objection to the stuff; I just don't really like coffee or tea and I can take or leave soda, and since soda is more expensive than tap water I generally leave it when left to my own devices. But I had a book with me and wanted to read it, and it was both too dark and too chilly to comfortably read on a bench outdoors. Since coffeeshops are more-or-less the only appropriate places to read indoors in public, and since most businesses frown on people occupying their limited floorspace without making a purchase, I found myself in a Starbucks buying a black coffee. I figured that I would be reading for a while, so I decided to order a large.

The remainder of this evening has been excruciating. About half an hour after I finished the cup I experienced a light-headedness that lasted about three hours. This was followed by an hour or so of queasiness about the stomach, after which I was seized with a nasty bout of paranoia and existential angst. Finally, I was gripped with an overwhelming logorrhea, the results of which you are reading now.

Ideally I would learn a lesson from this, something to the effect of "don't drink large coffees when you haven't engaged in a strenuous training regimen of sodas and smaller coffees to build up to it." As a practical matter, though, I imagine that I'll forget this lesson the next time I find it necessary to stay up late to work on a paper or other project, neglecting to remember that whatever gains in wakefullness I derive from the accursed bean juice are more than offset by the loss to coherence and concentration.

February 2012
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29      

Contact Zach


Webcomics of Which I am a Fan

Sites I Read Daily: Politics

Sites I Read Daily: Video Gaming

Sites I Read Daily: General Miscellany

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Psychologyish Stuff category.

NYC is the previous category.

Science is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 5.04