The Idea of Certain Ideas

I have recently started thinking about the ideas behind certain “ideas” or concepts we have; I have been thinking about them culturally (that is, how the ideas of things seem to exist across cultures and through extremely different languages and although there might be slightly different connotations to these basic ideas, the inherent “concepts” are the same), I have been thinking about them semantically, &c. &c. &c. Recently, I was watching a YouTube video and there was an “ad” about a talk (perhaps a TedTalk? I’m not sure …) in which the speaker claims that there is no such thing as “good or bad memory; there is just poorly trained and well trained memory.” (Something to that effect). I disagree very much with that statement – I have had something of an eidetic memory regarding occurrences that reaches far back before what I can personally remember (that is, others have told me what I remembered as a VERY young child). Although how well I remember things has waxed and waned over time, in general, I have a “good memory;” no training necessarily required. I do believe one CAN train oneself to have a better memory – I had to TRAIN myself how to study because I went through school simply remembering everything I had written down (if only I remember it all to the present!). But the idea behind the concept of “memory” is really fairly universal – one either tends to remember things well or one tends to remember things poorly. The various psychological implications regarding memory and how our minds so frequently trick us is another discussion.

Another “concept” I have been thinking about is that of “luxury.” For those of you who might not know, I am something of a “designer handbag” fanatic. I have bought and sold quasi-expensive handbags (I am not in the Chanel / Hermes kind of category) and that experience has taught me fairly well what “brands” hold their value more than others. The idea of luxury is an interesting one; my MEMORY always throws that Chanel quote up on the screen of my mind – “The best things in life are free. The second best things are very, very expensive.” To me, that quote always makes me laugh and the comedy I find within its “meaning” is likely because it holds something of a universal veracity. Regarding the idea of luxury, however, I think the definition has a little bit more “wiggle room” than most other “concepts.” To me, the definition is something like “something that is excessive in some sense of the word ‘value,’ but necessarily does not hold value because it is, ultimately, a frivolous thing.” This goes for handbags, expensive shoes, private jets and yachts, mansions that cover vast areas, &c. &c. A bag is ultimately anything you can hold something in; you use shoes to make your feet less susceptible to being cut on the ground or getting frostbite in the cold and you could, technically, walk barefoot; you can use many “cheaper” means of transportation; a home could be anything that shelters you from the elements, &c. If I were to bring up “brands,” the idea that brands like Chanel and Hermes are considered the ultimate in luxury goods is silly to me because they not only hold their value, but their value (for now) increases over time. To me, luxury goes BEYOND that – it is something that is insanely expensive that is essentially expensive just for the sake of being expensive – it is the ultimate expression of hedonism. So for me, something like Gucci (which tends to be more “moderately” priced) is more of a “true” luxury brand because if you have ever tried to resell anything other than a Gucci “Boston Bag,” you know that it holds its value like a sieve holds water.

At any rate, those are just some of the things going on in my mind right now. I have had a difficult day and a difficult week and I keep trying to use the constant stream of seemingly random thoughts in my mind as a distraction. I have been experiencing terrible panic attacks this week as well and I have been trying to remind myself that I am okay, that whatever is triggering the attacks is not currently killing me, &c. – it doesn’t really help the panic attacks, but it is good to remind oneself that the stupid little things that trigger us in life are really stupid little things compared to what so much of the world goes through every day. Even the worst of chronic illness sometimes pales in comparison to the daily life of billions on this planet. I realize that making such a “comparison” also accomplishes nothing necessarily (it doesn’t relieve the suffering of those who are in “worse” situations) … but it does help me put my own present “problems” in perspective (aaaah, the alliteration!). At any rate, I just wanted to throw that out there since this is, ultimately, a “blog” about how the world LOOKS from the perspective of someone who has battled chronic illness her entire life. I hope you are all having a happy and healthy day wherever you are in the world and I hope to be back with a more “practical” post sometime very soon!

❤ Always, Beth

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