on cars and computers

My mom was describing my interests to family and she mentioned that I have no interest in cars, like boys often do, but that I was crazy about computers. The observation is true and I make no apologies for this. I don’t care much for cars apart from the fact that they’re used to travel from point A to point B. I have no knowledge of engine types or any interest in souping up my car with lights and rims. My use of the car is purely functional, it solves the mobility problem. My take on computers is similar, like the car the computer is just a tool. But I can do much more with this tool. It’s not so much about owning a computer or having it as it is about the fact that computers exist and carry with them tons of potential. And thus the excitement and “craze”.

It’s about the possibilities. It’s not about what your processor speed is or about the size of your RAM. It’s about what you can do with what you have. I’m not interested in programming and coding because they’re logical exercises. I’m interested in this stuff because it’s cool, it’s fun and it’s creative. It allows me to take an idea in my mind and create something out of it. The computer is simply a tool for that. No much more than what brushes and a canvas would be for a painter, or a camera would be for a photographer.

Sure the specifications do matter at some point, a faster computer allows you to do things faster. But the speed in and of itself is meaningless. What can I accomplish with that speed? What can I create?

I have a pen in my room. It was gifted to me by my father. The pen is still cased in the box it came in. I’ve never used it and I don’t intend to. It’s a Mont Blanc pen, and it’s expensive. I can’t wrap my head around that. The pen is a tool. It allows me to write. But will my words be any different if my pen is more expensive? Will it’s shine improve my creativity and my ability to think? I doubt it. Now, I do appreciate the gesture of the gift. But I don’t understand why this pen exists. I wonder how many people can get meals off of the “value” and “worth” of that pen.

I suppose my problem is when tools become a symbol of social status. So instead of serving a function, your tools become a display of what you have/own. What else is a more expensive car, a more expensive pen, or a more expensive watch? Why do people buy Hummers, Mont Blanc pens, and Rolex watches? I don’t get it.

So that pen will remain boxed, my iron ring will stay in my wallet, and I don’t see why a Lexus is any better than a normal Toyota.

I think a guitar has more value than a Rolex, and I’ll always like computers more than I like cars.

Another thing about computers and, in particular, the Internet is that they allow and promote conversation and collaboration. They are a powerful medium for conversation, expression and sharing. These things allow me to learn and then share that with others, and that is why I’m crazy about computers and that is why I love the Internet.

5 thoughts on “on cars and computers”

  1. i read your post on the screen of my spanking new glossy macbook, my dusty 2005 PC firmly shelved in the corner of the room.


  2. We all indulge in different ways. I think it’s in our nature. I don’t know if I could assign worthiness to what someone else’s indulgence.

    I do believe that some things are more expensive because they are better crafted. I do agree that a Toyota will get you to the same place as a Lexus. But for some people, it’s not just about getting from one place to another. It’s also about the specifics of the journey. Or about the feeling of wearing something that is more than just a watch, but also a piece of art. I don’t think it’s always for show, although I supposed for a good number of people that may be the case.

    My point is, these are matters of perspective and priority. While I see the value in what you have said here, I also see the value in the other perspective. Myself? I tend to fall in the middle.

  3. Very interesting perspective. I think I agreed completely, and then I read Faiqa’s response and agree with that too. My opinion is that the practicality and functionality of any thing is of greater importance than its monetary value, so if an expensive Swiss watch will last 25 years, spending on it is better than buying a new $10 watch from the vendors at Old Montreal’s harbor every year.

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