Facebook helped me think of a philosophical question. Can a can of paint be more relate-able than the makers of said can of paint? This reminds me of the previously explored question, is a relationship a thing?. I say it is a thing created by at least two material things. Some aspects of relationship are objective, like physical dimensions. These are measurable and are established by comparison. Some are chemical and involve reactions related to proximity. Proximity is less objectively understood nowadays with quantum mechanics.

It is the chemical reactions (and I think spiritual things are often manifested chemically) that can make the product more relate-able than the producer. Products are typically more benign than their producers. They are simpler. The more complex a thing is, the more complicated the relationship, and I’ll posit, the more fragile. A product is a focused variable that manifests an aspect of the creator: the aspect meant for public consumption. (both product and consumption are deplorable words) Consumption is usually the intended relationship between the product and those it was produced for. Consumption is a very intimate thing. One can be thankful to the producer for making the product, but one cannot be as intimate with him. Confusion in this regard turns one into a stalking groupie. Of course a producer has intimate relationships, but they are not what is intended when he releases a product for sale. That is a professional relationship.

But what if the producer invites a more personal relationship by giving personal interviews and sharing personal information on his twitter feed? I think this confuses the producer-consumer relationship. But the best salespeople share personal information in order to build trust. “I bought one of these for myself and added booster components”, etc. These are called testimonials in the advertising world. We all want the inside scoop. Also, it is impossible for a producer to be completely hidden from the public, just as it is for any of us.

Further, products themselves do reveal something about their producers. Revelation causes relationship, even if it is negative. The most popular products probably reveal the most felt aspects of the human condition. The word “felt” may need some attention. There are other aspects of the human condition that products are tailored to, mostly in the supportive disciplines, and I wonder if the word “support” is key there. Colors in particular influence the relationship one has with one’s environment. Words and tone also do. Technical products such as the type of metal in the paint can, texture on the wall, or insulation inside the wall contribute to a certain feeling.

Other less emotive products such as text books and medication, I believe, still support a certain feeling. A feeling of right relationship with one’s environment. Disease is dis ease. There is false comfort and cold comfort, but these have to do with the healthiness of both participants in the relationship. Whether something is popular or not, many say, is not an indicator of the health of either party. But I think there is something to it, even though the way is narrow that leads to ultimate truth and eventual ease.

So, we are meant to have relationships with created things. Creation, in the Christian sense, is supposed to point us to the trinitarian God, the Creator. But there are middle men. None of us lives without the influence of people and their creations. There is a hierarchical process. If we are to train our senses to respond to God more directly, then we will probably eventually only want to dwell within the Church or the Heavenly Kingdom, where God is revealed most clearly.

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