The Advantage of Buying

In an age of heavy consumerism, how dare I write a post with such an irresponsible title. After all, we have minimalism and Marie Kondo-ism and there shouldn’t be any reasons for us to buy anything anymore, right?

Today, I just bought two books. But why do I need to buy, can’t I just borrow it from the library? I own a e-book reader and I don’t even need to go to the library to borrow.

The fact is that reading a book and owning a book is a totally different experience. Perhaps, I can compare it to eating cup noodles and going to a ramen restaurant and having someone preparing a warm bowl of comforting noodles for you. I like to own books. I don’t need to own all the books I read though.

Today we have Spotify. Why need to buy CDs and vinyls? Are they better in sound quality? Even if it’s true, the difference is negligible. Life has become convenient to a fault. A press of a button and we can have any songs we want played. How enjoyable is that? Is it the same as admiring Mona Lisa on the computer screen as compared to admiring it at the Louvre?

I still remember back in my days, I can so excitedly go to the CD shop, spend $20, and go home with it. I must actually physically open the jewel case, remove the tiny CD booklet, meticulously hold the CD with my middle finger and thumb so as to not leave my finger prints on the face of the disc, gently place it on the CD player’s tray, close it and to finally getting to enjoy the songs that I’ve anticipated for weeks and months. I’m not sure if anyone understand this magical feeling of the whole experience of listening to music with such intentionality.

Why is owning books special? Books are stories and wisdoms. They are a part of the author, who you might have strong admiration for. They might have inspired you a great deal and you would love to just own a bit of it. Yes, buying books is all about owning. You want to own knowledge. You don’t want to borrow knowledge. Owning is committing. You want to be committed. What is borrowed will need to be eventually returned. Once it’s returned, it’ll most likely be put at the back of your mind and be eventually forgotten.

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