More shiny?

Screenshot anime Little Busters (safe for work and school)

It is just a small thing, but since it makes me happy it is amazing!

The last fluorescent bulb in my home flickered and died, although happily it did not shatter like one did a few years ago. It was time to replace it with a LED bulb, the way I had done with about a dozen incandescent bulbs last year. I was also looking for a smaller bulb for the last spot in the living room 5-bulb main lamp. In addition, I ended up buying a set of three LED downlights for the kitchen. “Make your Home a Palace of Neverending Light!” Well, at least 20 years, according to the packaging. I don’t see why they would stop working then if they’ve lasted that long, but those who live shall see!

I also bought a new charger for my Galaxy Tab 7.7, as I had accidentally swept it off the table where it was charging. The tablet took no damage, but the connector at the end of the cable from the charger broke beyond repair. (I did repair it, but it worked only fitfully at best.) Stupidly it was made in one piece, so I had to replace it all. The replacement has a USB cable that connects the charger and the tablet, so if one part breaks, you need not replace them both.

My trip also brought me past a display of the new Galaxy Note 10.1, the big brother of my Galaxy Note 2 phablet (big mobile phone). The Note 10.1 was very nearly as Shiny as its little brother.  By “Shiny” in this context I mean the mysterious ability to radiate a small but noticeable amount of joy and satisfaction, giving the user a feeling similar to an orthodox worshiper watching an icon (according to studies of Apple fans; I believe Samsung has somehow managed to copy this memetic tech from Apple, by means unknown.)

For those who don’t use Note or iPhone or religious icons, it is similar to the feeling you get when watching a picture of someone you like a lot. Otaku (fans of Japanese entertainment) get this feeling, only more strongly I believe, when watching merchandise relating to their favorite series, such as small dolls of the main characters, or pillows decorated with pictures of them. I have not gone quite that far down the slippery road of the otaku, but it is big business (and parodied in some anime!)

Since I already have the Note 2, I was not seriously tempted to buy the Note 10.1 for its shiny. Hopefully there will be a Note 7 eventually, by the time I am ready to retire the Tab 7.7. But that may be a year or two off if things stay their course, and that is an ocean of time to me. Who knows who will be alive and who will be dead two years from now? We must do all the things that must be done, before they are lost forever. Buying yet another tablet is not near the top of that list right now.  But if you are looking for your first, this one is shiny. And it has a pen so you can draw on it and handwrite.

I consider “shiny” a good thing in and of itself. If objects you use can give you some measure of joy beyond their more prosaic function, so more the better. Increase the amount of joy on earth without harming anyone? Sure. Of course, one may get attached to it, as one may get to other joys: Art, music, architecture etc. (I use “joy” here as distinct from “pleasure” which in my use applies to the senses and fulfillment of instincts, but there is an overlap. Eating when you are hungry – even just a little bit hungry – is a pleasure, but food that is deliciously prepared and presented adds joy of the mind atop the pleasure of the flesh, as it were. There is also a considerable overlap in romantic relationships, but let’s not go there today.)

I would not mind if all of us could live our lives surrounded by objects that broadcast joy, so to speak. But I may be too optimistic about our ability to detach from such feelings. If we cannot die peacefully because we don’t want to part from all the shiny things, then clearly we have gone too far. But overall I think we should not wish for more suffering in the world, but more pleasure, joy and happiness in so far as it hurts no one and goes along with a virtuous life. (Not that I’m going to hold myself up as an example of the latter, but I mean in principle.) So, shiny, but not at any cost.

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