Why We Do What We Do

I love asking students to interrogate every day objects and routines in their lives to find out what they signify.

They consider what’s in plain sight to them all the time.

They ask questions like: What does this object represent to me? What meaning do I attach to it? What does this object or activity teach me about larger themes in the humanities like beauty, ethics, happiness, or longing? What am I overlooking? 

It’s seems absurd at first to take the most common of objects–lip balm, pencil, baseball glove–and ponder it, really ponder it. We’re suddenly hacking into the system where everything means more than itself.

Everything becomes worthy of our attention. Everything teaches us something about ourselves, our world, and how we’ve constructed our lives. We’re attentive; we’re choosing how we think about what’s happening around us. We can stop and ask why and how and what.

It’s a different way to live, one in which you feel fully engaged in your own life.


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