self-expression for the self-strong

“Is it real?” vs. “Is it useful?”

I talk to Meamare, my car. I tell her good morning each time I start her up to go to work, and I thank her each time I park. When the weather is bad, I encourage her to stay steady and sure, and I lavish praise on her when she, inevitably, gets me home safely. Together, she and I make driving safe and efficient and enjoyable.

Does this mean I believe my car is a person, deserving of the same courtesies and emotional support I would give a friend?

Or does this mean I am playing into my psychology in order to cultivate a sense of gratitude for my primary means of transportation and a sense of calmness in times of dangerous road conditions?

Here’s a better question: does it matter?

What matters is whether or not a particular belief is useful. A belief’s objective reality can be difficult or outright impossible to prove – if you can prove that my car does or does not have a spirit, go right ahead! – and so its reality ceases to be important. What remains is usefulness.

Does this belief enhance or enrich my life? Does it aid my functionality and my happiness? Does it avoid any negative impact on my mind and body?

If it is both helpful and harmless, then it is useful, and it may stay.

Is my car a person, or does acting as though she is simply serve my psyche?

It doesn’t matter. What’s important is that I am a happier, more mindful driver because I talk to her. And that’s best for everyone.

2 Responses to “Is it real?” vs. “Is it useful?”

  • heehee. I talk to my vehicles too…but it’s more like I exhort them. “Turn, you bitch, turn. Your momma was a Ford Pinto! You’re the bastard daughter of a steam engine! [successfully navigates the corner] Good girl!! I knew you had it in you…” *pat, pat*

    I like to think she took it in the same spirit it was offered.

  • I envision my car as a dragon-thoroughbred thingamacritter. She always wants to run faster than she ought, and has to be reined in on turns. Quite frankly, I know I pay more attention to how things are going, the feel of how she’s running, by thinking of her as some sort of wild beast that I must treat with patience, affection, and a degree of dominance. If I zoned out and just let her be a machine, my driving experience would be significantly less enjoyable and likely less safe. And if anyone hears me cussing when things don’t go as planned or praising her when she gets me through a difficult situation, it’s not hurting them at all.

    Helpful and harmless, useful indeed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *