What is real?
I love the show Westworld. I could talk about my love for it for days but we don't have time. To give you an incredibly brief summary of what the show is about, it involves many characters who are questioning their reality.
I have just started the new season and there is a quote I want to discuss (avoiding spoilers so don't worry if you're not up to date with the show). This may not be the exact quote, but it's something like this:
Person A: "What is real?"
Person B: "That which cannot be replaced."
Naturally, the minimalist-content-making part of my brain went wild at these words. "That which cannot be replaced". Although this probably isn't an intentional nod to materialism, it rung out to me as a pretty good measure of what matters. What is real? What is truth and what is important? Every material thing in our lives can be replaced; our clothes, our furniture, our electronics. But people, experiences, thoughts, relationships, our planet - they can't. They are real; they are what matter.
You could argue that there are material possessions that hold sentimental value and these things cannot be replaced; the jewellery your grandmother owned or the birthday card your daughter made for you. This is where we must try to remember that the feelings we attach to an objects are different to the object. You could sell the jewellery and recycle the card but the love you felt does not die. The love is real. The objects are not.
As I type this, I am looking at my cat. She is looking out the window at the birds on the roof opposite. It breaks my heart to think that there are some people in this world who think that she, a cat, is something that can be replaced; a mere possession. I think it wise to make it clear at this point that no one has the right to measure the worth of anything alive; anything with its own consciousness. Her entire world exists within her just as mine does; just as yours does.
But perhaps it is a useful question when we consider the value possessions things have in our lives: can they be replaced? There are many things I'd rather not replace, certainly, but it is a helpful tool to remind me that there are things that matter more. There are things that we cannot replace - things that need our care, our time and our consideration - and I, certainly, spend too much time worrying about things that are not real.