India, 2015

Nothing like having to look up the first word. So, to be better than. To carry oneself in a vulgar or pretentious way. To be brag-a-docious (I made up that last part).

Funny how easy it is to see sin in others and miss it in yourself. I try to be approachable and I’d like to think I carry my wealth and the good things I’ve had softly. Maybe with one major exception. I’ll get back to that.

I think its important to be aware of this—both because it is a dickish thing to brag and goes against my nature, but also in terms of self-preservation. Bragging isn’t an attractive quality. To feel as if you have achieved to the point of vulgarity and pretentiousness is the step before the fall. The Emperor’s New Clothes.

That and being aware of how quickly power and possessions can fade. I often think of this quote

Greatness is a transitory experience. It is never consistent. It depends in part upon the myth-making imagination of humankind. The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in. He must react what is projected upon him. And he must have a strong sense of the sardonic. This is what uncouples him from belief in his own pretensions. The sardonic is all that permits him to move within himself. Without this quality, even occasional greatness will destroy a man. Frank Herbert, Dune

Probably worth thinking more here about areas that impact me. I think I’m someone he tries to not carry my success in a vulgar or pretentious way. I say that until I think about my car. A red Camaro. I remember getting it and thinking, woah, it’s really cool I can afford something like this. I remember getting it after a series of mini-vans and hand-me-down cars. This was one of the first times I got some so over the top ridiculous.

In the end, I’m not sure it has given me as much joy as I thought it might. So maybe this is one part of my life that I should look at more closely. Does that car really provide something useful to me. Does it send a message of wealth or pretentiousness…I suppose it does. So not only isn’t it something I really like, I think it has the added impact of separating me from others. Seeming flashy.

So maybe saying goodbye to Brandi in the new year is something to think more about. I think she just has a few payments left—maybe once that is done I can look at some options. Think a bit more about practicality in my purchases over what they say about me. Is something useful and desirably, apart from its brand and message it sends to those around me?

This reminds me some of the commodification concept at burning man. The idea that brands are not present and there is no economy.

Another way to do this might be to reflect more on being thankful for things in my life. Maybe that is a step towards avoiding ostentatiousness. I’ll think more and come back to this one.