14 AUGUST 2021

'Never accept a free Lamborghini'

Looters of value

What is repulsive about the undeserving owner of a supercar, a possession that he did not have to work a single minute for in order to gain?

He becomes a looter of value, the immense energy that was required to build up such a material object had to have come from somewhere.

Energy in terms of sourcing and refining raw materials, the time expended through thinking and designing, the hands-on labour in assembling and constructing and so on.

If not from him, then who?

The car does not make the owner, instead it is the owner that makes the car — a looter’s car becomes a moving symbol of undeserved wealth, transforming the material object from a source of pride and achievement to something ugly and disdainful.

Who will know this first?

It is not the pedestrian onlookers, the Youtubers, the Instagramers, as most of what they see will be the surface level opulence, feelings of admiration and awe. It will be the owner who will first know the real truths.

He will never feel like the object belongs to him, it never fits quite right. He will be victimised by an ever-present self-consciousness.

Then comes the day when he will sell the car, thinking that by doing so, he might regain a sense of peace, a hilltop to hide away from the rolling waves of internal unrest.

Perhaps, he will, as his ugly secret becomes less explicit, less visible to the external world.

The root of the problem, however, lies unresolved and goes into hibernation.

The next car eventually comes along, perhaps obtained at an even heftier price tag, with money that came from somewhere, produced by someone; as if the monetary value of the material object could serve as the source of one’s self worth.

‘The car is worth $X, so I deserve to be worth $X.’

But this equation is actually reversed. The truth is closer to this:

‘I am worth $X, so I deserve to have a car that is worth $X.’

Once the new car arrives into his life, the ugly emotions start to manifest themselves again.

‘It’s the car, not me!’, he might complain.

After all, is it not far more convenient to dispose and swap out material belongings than it is to swap out one’s character?