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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So after a highly disappointing and frustrating thread I made in the "Critical Thinking" section, I'll make another here with my dilemma reworded.

Using either scientific arguments or analogies, explain why people value objects for their "metadata" - as in, they care about the context of its use, possession etc. For example, if someone you cared about gave you some object worth a market value of $5 your valuation would be greater than the market value SIMPLY BECAUSE of the metadata, rather than the object being more useful to you. To illustrate, suppose two IDENTICAL objects, but one of them as given to you by a close relative that had passed away or something like that. The rational thing to do (in my view) if somebody offered you $10 for it is to sell it and then you can buy two of the objects instead. But why wouldn't you? Why does that OBJECT hold "sentimental value"? And am I a psychopath for not understanding this notion?! Because everyone else seems to think so, or at least, I'm the only one that doesn't attach emotional value to physical objects.
 

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A sentimental object would be worth more because it would take more money than what the object is worth for the person to let go of it. Basically some people can be 'bought' out of their sentimentality, it all depends if the sentimental person thinks the money is worth more than the memories attached to the object.

People don't get attached to the object, they get attached to the memories the object reminds them of.
 

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First of all, I doubt you're a psychopath just for asking this. I think it's just that most people don't question the how's and why's of what they do.

Second, I've thought about it, and I think it's just the tendency for people to learn and make associations. Let's look at an everyday object: The stop sign. Is there really anything about a red hexagonal sign with the letters S,T,O, & P that inherently has anything to do with the physical act of stopping? And for that matter, do each of the letters even have anything to do with the sounds they make? The only thing that you could make an argument for is the use of the color red, since that's often associated with danger due to the association with things like blood and fire.

The point is that as humans, we take objects that have no real inherent meaning to them and add meaning. This is abstraction and symbolism. The objects we end up using for this purpose are somewhat random and arbitrary, and is often based on experience.

Let's return to the pocket watch. If that watch belonged to your grandfather, it would be distinct from other watches. The memories and emotions associated with your grandfather will be applied to that object. Does it really make sense for a person to do so? Not really. But the association is there. Grandfather and watch are forever linked together in your mind.

Same goes for art. We are taught that original are is worth more than a copy, because we associate original works with the fame of that artist. If the artist didn't make it, then the association is weaker. Furthermore, owning an original work from a famous artist is associated with status, since the link between you and that famous artist is stronger than if you had owned a copy.

Again, does any of this really make any sense? No. Not one bit. What gain would there be if you owned an original work other than what society teaches you? Everything is filtered through our perceptions.
 

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Attaching special value to an object because it meant a lot to you in your past.

For instance, say there is a videogame you used to play with your friends. Now that you look upon this game again, you smile because you remember all the great moments you had with your friends playing this game. This game now has sentimental value to you. You'll be less likely to throw it away than a game that does not contain these happy memories.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@Angelic Gardevoir Wow, I think I finally get it! Thanks :)

I understand that preferences are subjective (even if objective reasons can be given for them), but not why memories are assigned to objects.
@Ninjaws The example you give with the video game is certainly relatable for me, but it's the game itself I value rather than a physical copy. To me, owning a physical copy of a game is no different to owning a digital copy - if anything it's less convenient. Just to give a counter-example, when I acheived my proudest/best achievement in a video game that took me years to do, I traded in the controller I used to do it the next day for a very low price (because it was in terrible condition). Even though I had some of the best experiences ever with that controller I didn't care whatsoever. It's a standard controller just like the rest. It just so happens that it's what I used to play. It doesn't make that specific controller special because in terms of functionality and aesthetics it's identical.

I think someone had mentioned somewhere that this whole association of memories with physical objects is an Si thing but it seems very prevalent with Fi as well. I still can't think of a single physical item that I value more because of memories. I can see that objects may serve as a reminder for some people (particularly sensors), but it makes me feel like the "odd one out" because material wealth doesn't make me happy; nor does "owning a piece of history".

Also it seems as if sometimes to understand why some people do certain things, you have to be that person; or at least, have done it yourself to understand. It's just difficult to try and see something from someone else's point of view because you have to change your way of thinking.
 

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@Angelic Gardevoir Wow, I think I finally get it! Thanks :)

I understand that preferences are subjective (even if objective reasons can be given for them), but not why memories are assigned to objects.
@Ninjaws The example you give with the video game is certainly relatable for me, but it's the game itself I value rather than a physical copy. To me, owning a physical copy of a game is no different to owning a digital copy - if anything it's less convenient. Just to give a counter-example, when I acheived my proudest/best achievement in a video game that took me years to do, I traded in the controller I used to do it the next day for a very low price (because it was in terrible condition). Even though I had some of the best experiences ever with that controller I didn't care whatsoever. It's a standard controller just like the rest. It just so happens that it's what I used to play. It doesn't make that specific controller special because in terms of functionality and aesthetics it's identical.

I think someone had mentioned somewhere that this whole association of memories with physical objects is an Si thing but it seems very prevalent with Fi as well. I still can't think of a single physical item that I value more because of memories. I can see that objects may serve as a reminder for some people (particularly sensors), but it makes me feel like the "odd one out" because material wealth doesn't make me happy; nor does "owning a piece of history".

Also it seems as if sometimes to understand why some people do certain things, you have to be that person; or at least, have done it yourself to understand. It's just difficult to try and see something from someone else's point of view because you have to change your way of thinking.
I value function over sentimental value as well. If something stops working I will not keep it simply for the emotional value.
For me it is usually small but still noticeable. For instance, I have a shelf full of games. They are all stacked on one another. I did however give the games a different treatment based on how much I cared about them. A game with a lot of value to me would never be put on the top, as it would catch the most dust there. I guess this is Fi assigning irrational value to objects.
 

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Does it really make sense for a person to do so? Not really.
The only way sentimentality toward objects doesn't make sense is if you're incapable of emotional attachment. Memories have a tendency to fade as time passes - objects that keep those memories fresh are important to our emotional well being. We are emotional creatures and the rational course of action is to maintain a healthy emotional state.
 
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The only way sentimentality toward objects doesn't make sense is if you're incapable of emotional attachment. Memories have a tendency to fade as time passes - objects that keep those memories fresh are important to our emotional well being. We are emotional creatures and the rational course of action is to maintain a healthy emotional state.
What I meant is that it doesn't make sense to value the object compared the actual memories or the thing you associate the object with. The object really has nothing to do with those things other than what you link with them.
 

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The object really has nothing to do with those things other than what you link with them.
If the object is your means of maintaining a connection to your memories and sentiments it has everything to do with them.
 

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So after a highly disappointing and frustrating thread I made in the "Critical Thinking" section, I'll make another here with my dilemma reworded.

Using either scientific arguments or analogies, explain why people value objects for their "metadata" - as in, they care about the context of its use, possession etc. For example, if someone you cared about gave you some object worth a market value of $5 your valuation would be greater than the market value SIMPLY BECAUSE of the metadata, rather than the object being more useful to you. To illustrate, suppose two IDENTICAL objects, but one of them as given to you by a close relative that had passed away or something like that. The rational thing to do (in my view) if somebody offered you $10 for it is to sell it and then you can buy two of the objects instead. But why wouldn't you? Why does that OBJECT hold "sentimental value"? And am I a psychopath for not understanding this notion?! Because everyone else seems to think so, or at least, I'm the only one that doesn't attach emotional value to physical objects.

I am glad that you made this thread because I think it gets more to the crux of the issue; I think it's more about people's perception of objects than the objects themselves.


I also don't think there's anything wrong at all with you not feeling this sense of sentimental value the way that you seem to feel that everyone else does. I'm actually surprised that you feel that way, because I would have thought this lack of sentimentality would be common in INTJs and ENTJs.


I do hate to bring up type in a non-type thread, and I'm not sure how much of a part it plays, but it does seem to fit. I think you might feel out of place concerning the topic just because INTJs are a type in the minority as a whole. However, among INTJs, I would imagine your thoughts would be pretty commonplace. Not being an INTJ, I can't say for sure...but I wouldn't be surprised if you talked to other INTJs about these kinds of topics, I think you would feel less in the minority.

I think your value of objective utility of things fits right in with a lot of things I've heard from other NTJ types.



I also don't know if there really is any true scientific explanation for sentimental value; I think it's all in the realm of psychology. And psychology is much muddier than science. I've noticed that among a lot of thinker types, especially Te types...they prefer to have very clear logical explanations for everything. Even though I think there are scientific explanations behind most emotional reactions, I think there are so many variables for each individual person that there can't really be a clear, straightforward explanation.


I did search for a few links and I liked this one:

https://unclutterer.com/2010/02/08/why-we-hold-on-to-sentimental-clutter/


As I mentioned before, I also like these descriptions of Si that may be somewhat applicable:

Introverted Sensing / Sensation (Si)

http://personalitycafe.com/sjs-temp...83-lenore-thomsons-introverted-sensation.html



Beyond that, everything else I can add is really only personal, not scientific. As I mentioned, I think type may play a part in this. You and I pretty much have opposite functions...Si and Fe are my top two functions, for you they would be 7th and 8th.



Even though I think Fi users a lot of times feel a sense of nostalgia and sentimentality as well, for me as a dom Si user, I think my past influences me much greater than a lot of people of other types. N types tend to focus more on the future and what they can create. Si users tend to prefer the comfort of consistency and security. This is based on their past experiences and being able to use those experiences to create their future.

For me at least, that's where I get a lot of sentimental value in anything regarding my past. My past is definite. I feel like I can relive anything from my past and make it something real, even though it's all in my mind. I feel like I haven't lost it. I feel like I'm always in control of it. This gives me a sense of peace and contentment.

So, a lot of times different objects can make this whole experience a lot more real. It taps into that sense of familiarity that I have. It kind of keeps me from having to worry as much about the future and things that I can't control.





So that's how it works for me. Honestly, though, you shouldn't feel bad, weird, or in any way inadequate for not having these same feelings. I could be wrong, but I get the sense that as an INTJ, you're used to being able to conquer any kind of logistical problem you face because that's your area of strength. I think you might be viewing this topic in a similar way but feeling frustrated because your usually strong comprehension abilities seem to be failing you. But the thing is that it has nothing to do with your abilities, but that the topic itself is not one based in objective logic so there's nothing there for you to figure out.

Like I said before, I really wouldn't be surprised if most INTJs felt very similar to you concerning all of this. So I don't think you should let it bother you at all.
 
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If the object is your means of maintaining a connection to your memories and sentiments it has everything to do with them.
Well...

The object itself has little to no value, it is what the object makes you think of that is important.
This was what I was trying to say. Furthermore, I also meant that it doesn't make sense when applying logic to it. Emotionally, it does make sense to the person who applies that value.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@teddy564339 Thanks. That made a lot of sense to me, and I'm glad it's not "abnormal", at least amongst NTJs ;)

It's just that it's really hard for me to look at something as being different than what it actually is. When I think of an object, concept or idea, I don't think of it in terms of how I feel about it or what memories I have associated with it - at least, when describing it. I describe things and think of them based on their real-world, objectively perceivable properties, rather than what they remind me of. On the contrary, my INFP friend will rarely describe something as what it is; rather, what it is similar to or what it reminds him of or some very personal connection between two otherwise unrelated things.

The reason I felt bad about not "getting it" is because it might somehow imply that I am soulless and have no feelings when that's not true!
 

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@teddy564339 Thanks. That made a lot of sense to me, and I'm glad it's not "abnormal", at least amongst NTJs ;)

It's just that it's really hard for me to look at something as being different than what it actually is. When I think of an object, concept or idea, I don't think of it in terms of how I feel about it or what memories I have associated with it - at least, when describing it. I describe things and think of them based on their real-world, objectively perceivable properties, rather than what they remind me of. On the contrary, my INFP friend will rarely describe something as what it is; rather, what it is similar to or what it reminds him of or some very personal connection between two otherwise unrelated things.

The reason I felt bad about not "getting it" is because it might somehow imply that I am soulless and have no feelings when that's not true!

That part I bolded really lines up with a lot of things I've read about descriptions of Se and Si. Se sees things for what they actually are...that's why it's extroverted sensing, it deals with the external, which is the objective reality. Si sees things for what they mean for the individual (which is why it's introverted or internal)...that's the way the Si user perceives everything in a very personal manner. Si doms like me can sometimes even struggle to truly understand something for what it actually is...that's how deeply entrenched we sometimes are by the function.


So it makes perfect sense that your INFP friend would be different than you in this regard, since they have Si as their tertiary function.


This is probably an oversimplification of the topic. I don't think it can be reduced completely down to type. I also don't know how people of other types may feel about it...for example, I don't know how in what ways Se doms would perceive this idea of sentimentality. I've also heard that Fi users tend to feel it as well (which would explain even more why an INFP would feel it...they have both Fi and Si).


But I do think it's at least one piece of the puzzle.


I can't really begin to comment on the idea of how INTJs' feelings work, because from what I've seen INTJs' emotions are very complex, at least to an outsider like me. However, based on conversations I've had with INTJs in the past, I would say the reason why you might have this worry of being "soulless" is based on outsiders' perspectives of the complexities of INTJs. Because INTJs are in the minority, the average person has a hard time understanding them and often unfairly attaches negative labels to them. It's possible you've experienced things like this before, I can't say.

But INTJs certainly have plenty of feelings. They may be complex feelings, but certainly feelings nonetheless.
 
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This was what I was trying to say. Furthermore, I also meant that it doesn't make sense when applying logic to it. Emotionally, it does make sense to the person who applies that value.
You're implying that it's not logical to value something based on it's influence on your emotional state. The object serves a purpose even if it's not obvious.

The distinction is objective vs subjective, not emotion vs logic.

Logically you must take every variable into account to draw an accurate conclusion - including the emotion of a subject.
 

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You're implying that it's not logical to value something based on it's influence on your emotional state. The object serves a purpose even if it's not obvious.

The distinction is objective vs subjective, not emotion vs logic.

Logically you must take every variable into account to draw an accurate conclusion - including the emotion of a subject.
Okay, I see what you're saying now. Sorry I overlooked that. Yes, it makes logical sense to value something that positively influences your emotional state. But that wasn't what I was trying to argue. I was saying that there's no particular reason for the connection between the object and the emotion to exist in the first place other than association. That's the part that doesn't make logical sense. The value is in the emotion itself, not the object, just as @TelepathicGoose said.
 

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@nO_d3N1AL when you smell something or taste something do these things every remind you of something else? For example, someone might smell perfume on another person as they walk past them and are reminded of their grandmother because she used to wear the same perfume...then these thoughts lead into other thoughts/memories about the grandmother either negative or positive.

Or like me, sometimes I will eat or drink something and it will trigger memory of drinking chocolate milk as a child.

Or perhaps a song? A song could come of the radio and suddenly you are taken back to your wedding dance, or some other event.

Can you relate?

These examples are similar to what people experience with objects.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
@nO_d3N1AL when you smell something or taste something do these things every remind you of something else? For example, someone might smell perfume on another person as they walk past them and are reminded of their grandmother because she used to wear the same perfume...then these thoughts lead into other thoughts/memories about the grandmother either negative or positive.

Or like me, sometimes I will eat or drink something and it will trigger memory of drinking chocolate milk as a child.

Or perhaps a song? A song could come of the radio and suddenly you are taken back to your wedding dance, or some other event.

Can you relate?

These examples are similar to what people experience with objects.
Yes, I can relate to those things - reminders - but I feel like it's different with objects. Just because a physical object reminds me of a memory doesn't mean I can't have that memory without that object. Thus, I see no reason why they should be bound together.
 
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