Ever since Marie Kondo wrote about how unkind it is to your socks to store them balled up, people have been writing to ask me if this is really true.
According to Marie Kondo, the socks stored in your drawer are essentially on holiday, so it is cruel to ball them up with their fabric stretched, in a state of tension. ‘The time they spend in your drawer is their only chance to rest,’ she says.
It sounds like something from a child’s fiction story until you realize she means this to be taken seriously. In her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, she explains that socks must always be folded and stored upright. ‘You’ll notice your socks breathing a sigh of relief at being untied,’ she claims.
I do agree that folding socks and storing them vertically in a drawer, grouped in their various colours, is aesthetically pleasing. It also allows you to store more of them in a smaller space than if you roll them into balls, and it’s fun to thumb through them as you would search through index cards, looking for the ones you’d like to wear that day.
But to suggest that socks need to be stored in this way because they are tired and deserve to have a rest is utter nonsense.
Projecting human characteristics onto inanimate objects, plants, animals, deities and so on is what psychologists call anthropomorphism. It’s common in many cultures, especially those that practise animism. However, when I lived in Bali for twenty years, where animism is practised in many forms, I never once saw a Balinese person do this. For them a sock is a sock, a plant is a plant, and a dog is a dog. They treat certain items, such as ritual objects, respectfully, but they would never think of attributing human traits.
From a spiritual perspective, most Third World cultures, including Bali, are still predominantly immersed in what’s known as the prepersonal stage of human evolution. They are still etherically connected to land energies below, to spiritual forces above and to their earthly environment. Because of this, they have a spiritual culture that is more alive and vibrant than most other places in the world.
Most people living in western countries, by comparison, have entered what is called the personal stage. This has given us all the wonders of industrialization and technical advances, but has resulted in wide-scale etheric numbing and spiritual disconnection, which in turn has led to many forms of neurosis. Anthropomorphism is a symptom of this stage and is, in my view, a type of neurosis, as this Ikea lamp video so beautifully illustrates.
The path of human evolution mercifully does not stop at the personal stage. We are designed to pass through this to the transpersonal stage, in which permanent conscious spiritual connection becomes a way of life, although the human race is a long way from this at the present time. If you would like to know more, the best starting point is the Knowledge Track titled Subtle Bodies, The Fourfold Model, published by the Clairvision School.
Talking to things
I’m a tactile kind of person so I’ve been known to caress the furniture in my home and I like to wear the type of clothing that has textures. I also freely admit that I love my car and sometimes, as a show of affection, I stroke the exterior or pat the top of the dashboard. I even give my cars names.
But I draw the line at talking to my things as if they are sentient beings with feelings.
At the highest levels of consciousness, there is no separation. In the sublime levels that some meditators experience, there are states of consciousness of being at one with the whole of creation. Everything is everywhere and everywhen. It is all connected. And that’s essentially what animists are tuning into.
However, these exalted states are exceedingly rare. A person can meditate for years and never even glimpse this. When people attribute feelings to inanimate objects, it is not because they have had high-level experiences of consciousness that have changed their approach to cosmic realities. It is because they are mistakenly anthropomorphizing. They are projecting human attributes onto animals, plants or things.
In cultures where animism is practised, certain items may be venerated because they are imbued with a particular spiritual presence or are an anchor for specific spiritual forces that can tangibly be felt. But this does not mean those items have feelings. Yes, they need to be treated respectfully, but it is the high spiritual presence that is being respected, not the physical item the presence is anchored on.
In any case, the way to commune with high spiritual presences is not by talking to them. They don’t communicate with us in words. If you ever find yourself talking to a spiritual presence (and especially if you think it answers you), you are either imagining it or connecting to a low-level astral force that likes to play with gullible humans for its own amusement. I’m sorry to say that most New Age channelled writings are products of this.
So about your socks
If you’ve been treating your socks better because you believed they can get stressed and tired, hopefully some of this kindness has extended into other areas of your life and into how you treat yourself too. But imagining that they have even the tiniest shred of feelings is ludicrous.
And if you’ve gone one step further and started thanking your socks or anything else you own, you need to read this article too.
Copyright © Karen Kingston 2020
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