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Old 25th-February-2009, 06:08 AM   Eric's time 25th-February-2009, 01:08 AM    #1
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Default Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

This has been bothering me for a long time: why do people decorate things? This first occurred to me in a coherent form when I was in a coffee shop and saw a woman who had wrapped her Mac notebook in floral decals. I couldn't see why anyone would do that. Why should a computer look like flowers? It's a computer. It's not a bouquet. If you want to customize your computer, open it up and put in more RAM. I just couldn't see what she was trying to accomplish.

However, the idea of decoration has been annoying me for years. I mean any sort of decoration: jewelry, colorful clothing, decals, tattoos, pictures, wallpaper or painting. Painting over brick, concrete, or stone really annoys me, since stone doesn't rot and doesn't need paint.

I can almost forgive pillars that don't actually support the building for banks or government buildings, since they have a kind of propaganda purpose.

However, pointless decoration (jewelry and religion) is an indicator of humanity in anthropology and archeology. It seems that our most pointless activities identify us as human.

In my apartment, my walls look like walls, and putting a picture of flowers on them is not likely to improve my quality of life any more than putting picture of flames on the side of my car will make it run faster. I cannot understand why people like to make things look like things they are not.

Is this an INTP characteristic, or is this something on the ASP/Autistic spectrum?
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Old 25th-February-2009, 06:13 AM   FacetiousPersona's time 25th-February-2009, 06:13 AM    #2
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

People enjoy the sentiment that these additions bring to their objects, essentially. The decoration may have symbols that represent their character or belief- which leads to the object becoming personified towards them as an individual. People will identify the object as the individual's for these unique features and know the reasons.

Also, individuals perceive objects through feelings and will judge the quality of them with their senses via a preference system. People enjoy to impress other people or manipulate people's senses into perceiving their possessions positively. Why? These objects are associated with the owner- becoming regarded as an aspect of the the owner. The owner is judged through the object, for it is reflecting them as an individual. The owner wants to be judged well instead of poorly, of course, and will improve their decorations to ensure it. There are other reasons for decoration obviously, but these are common ones.
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Old 25th-February-2009, 06:19 AM   Artifice Orisit's time 25th-February-2009, 05:19 PM    #3
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

I suppose it ties into the concept of externalised identities; people express themselves through decoration as a means of advertising who they are.

To an "E" type the visual expression of identity is very important as the concept of "self" extends over their body and their closest possessions.

Likewise an "F" type is likely to decorate themselves or their property as a means of enriching its inherent identity; to them an object like a computer can be seen to have wants, ills, feelings and even possibly, thoughts. Pure sentimentalism in the absence of high AI.

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Old 25th-February-2009, 06:42 AM   Eric's time 25th-February-2009, 01:42 AM    #4
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

If the person already has the feeling, which he or she must already have, since it is the motive for decoration, then the decoration is unnecessary unless the person either has a poor memory or a need to communicate the feeling to others. I mean, the sentiment proceeds the marker of the sentiment. It has to; otherwise, it is a signifier without a signified.

So does this go back to the propaganda purpose or am I really missing something?

And for that matter, is putting pictures of a rose garden on your wall or computer going to impress anyone? To me, it would just indicate the lack of a real rose garden. How does buying a mass-produced decal for your computer define you as an individual?

I'm not trying to be difficult. I can see people doing the things you say for the reasons you say, but they don't seem like very good reasons.
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Old 25th-February-2009, 06:49 AM   FacetiousPersona's time 25th-February-2009, 06:49 AM    #5
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

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If the person already has the feeling, which he or she must already have, since it is the motive for decoration, then the decoration is unnecessary unless the person either has a poor memory or a need to communicate the feeling to others. I mean, the sentiment proceeds the marker of the sentiment. It has to; otherwise, it is a signifier without a signified.

So does this go back to the propaganda purpose or am I really missing something?

And for that matter, is putting pictures of a rose garden on your wall or computer going to impress anyone? To me, it would just indicate the lack of a real rose garden. How does buying a mass-produced decal for your computer define you as an individual?

I'm not trying to be difficult. I can see people doing the things you say for the reasons you say, but they don't seem like very good reasons.
They are reasons to them as individuals. If we all had similar reasons or identical ones, our individuality would be less, and it is our individuality which defines us.

The rose garden only has to influence their perception subtly positively- not necessarily impress them. This is the purpose of it. People have reasons as humans. Not everyone's reasons are very logical and good. We would surrender an element of our humanity as we know it to cease being subjective and sentimental with our approach to objects.
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Old 25th-February-2009, 06:57 AM   Artifice Orisit's time 25th-February-2009, 05:57 PM    #6
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

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I'm not trying to be difficult. I can see people doing the things you say for the reasons you say, but they don't seem like very good reasons.
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Old 25th-February-2009, 07:07 AM   Eric's time 25th-February-2009, 02:07 AM    #7
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?in the title of my post.

Thanks to both of you.

Cognisant, your description of the F personality trait sounded a lot like sympathetic magic and animism. I guess that answers the second question in the title of my post. I figured the two were connected.
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Old 25th-February-2009, 07:32 AM   Ghost1986's time 25th-February-2009, 01:32 PM    #8
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

same as a dog pissing on a tree to mark its territory.
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Old 25th-February-2009, 10:19 AM   QSR's time 25th-February-2009, 03:19 AM    #9
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

meh.. seems like somebody is trying to poison the well

This is just for you, Eric:

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Old 25th-February-2009, 10:33 AM   Kuu's time 25th-February-2009, 04:33 AM    #10
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

Yeah, I agree with pretty much all that has been said. A large majority of people have a necessity to customize things, in order to "own them". Not just the computer's ram, but it's appearance too. You cannot deny that computers have an appearance. And some people are just not satisfied with it. That's a very personal thing.... More externally, they mostly do it for the symbolism, expressing themselves to others. Symbols are intrinsic to human society.

Though I have pondered the very core of why some people just need to fill every single blank space with decor. My best response is Horror Vacui.


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However, the idea of decoration has been annoying me for years. I mean any sort of decoration: jewelry, colorful clothing,
Colorful clothing... What is it with most Ts and a dislike of color? I see it being brought up quite constantly. And its funny considering that a lot of NTs have strong artistic leanings. ...

What's so wrong with color? I just cannot get it. Color is functional. Color can be used rationally. It is a fact that specific colors produce specific moods in people. Color has symbolic potential; color brings back associations rather common to all humans, and is a language that can be used to communicate ideas, or to manipulate if one so desires. Color is a fact of everyday life, and rationals should accept it and understand it and learn to use it to their advantage, instead of pretending like its useless and it doesn't matter at all. Stop being in denial!

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decals, tattoos, pictures, wallpaper or painting. Painting over brick, concrete, or stone really annoys me, since stone doesn't rot and doesn't need paint.
You need to read up on 19th and early 20th century architectural theory. Several decades of debate over decoration vs strict functionality, both in buildings and everyday use industrial objects (People don't get as much art history as they should. There's a lot of bullshit thrown around as theory, but there's also sensible, legitimate stuff. If you really, really want to read up on this, I can recommend some bibliography.) (Is obsessed with architectural theory).

Basically, one of modern architecture's tenets is "truth to materials". Both in their appearance, and in their structural characteristics. Personally I agree with this, and I truly despise when brick, concrete, or stone is painted over, or when concrete or steel structures are covered up with stones, when the stones are not really carrying any load. And I generally despise wallpaper and painting over plaster walls.

But other materials need protective coatings (steel) or gain very expressive colors on the process of their manufacturing (plastics) and in this sense, the "honest" use of these materials is to take their color potential to the maximum.

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I can almost forgive pillars that don't actually support the building for banks or government buildings, since they have a kind of propaganda purpose.
With that same rationale, you could argue positively for pretty much everything else you have dismissed. (Which is precisely what postmodern architecture attempted: reconsider the importance of decoration as symbols essential to human societies) They all can and usually have propaganda (symbolic) functions:
the use of colors (brand or national identity, color coding like traffic lights, or taxis...), tatoos (group belonging), jewelry ( = power, money)....

Quote:
In my apartment, my walls look like walls, and putting a picture of flowers on them is not likely to improve my quality of life any more than putting picture of flames on the side of my car will make it run faster. I cannot understand why people like to make things look like things they are not.
I agree on the car stuff, but buildings are on a completely different category than cars. You spend perhaps 90% of your life inside buildings, not looking at cars. So I entirely disagree on that. Refer back to color. If done correctly, putting a picture, or a color on a wall, or changing the lighting, or playing music can measurably and reliably alter your perception of space/ambience and your moods == your quality of life. For better OR worse.

In fact, changing the color of a wall also alters its light reflectance, or thermal absorption, and thus also affects the light balance and your thermal comfort.

(Would you consider "music" to be decoration? Is it not an attempt to hide the "real music" of a place, it's natural soundscape, or lack thereof, with something "false"? Do you think this is acceptable, or repulsive?)

(And what say you about installations. Electrical wiring, plumbing, A/C ducts. They are essential to the use of contemporary buildings and yet they are usually hidden. Is this not denying the actual functioning of the building, similar to hiding the structure? Should these installations be left apparent?)




IMO people need to be better educated on the history of design, both industrial and architectural, or they will never be capable of effectively understanding and criticizing their own present, and where they should head in the future. Of course, we live in an age of much confusion and uncertainty, and sadly, for the last 20 years the vast majority of the work done in architecture and industrial design is utter shit... a big part due to rampant consumerism, but also allowed and made possible by the bad education and lack of responsibility in the designers themselves... darned age of mediocrity!

I'd keep on ranting but it's 3.30 am and I need to wake up at 6.... :(
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Old 25th-February-2009, 03:52 PM   FacetiousPersona's time 25th-February-2009, 03:52 PM    #11
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

I would much prefer to be in a brightly painted room with pictures of cute animals on the walls instead of dull room with nothing.
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Old 27th-February-2009, 04:21 AM   Fedayeen's time 26th-February-2009, 08:21 PM    #12
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

I decorate my walls with stuff because I hate white, it gives me a headache looking at it. So I cover it up. Also the things I cover my walls up with things that I got for free, either given or came free with something. I also pin all my video game cases to the wall since I use a cd holder for all the games they just create clutter on my wall they are out of the way.
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Old 27th-February-2009, 04:48 AM   Oblivious's time 27th-February-2009, 12:48 PM    #13
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

Well I have World of Warcraft figurines posing epically on my PC table, forever locked in frozen combat. At my window sill just to the left of my desk are revoltech figurines of saber and dark saber (FSN) about to unleash hell on each other as Ayanami Rei watches on. A black winged silver haired angel dressed in victorian lady's wear named Suigintou sits on my monitor smirking at anything I do in front of my computer.

These figurines do not by my possession of them in any way affect my in game characters in World of Warcraft, giving them stat bonuses or even aesthetic upgrades, nor do they unlock alternate storypaths in Fate/Stay Night, as they are wont to do if life was a real video game. They just make my computer desk look insanely awesome.

I can go to my computer desk and say: "This is my computer desk."

No one really visits my room other than my family so I do not really care or plan for having other people react positively to my personal space that I have decorated for myself and myself alone.

Perhaps its just an expression of individuality that I do not require anyone to appreciate. Perhaps its just a collection of trinkets that serves as a reminder to notable concepts that have entertained me in a particular way. I guess its just fun...?
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Old 27th-February-2009, 05:23 AM   Ermine's time 26th-February-2009, 10:23 PM    #14
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric View Post
This has been bothering me for a long time: why do people decorate things? This first occurred to me in a coherent form when I was in a coffee shop and saw a woman who had wrapped her Mac notebook in floral decals. I couldn't see why anyone would do that. Why should a computer look like flowers? It's a computer. It's not a bouquet. If you want to customize your computer, open it up and put in more RAM. I just couldn't see what she was trying to accomplish.

However, the idea of decoration has been annoying me for years. I mean any sort of decoration: jewelry, colorful clothing, decals, tattoos, pictures, wallpaper or painting. Painting over brick, concrete, or stone really annoys me, since stone doesn't rot and doesn't need paint.

I can almost forgive pillars that don't actually support the building for banks or government buildings, since they have a kind of propaganda purpose.

However, pointless decoration (jewelry and religion) is an indicator of humanity in anthropology and archeology. It seems that our most pointless activities identify us as human.

In my apartment, my walls look like walls, and putting a picture of flowers on them is not likely to improve my quality of life any more than putting picture of flames on the side of my car will make it run faster. I cannot understand why people like to make things look like things they are not.

Is this an INTP characteristic, or is this something on the ASP/Autistic spectrum?
Decals annoy me too. Especially when they're on things like cars, laptops, etc. They shouldn't need that kind of decoration if the design of the product is successful. Same goes for tatoos. The human form is more beautiful without tatoos because the design is successful.

However, from what I understand, people like to decorate for the sake of "atmosphere". Certain colors and designs make can alter their moods. In the case of the woman with the laptop, she most likely put on the flower decals because the color and sight of flowers make her happy, and it alters the mood she's in when using her laptop. If I were her, I would just put a flower wallpaper on my desktop, but whatever... It kind of reminds me of my grandma who hangs quilts and embroideries with sentimental messages everywhere on the walls. It both alters her mood and expresses herself to anyone who comes to her home.

Coming from a person who is strongly INTP and an advocate of aesthetics, atmosphere is very important to have in whatever place you call "home", including your house, clothes, important possessions, etc. I like to be surrounded by different colors, designs, and things because they alter my mood. That being said, I like my decoration to be fairly utilitarian. I don't like having cute doodads on the shelf, or cheap kitschy pictures of things on the wall. I prefer colored walls, unique furniture, aesthetically valuable art, something I can fully appreciate or use. Same goes for my clothes, even my crazy rainbow colored scarf.

And could you tell me what you think of art? Is it in the decoration category, or does it depend on the form and quality of the art? And how does religion fit into this topic to you?
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Old 27th-February-2009, 03:32 PM   Fedayeen's time 27th-February-2009, 07:32 AM    #15
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

This topic made me realize something. My desktop background is just solid grey. Something happened, and it lost the image used for the default image, so now it is just grey.

Also on a side note for some reason my spell checker is telling me a spelled grey wrong. I need to capitalize the G. Since when are colors proper nouns?
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Old 27th-February-2009, 04:24 PM   dwags222's time 27th-February-2009, 09:24 AM    #16
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

honestly some decoration, ignoring all tacky decoration, may arise out of a certain aesthetic importance which some people seem to have and others seem to lack.

personally, my room is completely undecorated, but if i had the money/time i wouldn't mind painting the walls and adding some color/style to it. i also have a tatoo, and wear colorful clothing much more often now than i did earlier in life, though i do avoid bright clothing for the most part.

the idea of aesthetics being more important to some reminds me of ennegram typing. i used to think i was a four, and fours have a strong aesthetic sense, but now i think i am a five with a four wing.
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Old 27th-February-2009, 11:36 PM   pathetically-lovely's time 27th-February-2009, 06:36 PM    #17
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

It's a personal thing. To decorate your Mac notebook with flowers will not change anything it in, but it will give you -- or that lady, I guess -- a sense of ownership despite the fact she actually owns it. Sometimes people decorate things to show some aspect of their personality. Or they're too bored with the same old, same old. While flowers on a computer would make me gag, it could spark a nice conversation with some other flower lover. Same deal with clothes. If you buy a blue T-shirt with the word "Sassy" on it, you're going to get some kind of feedback on it, be it negative or positive. Decorating things, I guess, is a sort of communication and a very subtle way to make friends or acquaintances.
Decorations do annoy me, to an extent. I don't see the point in painting a room, but I do like the idea of getting a tattoo someday. I'm not sure if it's some INTP thing or not.
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Old 28th-February-2009, 12:42 AM   travelnjones's time 27th-February-2009, 04:42 PM    #18
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

Read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle much of the books discussion of quality and the different sorts of people seems to be directed at this question.

But on a personal note im sort of crazy and heated up a coat hanger with a lighter and did some crazy stuff to my arm. It was more about the experience. I wrote something talking about it years ago http://crescentstar.blogspot.com/200...cent-star.html
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Old 28th-February-2009, 01:01 AM   QSR's time 27th-February-2009, 06:01 PM    #19
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I don't have anything against decorating, but I'd never get around to doing it. I don't put stickers on my macbook because I'm worried about getting them off and trying to sell it. Besides I don't always want to advertise to everyone else how I think.

I do have like 2 stickers on my car, one political, and one for my college team.
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Old 28th-February-2009, 02:12 AM   MattSeven's time 27th-February-2009, 09:12 PM    #20
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

Creativity is a gift given to some. Most INTP's I know are more art critic than Artist. Trying to understand WHY an artist is not a critic is incomprehensible to the critic.
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Old 28th-February-2009, 02:25 AM   FacetiousPersona's time 28th-February-2009, 02:25 AM    #21
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

There is a belief which postulates the placement of objects and nature of them influences the environment around them significantly.
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Old 28th-February-2009, 09:43 AM   dwags222's time 28th-February-2009, 02:43 AM    #22
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

isn't that called feung sheui (sp?) or something like that?
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Old 28th-February-2009, 04:55 PM   Ermine's time 28th-February-2009, 09:55 AM    #23
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

Feng Shui is one way to accomplish that, but any form of interior design will do that.
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Old 3rd-April-2009, 05:11 AM   Duragg84's time 2nd-April-2009, 09:11 PM    #24
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Quote:
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People enjoy the sentiment that these additions bring to their objects, essentially. The decoration may have symbols that represent their character or belief- which leads to the object becoming personified towards them as an individual. People will identify the object as the individual's for these unique features and know the reasons.

Also, individuals perceive objects through feelings and will judge the quality of them with their senses via a preference system. People enjoy to impress other people or manipulate people's senses into perceiving their possessions positively. Why? These objects are associated with the owner- becoming regarded as an aspect of the the owner. The owner is judged through the object, for it is reflecting them as an individual. The owner wants to be judged well instead of poorly, of course, and will improve their decorations to ensure it. There are other reasons for decoration obviously, but these are common ones.
Well put I must say
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Old 3rd-April-2009, 08:15 AM   Waterstiller's time 3rd-April-2009, 12:16 AM    #25
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

I like decorating. It's nice to have your living space be a reflection of the person you are. I like waking up to my favorite colors and in general being reminded of the things I love when looking around my room. Putting a little bit of myself into my room somehow makes me feel a little more real. My next little project is to print some of my favorite quotes on the outside of my bookshelf. ^_^

I didn't always have this mindset. People used to tell my that my room looked like a hotel room or like nobody was living there. After watching a couple episodes of How Clean is Your House and Queer Eye, I started caring a little bit more about structuring my environment outside of my pc desktop. It also takes a little bit of the anxiety out of having a guest over; people universally seem to more comfortable in something that doesn't feel a storage room.
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Old 3rd-April-2009, 08:56 AM   secretsmile's time 3rd-April-2009, 03:56 AM    #26
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

I'm surprised an INTP would not understand the need to decorate.

My husband might not put a cheesy case on his cell phone, but he insists on doing something to it to make it look like "his own." It doesn't have to be pretty, it just has to be different. We haven't lived together yet as he is in Iraq, but I know he is neat and tidy and prefers a room to be laid out in such a way to promote tranquility and a nice aesthetic.

Anyway, I think white walls are the dreariest thing ever. My room is a calm sage green. A nicely decorated room feels cleaner and and more comfortable, IMO. I like ambience. For instance, I think a married couple's bedroom with the right decor can promote passion.
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Old 4th-April-2009, 05:13 AM   zephryi's time 4th-April-2009, 12:13 AM    #27
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Default Re: Why do people decorate? Why do they worship?

A bit obliquely on the topic, but with all the redecorating I do, I think this may be relevant. I've had my room at two opposite ends of the spectrum- at one point I had a bamboo rug, a low lying table, and my computer on a tiny makeshift platform in my room with everything else, including bedding, shoved into my closet. On the other hand, after I became interested in Japanese fashion, I fixed it up to be more rococo, with a bunch of nicky-nack things like teacups and table covers and the like.

Both layouts were very comforting to me; the first made the room feel so open, was very easy to clean, and was simply relaxing due to the complete lack of clutter that occupies the rest of the house. I could focus on what I was doing. However, it was a major worry to my guardians, and friends that came into my room were always rather uneasy- I strongly agree with the opinion that a decorated room puts people at ease!

The other layout's little details, the sheer femininity and prettiness appealed strongly to my aesthetic sense, and it was a way of expressing my interests as well as simply having fun with coordinating. It was also comfortable for other people to be in because it looked like it was inhabited by a person. However, I found that it was difficult to keep up, and if I was feeling rather tired or overstimulated, I wanted to bulldoze all the trinkets from my room.

So, conclusion? Decoration is an effective way to express yourself to others and affect yours and others' mood. I also think it has an impact on the way you interact with the room or object; when my room was practically empty, I spent most of my time on the computer, while when it was decked out to be more luxurious, I spent more time relaxing and reading on my bed. Plus, obviously, if it's affecting your comfort level, you're going to be spending different amounts of time in the room and therefore pursuing different activities.

...in short, I agree with most of what was said, but wanted to add an actual example to support the points in relation to the room decoration bit. Sorry if this is a bit incoherent- it's definitely bedtime. XD
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