Having been listening to John Green a lot, and re-reading the Great Gatsby a few months ago, I keep thinking about the explanation of symbolism as 'enchanted objects.' Tonight is apparently World Book Night (Thanks, SourceFed), so I'm thinking about the weird sort of fetishization we have, culturally, for books.
I don't think it's a bad thing, by any stretch. But I do think that there are some weird qualities about it which I'd like to explore. Like, the idea of burning a book is, for most people, inherently repulsive. There are only a few other things like that -- burning flags, for example. Burning food is wasteful, but it's not grotesque in the same way as burning a book. The same, I think, with burning clothes, or furniture, or CDs.
It seems like there are a number of kinds of objects that have significance not just for their utility, but for their presence as an object. Books are one of them. For me, my watch is another. I think that cell phones are also commonly treated this way.
I have to wonder, is it entirely cultural, these feelings? Or are there qualities about the objects themselves -- are there certain types of objects that lend themselves toward feeling enchanted? Both a cell phone and a book are windows into deep emotional experience. Waiting for a phone call and anticipating the climax of a plot can feel quite similar, and I could see why they might lead to similar kinds of awe and respect for the objects that transmit that experience.
On the other hand, I don't often feel that way about my computer, and I personally haven't heard about that sort of attitude about e-readers or iPads. Then again, maybe I'm just not entirely in touch with those particular subsets of technology use. Maybe, to an owner, the Kindle does feel a little sacred.