Empty Room Theory: Mind Games

Empty spaces equates wealth. Large open rooms with Ming Vases. Do people really do this? Wide open lawns.


Space is a status symbol of being rich. In Thorstein Veblen’s The Theory of the Leisure Class he states “a fact is the lawn, or the close-cropped yard or park, which appeals to unaffectedly to the taste of the Western peoples … unquestionably has an element of sensuous beauty, simply as an object of apperception, and as such no doubt it appeals pretty directly to the eye of nearly all races and all classes” (133-134). If you think about this, it still seems to hold true today. I bet you could name several places or public parks. All that are all well manicured. This status symbol has yet to go out of style.

Speaking of style, Thorstein goes on that “This blending and confusion of the elements of expensiveness and of beauty is, perhaps, best exemplified in articles of dress and of household furniture” (131). Ever see the crazy things runway fashion models wear?


This is a picture from PARIS FASHION WEEK FALL 2014. That was from September 23 – Oct. 1, 2014. And I’m sure you have seen crazier. The point being that there is a link in social circles between “high-fashion” and display of wealth. People with little money don’t have time to wear things that might fall apart. Furthermore, much has to do with getting attention. Here’s looking at you pop star flavor of the month. They seem to be in a race to the bottom. No pun intended. Lookin’ at you @NICKIMINAJ.

And the furniture. Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) has a new show on HGTV called Ellen’s Design Challenge that she describes as “furniture-y”. The premise, if you care, “Ellen DeGeneres puts six designers to the test in a competition where they fashion amazing furniture creations.” As I am sure you have put together that rich people can and will spend money on bizarre furniture or in this case designer furniture. Which reminds me of my favorite piece of designer furniture: The Eames Lounge Chair.


One of these beauties will set you back $995 for a replica. And $3629 for the real deal from a Herman Miller dealer. I am taking donations.

Or you that’s too pricey for your rear-end, you could pick up a Harry Bertoia Bird Chair from a Knoll dealer for around $2000.

I’m not so much a fan of that one. But hey it might get you going. And this leads me to another line from The Theory of the Leisure Class . “The standard of living of any class, so far as concerns the element of conspicuous waste, is commonly as high as the earning capacity of the class will permit – with a constant tendency to go higher” (112). People who have more are looking to wastefully spend more. It only takes looking around at elite pro-athletes makings $10+ million a season to realize that money soon becomes a thing to get rid of frivolously.

In high school we read The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell. Which according to “dubious” sources “features a big-game hunter from New York who falls off a yacht and swims to an isolated island in the Caribbean where he is hunted by a Cossack aristocrat. The story is inspired by the big-game hunting safaris in Africa and South America that were particularly fashionable among wealthy Americans in the 1920s.” Why is everyone in academia always hatin’ on wikipedia?

So you are rich. You love to hunt. But animals just aren’t thrill enough to get you going anymore. What’s next? Humans of course. What could be better? Ever hear of a head-hunter? Why is the modern version so accepted? Shouldn’t you fear the guy that is after your talent? Unless you are one. Then teach me your ways. I’m kidding. I don’t care either way.

Which in a totally round about way brings me to my next point.

All places are the same.

What is the difference between a prison, a national park, a school, or city? The several geography classes I took would tell you about place as something like: “a particular position or point in space”. Sure. Or location which “generally implies a higher degree of certainty than place”.

It’s really all about your mind set.

I’ve been to several places and probably even more locations but I can’t help but think that the mind is not an object. It is not a physical entity but metaphysical. Thoughts and ideas are immaterial. And in a way, the way that we connect online, distance is gone.


Seth Godin touched on this in his blog recently explaining “The end of geography” as follows in it’s entirety:

Some of the most important inventions of the last hundred years:

Air conditioning–which made it possible to do productive work in any climate

Credit cards–which enabled transactions to take place at a distance

Television–which homogenized 150 world cultures into just a few

Federal Express and container ships–which made the transport of physical goods both dependable and insanely cheap

The internet–which moved information from one end of the world to the other as easily as across the room

Cell phones–which cut the wires

If you’re still betting on geography, on winning merely because you’re local, I hope you have a special case in mind.


So there you have it folks. Seth says geography is ended. Great! And for some reason I got a degree that studies World Geography, Human Geography, and various other geography related courses. Whatever.

Day 22 of Claudia’s book Become An Idea Machine.

Ten People That Made An Impact In My Life and Why:

In very particular order. (Not really).

1. Mrs. D. Philpot – My high school business teacher who taught me there is more to life than business.

2. Fyodor Dostoyevsky – You can’t read as many of his books as I have without having a impact on your internal dialogue. The “hypothesis that some people are naturally capable of such things, and even have the right to do them” and the resulting consequences will forever make one always think.

3. Ernest Hemingway – There is beauty in the details of life and Hemingway was a painter with words that created more.

4. James Altucher – Have you read anything by this guy? He has got to make you rethink life. If he does nothing else, he entertains. He let’s me know that there are others out there that are more than corporate drones.

5. C.S. Lewis – His children’s books were so impressive I’ve read them again as an adult. But besides his non-fiction works, his “Till We Have Faces” is my favorite. “But I think what really kept him cheerful was his inquisitiveness.”

6. Roger Wedel – Whose warning to “flee the pursuit of wealth” and to “seek humility” has not fallen on deaf ears.

7. Dale Carnegie – Who taught me “How To Stop Worrying And Start Living” and then “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.

8. Theodore Roosevelt – And his “doctrine of the strenuous life” and his love of adventure displayed in his participation in “The Rough Riders”.

9. My wonderful wife Sarah – She is like me in so many ways, yet fascinatingly different. Plus she makes me laugh.

10. My Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ – Ask me if you would like to know more about him.

““No man can be an exile if he remembers that all the world is one city,” and, “Everything is as good or bad as our opinion makes it.”” (Lewis, Till We Have Faces).


P.S. Want to know who influenced me the most?

I will give you a hint, one was James Altucher.

When reading Conspire To Inspire, you will find out why I chose to feature him along with eight other prominent people.

The story will tell how I discovered them, and why you should care.

Don’t believe me?

Find out for yourself by joining me to Conspire to Inspire.



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