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Thread: Rabbit holes

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Actually my choices are very limited. I have other priorities that prevent me from paying much for a pen. I prefer lever fill because I am able to restore and maintain them. Mine are used daily for work and personal use. Perhaps preferences are a type of choosing, but I don't labor over it like I would if I were offered Key Lime pie or Apple Crumb with ice cream.

    To date my most expensive pens were two 1942 "51"'s and an incoming Conway Stewart #84 from Deb. So, the 51 criteria was that they had to be second year. The color had to appeal. They had to able to be carried and used daily. The CS brand was chosen because of the Churchill connection. The green and gold appealed visually. The price even with the exchange from Scotland had to be under my limit. So, you can see that I have few choices.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Quote Originally Posted by SIR View Post
    Smartwool socks - longest lasting by a very long way, and all-round most comfortable socks I have ever used.
    They arenít particularly long lasting for me, theyíre often too warm and they donít always work with dress shoes.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Quote Originally Posted by guyy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SIR View Post
    Smartwool socks - longest lasting by a very long way, and all-round most comfortable socks I have ever used.
    They arenít particularly long lasting for me, theyíre often too warm and they donít always work with dress shoes.
    I line dry inside my wool sock. Also, I tend to not wash after one wearing, same with all my wools. Airing out works great to rid wool of unwanted odors.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    Actually my choices are very limited. I have other priorities that prevent me from paying much for a pen. I prefer lever fill because I am able to restore and maintain them. Mine are used daily for work and personal use. Perhaps preferences are a type of choosing, but I don't labor over it like I would if I were offered Key Lime pie or Apple Crumb with ice cream.

    To date my most expensive pens were two 1942 "51"'s and an incoming Conway Stewart #84 from Deb. So, the 51 criteria was that they had to be second year. The color had to appeal. They had to able to be carried and used daily. The CS brand was chosen because of the Churchill connection. The green and gold appealed visually. The price even with the exchange from Scotland had to be under my limit. So, you can see that I have few choices.

    I think we may be using the word 'choice' in slightly different ways here. For my part, the choice on offer is all available pens (to continue the hobby example), and within that context I will make decisions on how to narrow that selection. Obviously those decisions will be based on a number of factors such as price, areas of interest, and so on. The original set of choices though remains the same for all participants, with the corollary that it only does so before we apply our personal constraints.

    And touching on one particular point, if among the multitude of options there are pens that are outside one's budget (again for example) does that preclude looking at them and having thoughts that may lead to unhealthy emotions?
    The thing is, we're all pretty on edge at the moment. It would be great if people could be considerate of others in these matters. Not much else will change the situation beyond that. - Jon Szanto

    Why canít people read responses to glean the intent and ideas being offered, instead of focusing on things like tone, length and perceived agendas? - Jon Szanto

    Be a little more open into accepting other viewpoints, if you can, as it really deepens the experience. - Jon Szanto

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    Actually my choices are very limited. I have other priorities that prevent me from paying much for a pen. I prefer lever fill because I am able to restore and maintain them. Mine are used daily for work and personal use. Perhaps preferences are a type of choosing, but I don't labor over it like I would if I were offered Key Lime pie or Apple Crumb with ice cream.

    To date my most expensive pens were two 1942 "51"'s and an incoming Conway Stewart #84 from Deb. So, the 51 criteria was that they had to be second year. The color had to appeal. They had to able to be carried and used daily. The CS brand was chosen because of the Churchill connection. The green and gold appealed visually. The price even with the exchange from Scotland had to be under my limit. So, you can see that I have few choices.

    I think we may be using the word 'choice' in slightly different ways here. For my part, the choice on offer is all available pens (to continue the hobby example), and within that context I will make decisions on how to narrow that selection. Obviously those decisions will be based on a number of factors such as price, areas of interest, and so on. The original set of choices though remains the same for all participants, with the corollary that it only does so before we apply our personal constraints.

    And touching on one particular point, if among the multitude of options there are pens that are outside one's budget (again for example) does that preclude looking at them and having thoughts that may lead to unhealthy emotions?
    Perhaps we are, but after reading your reply, I am not convinced we are. Perhaps your premise in the OP is not true, or true generally and now you are offering a different definition.

    If I were faced with the choice between having a Parker 51 made circa early '40's in which I had to pay over my limit, there is no unhealthy emotions and primarily because I know there will most likely be options that fit into my criteria later. And secondly because I will have a good life sans a 51.

    Pens are a minor. Education, for example, for my grandchildren is a major. I am fine with going without an FP in order to provide tuition for a grand child. If I had to choose between two educational resources, I would provide due diligence and determine which best meets our needs. Again, no emotional unhealthy emotions. Plus, multiple educational resources keep tuition affordable.

    I guess I just don't agree that a wide range of choices necessarily lead to psychological distress.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Fair enough, and please understand I am in no way judging your choices or the path that leads to them. You seem pretty solid on how you make these acquisitional decisions; perhaps that makes you a bit unusual when compared to the general population? (in a good way of course)

    Taking the idea that a wide range of choices may lead psychological distress, do you think that may be possible when applied to the general population? Note that although this is miles outside my own area, as a person involved with academic human research I have a tendency to look at populations rather than individuals.
    The thing is, we're all pretty on edge at the moment. It would be great if people could be considerate of others in these matters. Not much else will change the situation beyond that. - Jon Szanto

    Why canít people read responses to glean the intent and ideas being offered, instead of focusing on things like tone, length and perceived agendas? - Jon Szanto

    Be a little more open into accepting other viewpoints, if you can, as it really deepens the experience. - Jon Szanto

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    I guess it's worth considering the difference between "choices" and "variety". When I went looking for a new fountain pen last month I didn't perceive a lot of choices. I don't think I'd gone looking for fountain pens before - certainly not on-line where the world is my store. Anyway, when I started looking, it was obvious that there were a lot of pens that looked the same. In fact, most of them. Those were immediately, even subconsciously, discarded or ignored. I really didn't even see them, any more than I would see socks and margarine when I was looking for a phone.

    I suspect that someone stressed by choices is seeing variety where there is none. Perhaps the result of training through TV and other advertising media. I'd suggest that there is a special psychology attached to that "choice" and it isn't caused by variety, but rather by anxiety deliberately instilled in them by those who want to sell. Don't forget that we live in a world saturated in sales psychology these days. To the point that even children (sadly) see the world and their actions and successes in terms of sales.

    PS: I may have an advantage in seeing this outside view of the world because I'm autistic and also I didn't grow up with commercial influences, and didn't (still don't) watch TV or give it any credence. Someone who grew up with it may be, at least slightly, blind to it.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Juul View Post
    I guess it's worth considering the difference between "choices" and "variety". When I went looking for a new fountain pen last month I didn't perceive a lot of choices. I don't think I'd gone looking for fountain pens before - certainly not on-line where the world is my store. Anyway, when I started looking, it was obvious that there were a lot of pens that looked the same. In fact, most of them. Those were immediately, even subconsciously, discarded or ignored. I really didn't even see them, any more than I would see socks and margarine when I was looking for a phone.

    I suspect that someone stressed by choices is seeing variety where there is none. Perhaps the result of training through TV and other advertising media. I'd suggest that there is a special psychology attached to that "choice" and it isn't caused by variety, but rather by anxiety deliberately instilled in them by those who want to sell. Don't forget that we live in a world saturated in sales psychology these days. To the point that even children (sadly) see the world and their actions and successes in terms of sales.

    PS: I may have an advantage in seeing this outside view of the world because I'm autistic and also I didn't grow up with commercial influences, and didn't (still don't) watch TV or give it any credence. Someone who grew up with it may be, at least slightly, blind to it.
    You make very valid points. We are saturated (in the media) with requests to see all these products as essentially and importantly different, and each company makes qualitative claims to the superiority of their products. And most of it is bullshit.

    All fountain pens are hand-held tubes that slowly leak ink through their feeds and along the underside of their nibs.

    The rest is window dressing.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Excellent point, Ole Juul. It is to this media-fed population that I think the premise applies. As before though, I was asking from a population perspective rather than an individual one. In that respect, and meaning no disrespect as this is only a statistical statement, you would be one of the outliers on the curve, and not representatvie of the majority. Your views though are still interesting and certainly valid, and appreciated by me.
    The thing is, we're all pretty on edge at the moment. It would be great if people could be considerate of others in these matters. Not much else will change the situation beyond that. - Jon Szanto

    Why canít people read responses to glean the intent and ideas being offered, instead of focusing on things like tone, length and perceived agendas? - Jon Szanto

    Be a little more open into accepting other viewpoints, if you can, as it really deepens the experience. - Jon Szanto

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Yeah, I'm comfortable being an outlier. hahaha I've always been.
    And besides I'm with you all the way in exploring this topic.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Fair enough, and please understand I am in no way judging your choices or the path that leads to them. You seem pretty solid on how you make these acquisitional decisions; perhaps that makes you a bit unusual when compared to the general population? (in a good way of course)

    Taking the idea that a wide range of choices may lead psychological distress, do you think that may be possible when applied to the general population? Note that although this is miles outside my own area, as a person involved with academic human research I have a tendency to look at populations rather than individuals.
    I do not think I am unusual. Just consider the reviews on web sites where we can find out other consumer's experiences with the items we need or want. Consider companies like Subaru where the project managers seek and adapt their product to what the consumer prefers.

    Also, I tend to appreciate and enjoy having access to media which allows me to research a product or service.

    While I am not dismissing that distress can exist, I do not agree that anyone is overstimulated by media unless they choose to be. Decisions like where to attend college, or where the decision is going to result in long term change, some or a lot of discomfort is natural.

    One should be able to walk back their decision making steps after the decision is made and feel good about their choices. The role of a good salesperson is to help their customers decide which steps are important from them by asking questions.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post

    While I am not dismissing that distress can exist, I do not agree that anyone is overstimulated by media unless they choose to be.
    This is not so true of children, who are being exposed to hundreds of advertisements per day because of their parents' behaviors and patterns. And all this while our brain is developing, our thought patterns are developing, and our relationship to the world is developing. You are granting the proto-consumer more independence, will-power, and decision-making autonomy than the marketing departments even think that they have. Hook 'em young! Consumerism and its yoke is more insidious than you appear to be making it (especially for those addicted to purchasing habits and with associating their sense of self-worth or community respect with how others view their consumerist status).
    Last edited by TSherbs; July 13th, 2020 at 05:23 PM.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    I guess I just cannot rationalize that sort of negativity toward our present opportunities/marketing or expect others to save us from our own lack of discipline or common sense.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    The original premise is not about whether our choices make us unhappy, but rather that being presented with too many choices leads to indecision and stress.
    The best way to avoid rabbit holes is to avoid the fields where the rabbits live.

    The fountain pen hobby is no different from any other. I took up photography, before I went back to fountain pens and the hobby is not so different - but n Photogrphy the marketing was more relentless.

    The media - whether it is the magazines or any other is paid for by advertising. So, many articles are commissioned to sell new kit. You can't be a serious photographer until you have X.... So, if you follow the media, readers are led on a perpetual path of purchasing new equipment in order to take better photographs.

    I came across a book of Henri-Cartier Bresson photographs. He is regarded by many photographers as a master of photography. His photography is black & white. When looking at a book of his photos, I had an epiphany. Even with his limited equipment, Bresson is regarded as a master. No-one says he's rubbish because he didn't take photographs using the latest kit. At this, I stopped buying photography magazines, bought a couple of books about taking photographs and read them. After 12 years, I've learnt how to take better photographs using the "out of date" kit I have - and no-one is complaining.

    Shakespeare wrote some of the greatest literature ever - and he didn't even have what we'd recognise as a pen. Homer did the same, and he couldn't even write because he was blind.

    I think it is very easy to get drawn into a cycle of accumulation in any hobby. The media drives new sales - that's their business. New products, that people buy, drive the businesses forward. Montblanc is still selling the MB146 and 149 - designs from the 40's and 50's. Compare that to the typewriter business. It's nearly impossible to buy a new typewriter, stencils and all the other kit that went with it because no-one buys them in sufficient numbers anymore. Getting an MB repaired is still possible. Getting a Linton typewriter repaired is very difficult.


    I think the question any hobbyist has to ask themselves is - What will this new piece of kit allow me to do, that I can't do now.

    With pens, we'd got different nib sizes, as well as Italic. flexible and Oblique nibs. Pretty pens can also inspire people to do more writing - but there's only so many pens one can use in a day.


    I find myself gravitating towards the same 5 or 6 pens all the time - which means I've got at least twenty pens that do not have much "value" in my collection - but I see myself as a writer rather than as a collector.

    Of course, it would be much easier if someone had said, "The only pen you need as a writer is a MB146 (or whatever)" I probably would have skipped half the purchases I had made. But wisdom comes from making mistakes.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    That's the problem, we don't come to the same conclusions. That's why they make different flavors of ice cream. It is not because ice cream makers are mean and want to harm your child.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    The original premise is not about whether our choices make us unhappy, but rather that being presented with too many choices leads to indecision and stress.
    The best way to avoid rabbit holes is to avoid the fields where the rabbits live.

    The fountain pen hobby is no different from any other. I took up photography, before I went back to fountain pens and the hobby is not so different - but n Photogrphy the marketing was more relentless.

    The media - whether it is the magazines or any other is paid for by advertising. So, many articles are commissioned to sell new kit. You can't be a serious photographer until you have X.... So, if you follow the media, readers are led on a perpetual path of purchasing new equipment in order to take better photographs.

    I came across a book of Henri-Cartier Bresson photographs. He is regarded by many photographers as a master of photography. His photography is black & white. When looking at a book of his photos, I had an epiphany. Even with his limited equipment, Bresson is regarded as a master. No-one says he's rubbish because he didn't take photographs using the latest kit. At this, I stopped buying photography magazines, bought a couple of books about taking photographs and read them. After 12 years, I've learnt how to take better photographs using the "out of date" kit I have - and no-one is complaining.

    Shakespeare wrote some of the greatest literature ever - and he didn't even have what we'd recognise as a pen. Homer did the same, and he couldn't even write because he was blind.

    I think it is very easy to get drawn into a cycle of accumulation in any hobby. The media drives new sales - that's their business. New products, that people buy, drive the businesses forward. Montblanc is still selling the MB146 and 149 - designs from the 40's and 50's. Compare that to the typewriter business. It's nearly impossible to buy a new typewriter, stencils and all the other kit that went with it because no-one buys them in sufficient numbers anymore. Getting an MB repaired is still possible. Getting a Linton typewriter repaired is very difficult.


    I think the question any hobbyist has to ask themselves is - What will this new piece of kit allow me to do, that I can't do now.

    With pens, we'd got different nib sizes, as well as Italic. flexible and Oblique nibs. Pretty pens can also inspire people to do more writing - but there's only so many pens one can use in a day.


    I find myself gravitating towards the same 5 or 6 pens all the time - which means I've got at least twenty pens that do not have much "value" in my collection - but I see myself as a writer rather than as a collector.

    Of course, it would be much easier if someone had said, "The only pen you need as a writer is a MB146 (or whatever)" I probably would have skipped half the purchases I had made. But wisdom comes from making mistakes.
    Bravo, Sandy

    You're 100% right about photography media. I've been interested in photography since I was about 10, so that's 60 years. The hype, the encouragement to get certain equipment hasn't changed. I can say that in the 1960's, 70's, and 80's, certain magazines were nothing but advertisements. "To take better pictures, you need so-and--so equipment. I found one magazine: Camera 35, that stressed technique and ideas. They're no longer around, but there are still some magazines that emphasize ideas, not products.
    Dan Kalish
    Fountain Pens: Pelikan Souveran M805, Waterman Expert II, Waterman Phileas, Stipula Splash, and Sheaffer Sagaris

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Magazines are often the worst, especially trade or hobby magazines: they exist to convey advertisements to readers, and manufacturers fill magazines with ads because they know they work, even below our consciousness. Another reason I am so anti-marketing is because of how the cosmetics, fashion, food, and health product industries preyed upon impressionable women to their detriment. The rise of the modern woman's magazines and the coincident rise of female eating disorders is a damning correlation in my estimation. These companies targeted female insecurities and exploited them to their advantage. Still do!

    Sent from my Moto E (4) using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    That's the problem, we don't come to the same conclusions. That's why they make different flavors of ice cream. It is not because ice cream makers are mean and want to harm your child.
    Fair enough. Ice cream flavors is a pretty safe choice. But the excess resources and packaging and waste produced and then dispersed into our rivers and soil just so humans can have the additional "choices" of many flavors has its own kind of "cost" to our environment (not to mention the dietary "cost" to the children growing up with it in their homes every night). The association we make between purchasing options and personal freedom or "happiness" is one that consumer product companies hope that we will never question deeply and which environmentalists wish we would question more sincerely every day.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    That's the problem, we don't come to the same conclusions. That's why they make different flavors of ice cream. It is not because ice cream makers are mean and want to harm your child.
    Fair enough. Ice cream flavors is a pretty safe choice. But the excess resources and packaging and waste produced and then dispersed into our rivers and soil just so humans can have the additional "choices" of many flavors has its own kind of "cost" to our environment (not to mention the dietary "cost" to the children growing up with it in their homes every night). The association we make between purchasing options and personal freedom or "happiness" is one that consumer product companies hope that we will never question deeply and which environmentalists wish we would question more sincerely every day.
    I am confused. The OP started the thread about himself having too many options and quoting someone who said, based on his research, that it causes stress. The OP is an adult and never mentioned children or packaging. You've introduced children and now excess packaging. How do you comments address the OP's opinion that too many fountain pens are available leading to stress?

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Because we are a rowdy bunch without authoritarian moderation?

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