Why I rarely change my razor blade
If you ask my wife, she might say it’s because I’m lazy. That’s correct. I’m also cheap. Razor blades work well enough for long periods of time. And more importantly, I like the rugged feel of it. Sure, the feel is just in my head and I realize this. But so what? Why do I like the feel of it? Well, let’s take a quick look at fake engine noise.
FAKE ENGINE NOISE
Some automakers enhance the aural experience of their vehicles by artificially enhancing the engine noise. For some trucks, it makes it feel more like how its buyers imagine a truck should feel. Google pointed me to this article titled America’s best-selling cars and trucks are built on lies: The rise of fake engine noise (The Washington Post, D. Harwell, 2015).
Why? The feel. It makes no difference to the performance of the vehicle, in fact the added space and weight of the enhancement probably makes the vehicle slightly less efficient and more expensive. If you hear car enthusiasts talk about cars they like, among other comments, they invariably something like, “Now that’s an engine. Listen to the roar.”
The same with my razor. I think I last changed the blade six months ago. Although I only use it once a week after I cut my hair. The rest of my time shaving, I prefer my electric razor.
I believe in so many ways that biology adequately explains psychology, that much of thinking and feeling remains heavily influenced by survival and reproduction.
In building on that, in Man’s Search for Meaning (1992, my copy), among countless other great points (I re-read this book every two years), Viktor Frankl uses the term noögenic or noö-dynamic to refer to the uniquely, specifically human dimension (pp. 106-111).
Beyond the instincts of the biological or the drives of the psychological, in the noölogical, we discuss the uniquely specific human search for something in life worthwhile, valuable, meaningful.
BACK TO MY DULL RAZOR
My razor isn’t yet butchering my face or head. It’s rough and somewhat loud in the way it scrapes the hair of my face and head. Yet, it aligns with how I imagine a man carries himself or should carry himself.
Long before super-sharp multi-blade razors hit the market, men used duller instruments to groom themselves. They worked a lot harder in general. Life asked them tougher questions, to endure greater hardships, and to like it.
A family asks of its men to lead the way, especially in times of difficulty or scarcity, and to make the most of what’s on hand. Dull razor? Not the best of tools? Oh fucking well. Make it happen. Man up. A slightly dull razor embodies some that same ruggedness one imagines in a real man.
That’s what a man does. He faces difficulty, challenge, scarcity with his shoulders back, chest wide, chin up, a deep, slow relaxed breath, and both the body and tools that reflect the reps he’s put in, his hard work, and as such his confidence, character, and sophistication.
Therefore, I’ll probably change my razor blade about once every nine months.
Makes sense? Of course not. It’s not supposed to, not in any logical way, but in the noölogical in that knowing the rational arguments for more frequently changing my razor blade, I still find it more meaningful to use a slightly dull blade.
RAZOR BLADES, LPs AND CDs, HD AND 4K
The same too with many other areas. I remember some movie with Nicolas Cage years (probably decades) ago in which, in one brief scene, his character argued in favor of the sound quality of vinyl or LP records versus that of the then-new compact disc (CD) format.
I remember it because one of my teachers in school made the same argument, and now there I was, watching it in a movie. Cage’s character argued that CDs store music in digital format, in binary 1s and 0s, whereas LPs store music more fluidly, and therefore deliver higher quality sound.
That might be true. But, how relevant is it to human perception? It isn’t. Our ears can’t notice the difference anymore than our naked eyeballs can see atoms.
I argue that at some point (maybe we’re there now), in the direction that TVs are going from SD to HD to Ultra HD (or 4K), it won’t make a difference to human perception. Eventually, our eyeballs won’t notice because eventually our eyeballs can’t notice. And so, the difference falls outside of human perception.
But does it fall outside of the human dimension? No, it doesn’t. It makes a difference to what it means to be human, in particular because some human being out there chooses it to be meaningful. It makes a difference because… well, just because.