Symbolism & Plastic Office Plants – the end of real?

I’m doing some training (NLP) in a meeting room and the cute plastic plant in the corner catches my attention. It looks good – too good, too healthy, too cared for for an office plant. And this gets me thinking – what is this plastic plant’s purpose? It sits there in the corner representing a real plant – but why? What is it symbolising to me? What is the plant experience I am having? And would my experience be different if it was real?

These questions lead me to wonder about experience itself – do we actually need ‘real’ to experience the experience that real represents?

An example – if all the lions and tigers died out today – were extinct all of a sudden – would it matter as long as we can have the experience of lions and tigers being alive via our tvs? Would our reality be any different if we chose not be bothered by the non-realness of the animals in the non-Sunday night tv world?

That is ( to bring it back to the plant), does the fakeness or realness of that plant in the room matter as long as I get my plant experience from it?

In some ways the digital transformation of our lives is similar. We now experience many previously ‘real’ experiences in digital versions. Books have become digital for example, and through the design (skeuomorphism) we are able to attach our previous real experience of books to the non-real digital version.

The question is – will ‘real’ no longer be a concept that is understood in the future? Will it just be different types of experience? A pre-digital and post-digital experience?

Will digital become the new norm for our experiences – and analog the non-real one?

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1 Comment

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One response to “Symbolism & Plastic Office Plants – the end of real?

  1. I think with office plants, it can be so difficult to tell the difference between real and fake ones that to the majority of employees, it doesn’t make a difference. It’s only the associated benefits we miss out on if they are fake.

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