Is kindness a luxury or a necessity?

Luxury is as different and similar as we are all

We asked seven people what luxury means to them. Consumption, Time or Excess? The result: Exactly that and yet something completely different.

Merle Grimme, 29, filmmaker

In my opinion there is no such thing as luxury. Rather, it is a word with no content. When luxury is defined as "wasteful," "unnecessary," or "expensive," it actually gets more complicated: every person seems to have a different definition of what is necessary and what is not necessary for our lives. Human life in itself is perhaps a luxury that planet earth has indulged in. To put it quite provocatively: the planet we live on could well be without us. Means: the human being is not really necessary.

In some parts of the world one could also ascribe to humans that they are wasteful due to their energy requirements and that they live this out at the expense of others, i.e. that it is costly. "My body is a luxury good" suddenly takes on a completely different meaning. That would be a very interesting thought. How would we move and behave on earth if we were aware every day that we were the earth's luxury good. Perhaps we would then endeavor every day to give our existence another raison d'être.

Bijan Kaffenberger, 28, politician

Luxury is a bit like eroticism. If erotic is what you can't see, then luxury is what you don't have. Whether material or immaterial, luxury represents a substantial desire for many. And like eroticism, luxury can also turn on. At least most of the people who are not asexual or aluxurious. Luxury is always something you indulge in yourself, and indulgence is currently very popular in our society. Especially with young people.

Luxury is always something you treat yourself to.

Everyone indulge themselves! Luxury is relative. Everyone treats themselves differently. So treat yourself too! In contrast to material values, the sum of experiences one can have in the world is infinite. For me, travel is a luxury, for example. In the past I hardly had any money for long and long journeys and now unfortunately I have hardly any time for it. Travel for three weeks twice a year. That would be a luxury.

And because I don't have time, the luxury list is getting longer and longer in places I still want to travel to: Kamchatka, Azores, Japan, La Réunion. The others treat themselves to travel, eat, laze around and I sit at home and write e-mails, texts or speeches. During the breaks, I like photos on Facebook and Instagram of how others indulge in luxury. You also have to be able to indulge.

Christine Ebner, 58, herbalist and educator

For me, luxury is when, despite a lot of work and many events around me, I find time to enjoy, relax, listen or be heard. For me, luxury means having my family, children and grandchildren close by. And even if time is sometimes short, I like to indulge myself in the luxury of preparing fresh and healthy food and eating together in peace at a nicely laid table. I see it as a luxury to have food at all.

I also find it a luxury that I only have to take a few steps to find myself either in the forest, by the stream or on a beautiful meadow. I enjoy the nature around me and can relax within a very short time. For me, luxury is also living in my own house or yard and having my own land that one can cultivate and care for and that feeds us. From time to time I indulge myself in the luxury of a concert, an author reading or an exhibition. And in the end it is also a luxury for me to be able to take the time to listen to others and thereby help them, but also to have someone who listens to me.

Lucia Schlesinger, 24, life artist with four part-time jobs

The body lotion with a wonderful scent of peat lavender, applied to the freshly showered skin, velvety soft and soothing - this is one of my favorite moments and for me luxury. Just as I only eat organic, Demeter-certified food if possible, despite a low income, I only use organic products for my body. They are very expensive compared to conventional ones, but my body is my home and I want to be good with myself. For me, sensual things can be a great luxury.

"A new book every month!"

Since the beginning of the year I've been treating myself to a new book every month - a luxurious reward and an investment in myself at the same time. Another thing that means luxury to me are flea markets and junk shops, where I buy furnishings that have been around for many years and thus have a story with them. I like to spend money on them because they beautify my home.

Perhaps the greatest luxury I have indulged in are two yoga trainings in Bali. Courses, workshops and the like, with which you can develop yourself further and acquire new skills, I find the most beautiful luxury.

Thomas Manegold, 49, author and media designer

From the outside, the life I lead is pure luxury: staring into a 4K monitor, my own washing machine, light in the refrigerator, the tendency to be overweight, running hot water, heating and shopping at Rewe. In addition, I have the luxury of working what I enjoy.

I have the luxury of working, which I enjoy.

By definition, however, luxury is exactly that bit of decadence that you don't have, that you would very much like to have and that which is not disgusting for you. In my case, it would be to have the money to renew the hardware and peripherals of four networked workstations at the same time, a chic restaurant business that was expanded according to my ideas, with a studio, with stage, light and sound system, offices, workshop, with fast WiFi and with an S-Bahn connection, without having to pay off bad neighbors and without having to pay off a loan.

But to guarantee my son a proper education, to spare him any indoctrination, is a total luxury. That my child doesn't have to pay money to be cared for to death. That I can afford my third party and my hearing aid from what I have honestly and honestly developed. And the final trip to Switzerland when the time finally comes.

Jonas Drechsel, 29, futurologist

Satisfaction is a luxury. So luxury can only be achieved if I like to live my everyday life. An everyday life that makes me shine. Luxury cannot be understood as a demarcation from everyday life that seeks to compensate for everyday dissatisfaction. My everyday luxury consists of a colorful mix of meaning, fun, play, social, physical and love. Luxury comes from within myself.

It is important to adapt the mix to the constantly changing self and the permanent change in my environment. Luxury demands focus on the essentials. I regained the taste explosion with a minimalism of candy. After three months without chocolate, I deliberately pinpoint these moments of pleasure - instead of consuming them on the side. Because enjoyment lives from the particularity. And what is luxury worth without pleasure?

"Reclaim a piece of freedom!"

Our environment is constantly constructing which path to follow in everyday life. It is important to regain a piece of freedom! Always question everyday life in terms of satisfaction. The basis can be five pillars: family, job, relationship, social environment and health. Dealing with these topics provides the ingredients for your individual luxury cocktail - just mix it!

Martin Hagemeyer, 39, author

More. Over it. That pushes my feeling of luxury, in every dimension. Once I was amazed because someone at the next table didn't order either espresso or ice cream, but both. I didn't know that was possible. Then I tried it myself. And it was luxury.

The perverse little treat: I'm probably lucky that this also works for me in micro format. In the Sultan's snack bar, I prove to the connoisseur and connoisseur when paying with a casual: “Oh, I'll take two pieces of baklava with me”, as if I had just ordered two camels, packed with jewelry. And in the old town a French fries "with Andalouse sauce" and, after a break that only delays the extra and dramatically intensifies: "... and another portion of jalapeños on top."

Something like that. Because I'm able to do it. For others, this probably only works with heated seats and a crocodile leather steering wheel. The privilege of the man of the world. And the other day I was at Woolworth's and was tempted to take one in English instead of a normal puzzle booklet for one euro, also one euro, because it makes sense, because seldom etc. What is the cost of the world, we say - both are tough.

Text: editorial office
Illustrations in the text: Luis Pinto for transform
Illustration in the title: Anja Barteld for transform