Define: Unitary Packaging
Lately I’ve been thinking about “unitary packaging.” Although, I can’t seem to find any definitive definition for that term.
Some people use it to describe a multi-pack of smaller packages. A six-pack carton of beer or soda, for example. Or the two-pack milk cartons we were looking at in an earlier post.
But people also describe packaging whose contents are only potentially separable as “unitary.” (A plastic wrapped head of cabbage, for example.) And in some cases a “unitary package” might only contain another single package. A bottle in a blister pack, for example.
Right now, I’m more interested in the “multi-pack” definition.
“unitary packaging” as metaphor
It’s this “multi-pack” definition that I have in mind when I tell you that “unitary packaging” is a good metaphor for each of us.
Crazy? In a world where men are “barrel chested” and women have “Coke bottle figures,” we’re already using packaging terms to describe our bodies. Likewise, some of our body parts have been given packaging-related names. (bags-under-your-eyes, six pack abs, “Get off your can,” her box, his package, etc.)
So what does it mean when we say that someone is “the whole package,” if not a collection of multiple parts? And since none of us is ever really just one thing, I think a unitary multi-pack is a much more apt metaphor for what we are. And (2 out of 3) novelists seem to agree with me. [Photo of Salmon Rushdie, via: American Booksellers Association]
…many of the characters in the novel [The Satanic Verses] are for a long time not really unitary selves, they’re just collections of selves. They’re kind of masks, they put on this or that role, and they can change very dramatically. And I think that’s also true about people, that we are not unitary selves, we are a kind of bag of selves, which we draw out from; we become this or that self in different circumstances.
“…the complete package of selves within each and everyone of us, a poorly coordinated and poorly chosen squadron of idiots, each with its own myopic drives…”
In Search of Destiny, 2008
Étienne de L’Amour
Of course, I haven’t actually read either of these books. But still, even out of context, I think these quotes are good proof-of-concept for the validity of the metaphor. But wait, there’s more! … [Read more…]