What Is It Like To Own A Nest Thermometer?
“It’s pretty satisfying. The more basic functionality is actually the most appealing. Twisting to change the temperature is more compelling and lighter weight than the standard thermostats, so I do that more often than before…”
I found this fascinating, and I don’t yet have the proper words to describe everything that needs to be said about it. Go back for a moment and notice anew the words you saw but didn’t feel the need to consider. Let me remind you what’s happening here: the temperature of your house is being adjusted. You feel a chill; your wife has asked you to make it cooler; the oven, while it makes the house smell delicious as it roasts that leg of lamb, has made it too warm for you. And so you adjust the temperature, or so you used to.
Now, return to the account: “It’s pretty satisfying…twisting to change the temperature is more compelling.” You’re no longer adjusting the temperature. We no longer live in a time where the temperature of the room, and your own discomfort, causes you to move, no longer in a space where your physical reaction to heat and cool is an authority to which you respond. Instead we’ve entered a period where one is compelled by the action of the adjustment. Where once we twisted a dial in order to affect a purpose, now we simply twist; there is no to, the twisting itself is what we’re doing. And we are satisfied by this movement. That there is a newly cooled or warmed room is hardly worth considering.
At this point it’s safe to say that you’re no longer a person in the room. It’s more correct to refer to you in relation to your action, in relation to this device: you’re a user. Talking about temperature is probably less appropriate than to speak of your temperament. The fulfillment of your needs, your satisfaction, is no longer bodily, the force and authority to which you respond, which compels you, is now aesthetic, industrial, commercial, neurotic…”so I do that more often than before.”