I resonate with all of this and the thing I’ll add is that I agree that a ‘battle scar due to negligence’ is unforgivable, as with any good tool, but, a ‘battle scar due to worksmanship’ is to me totally acceptable. I buy affordable guitars because to me, in my genre of music, looping a delay into a fuzz and dropping your guitar on the ground is one of the most satisfying uses of my tool.It's a tool…
Which creates art and is a form of expression which may move somebody other than myself. For me, it's an escape. Suppose I have two hours to kill alone -- what would I do? On most days, I would use that time to play some music. I handle them all with care but they all have at least minor signs of use and I don't worry too much about that. Some have small dings or chips but I am cautious enough that a lot of my gear is in great condition for its age. I've done some debatably abusive things live, in the moment. For the most part, I am very reluctant to let other people use my gear because I fear they haven't learned how to handle nice instruments with care. To me, "battle scars" due to negligence is undesirable.