I don't think a purchase of high-priced gear can be rationalized in any sort of financial sense. It is a matter of willingness and ability to pay for something that delivers a level of performance/satisfaction that one thinks is commensurate with that price. All of these variables -- level of satisfaction, ability to pay, willingness -- are entirely personal, making it hard to judge someone else's decision. I would love to have the financial capability to make all of those "stupid" choices others laugh at here.
There is plenty of gear, both high priced and more modestly priced, that, for my particular taste, is grossly inferior to other gear priced a lot lower. So what?
Sure, some gear is bought because of vanity, penchant for conspicuous consumption, etc. But, a lot of the highly coveted stuff that people pay big bucks for are NOT items with brand name appeal and cache -- even looking at some of this stuff should actually qualify one as crazy. Yet, such gear delivers some aspects of performance that is not easily obtainable from anything else, hence, the willingness to pay BIG bucks for such rarities. There is a local dealer in the Washington DC area that actually makes speaker systems. Most of the drivers used are more than 70 years old, and one particularly good horn driver can cost upward of $15,000. I've heard such system, and it is, for my taste and priorities, simply amazing. But, even if I could purchase such a system, I would never show it off; just the opposite, I would hide the fact of making such a "crazy" purchase.