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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Value In Abundance

Grace Slick - (i) inspired by photo by Joseph Sia"No man is an island. He's a peninsula."

A line from a song on Jefferson Airplane's "After Bathing At Baxter's", one of my favorite albums, jibes with my view of Life. We're all part of it. Life explores itself in creation by individuating into individual beings. Each with a purpose as part of the whole. With free will, we can apparently muck up that purpose, but I'm not entirely sure that's not part of the plan as well.

So, all Life, all beings are precious. Whether we were created to find the question to the answer "42" or not, we all are vital. Vital is a good word, relating to that which is necessary and that which is alive. All alive, all necessary.

My question of late to the void has been why, then, is scarcity prized? The rarer, the more expensive. Supply and demand. Why is this the system?

I'm thinking before the creation of the capitalistic way of doing things, a goat was worth what a goat was worth. That worth being determined by usefulness. In barter, I suppose need played a part in what one was willing to exchange for said goat, but quality meant more than quantity. Substance over salesmanship.

I think we've lost sight of substance, buried underneath the commercialism of our society. Solely based upon quantity of a commodity, substance is passed back and forth while at the same time being passed over by attention. Collectors don't value things based upon use, but based upon how few there are. This seems to spread to people on occasion, frighteningly, as groups are reduced to numbers for statistical analysis which is then relied upon for individual action. No wonder people feel alone, exploited, flattened. You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.

When the economic and possibly the social system is in crisis, the creative can dig out from underneath the complications of market value. This applies to everything made. What is real matters again. True value can be recognized, and in abundance. Preserving quality, quantity can be increased without fear of disconnection. Use, both practical and spiritual, food for the body and soul, will determine value.

I hope this happens. Humanity would do better, I think. We would work together to create value, rather than work against to horde. Value is not a zero sum game. Along with Life, it is boundless.

Remember that the peninsula is attached to the mainland.


SOLD - Grace Slick 01/21/09


Sonia Simone said...

I actually think it's innate. My little boy (he's 3.5) has that same love of the scarce. He has a whole box of markers in every color he loves, but his most prized one is the lone yellow highlighter he coaxed out of me. Maybe the love of rarity is about wanting what's harder to get? Maybe it's our monkey love of novelty?

It seems to me that every era, even the prehistoric, had ways for people to spend excess wealth. Wealth for prehistoric people might have been a necklace of the rare blue beads rather than those common old brown ones. We display status as consistently and proudly as birds flashing their feathers to find a mate.

And as for me, I can't deny that I value Tom Waits fans more than I do Britney Spears ones. :)

CoCreatr said...

Ever so subtly making the point, Daniel, like the diamond stylus caressing the groove to elicit the music: "You don't what you've got 'til it's gone."

Now that we "know" the peninsula is attached to the mainland, what would be the ocean?

d.edlen said...

Great commments!

@soniasimone - I remember loving the special individual thing too. It wasn't because it was rare, like I had the only one. It was because it was unique, different. Also it was special when its story was special. Your son got that marker from you differently. He recognized the value you'd placed on it.

As far as status, that's related to earned worth, not rarity. Yes, they used items that were more scarce, but their value was not in that, but their symbolism. That's gotten trivialized as commercialism obscured the work put into earning the status, losing the substance.

@CoCreatr - Good question! I think the ocean would be the space in the universe useful for individuals relating to individuals. As the Tao Te Ching discusses, it is the space inside the cup that is useful, not the cup.