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Currency – free writing

If I accept the money, then I accept that they own me.

Maybe this is why I feel that art and commerce do not interact. My art is also my craft, so in seeking the sublime, there is likely to be a number of failures. We want that one perfect moment where the pieces all match and the team creates art, touches the divine, but even Michelangelo must have had a thousand paintings that were simply craft pieces.

So… take the money and run? I would charge nothing if it weren’t for my sense of stewardship. If I do not charge — at least, in this society — then they will infer that my craft is worth nothing. I agree, more or less. Art has no monetary value, as it is the most subjective of all. Tangentially, does that mean that only the most accessible of art is actually worth anything? For every person who loves DADA and DuChamp’s Fountain, there are an equal number, if not many more, detractors.

The artist is a not great creator—Duchamp went shopping at a plumbing store. The artwork is not a special object—it was mass-produced in a factory. The experience of art is not exciting and ennobling—at best it is puzzling and mostly leaves one with a sense of distaste. But over and above that, Duchamp did not select just any ready-made object to display. In selecting the urinal, his message was clear: Art is something you piss on.

Stephen Hicks

It is not universal that the Mona Lisa is a masterpiece, but the greater society has accepted it as true. Then, is critical analysis merely masturbation? How can anything have value in a society where value is determined by money?

My therapist wants to give me a prove-ectomy. He says that if I were not in the habit of having to prove worth, specifically my own, then happiness would be easier to come by. A carpenter charges time and materials, but the market sets those values. If we descend into granularity, we can see where certain materials cost a certain amount, but that is also due to profits from other companies. If a company provided free saws to lumber mills, and the government provided free land and labor for logging, knowing that in the end we all have paper and wood and homes, then… but, here we descend into communism. And we only have to wait before along comes Comrade Napoleon to exploit it all so he can sleep on sheets and drink milk all day.

But whence this greed? If we could tomorrow, establish this Marxist Utopia instantly, where no one had need for anything; if we could identify the outliers and give them the mental medicine they need to realize that their value is not to be found in a number or an expanse of holdings or the power they exert over others…

What else is there? Is there a point to life other than the proliferation of one’s own seed, one’s own legacy? Is it really true that the people in power are smart enough to know to keep the working classes down so that their power is unchallenged? Or are they merely products of a system set up by people who did know? I am suspicious of my own nostalgia that somehow people were more honorable in times past. At the very least, the corrupt had to take pains to conceal their deeds. Or was it ever thus?

I do not know from where this sense of honor springs, as I have been given no evidence but that humanity as a whole is a failed experiment.

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