Fifty Shades of Gold

If I had to point to one thing in our society as a root cause of Things Going Wrong, it would be this: that progressively since the 1960’s and definitively since Thatcher, we have put money first.  We no longer believe in any kind of transcendent reality; to us, what you see is what you get – in other words, your threescore years and ten (we’ll come back to this figure later).  Hence the fixation on targets and achievements: everything must be pinned down.  That, after all, is materialism: everything must be measured and if you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.

Measure out your life in coffee-spoons?

This life, so the current narrative goes, is the only one, so you’d better pack in as much as you can: achieve your potential, make lots of dosh, pay off the mortgage, drive a fast car, travel, see the sun, ski the slopes, compete, conquer illness and disease – and prolong, prolong, prolong again, as far as possible, your life-expectanion.  And so we become fixated on money,  because money is – or appears to be – tangible and real, so the argument goes: ‘money in the bank’ is something that won’t go away.*  We talk about the Midas touch, forgetting that the Midas story is a tragedy and the Midas touch a curse: we somehow fool ourselves that we can sidestep these ancient verities; that somehow with a hop and a skip and a jump in the value of our market shares, we can cheat tragedy and have it all, unto – and perhaps even beyond – death.

It’s not totally science fiction now, the idea of prolonging life beyond the threescore and ten that trips off the tongue, but I’m not sure I’d want to live for two hundred years even if I could.  That’s potentially 100 or more child-bearing years – and 1200 periods!  No thanks: the planet couldn’t sustain it, and neither could we.  We have a tendency to regard long life as an absolute good, whereas John Holt (I think it was he) pointed out that many old people just sit around in chairs beefing about what Aunty Nora said to Aunty Dora (I may be confusing it with Black Books there)…0.0…1ac.1.ZQe71o7r62A&has_verified=1

whereas people who die young often achieve the most remarkable things.  You know, Mozart and shit… So I can’t help thinking that everything has its natural span and that if you try to extend that, something else is bound to give.

I think the reverse of this can be seen with modern machines.  We have devices now that can do everything – except, it seems, to last for a reasonable period of time.  My Mum’s liquidiser lasted upwards of twenty years and all it did was liquidise, but now there are machines which will chop and peel, dice and slice, mix and blend, defrost, cook and all-but eat the food for you: there are vacuum cleaners that will steer round corners, sense dirt and pick it up, empty themselves, having first compressed and recycled the dirt into combustible bricks to use on your wood-burning stove, and reason with your children so that they no longer make a mess: but within a week of the guarantee running out you can be sure that one of these functions will go ping and that overall it will have a fraction of the life-expectancy that my Mum’s machine had.

And there’s the rub.  You can’t have everything in life.

And that’s today’s thought.

Kirk out

* Money is of course, as I have previously pointed out, not real.  It only stands for something real ie gold.  And we know what a fixation on gold can do to you…

2 thoughts on “Fifty Shades of Gold

  1. Interesting thoughts today. It was in the Thatcher era that they started putting the FTSE index on the news, nobody ever was interested in money markets before that, it was the first step on the slippery slope.
    I have a liquidizer that I have had for 25 years and still going and the telly that my daughter uses must be about 20 years old. I refuse to let Dunk replace the telly with a smart-assed flat screen thingy until it actually breaks!

    1. Quite agree about the telly. I’m glad someone still has an old liquidiser! yes, interesting point about the FTSE – now it seems people need to know it like the weather!


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