Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Let’s take money as another example. Currency has names that are common enough to call “reality” for the purposes of this discussion. If someone holds up a twenty dollar bill you know what it is. True some might say, “that’s money”. Few might even say, “that’s very durable paper with watermarks, security thread, color-shifting ink and other security features. Some use it to facilitate transactions.”

If they say anything like this last statement, you probably shouldn’t be talking to them. The point is that it’s pretty readily agreed upon that it’s a twenty dollar bill. Not many sane people who have a life are going to argue against that reality. It is interesting to note that currency often changes in value during the course of the day. This is most evident when you travel abroad, but it has an impact locally as well. However, the name of the monetary unit remains the same, and it continues to be regarded as legal tender.

The following point is particularly fascinating to me. There is almost no intrinsic value to a twenty dollar bill. Its value beyond the scope of the marketplace is quite minimal. It could be that a twenty dollar bill on its own is the same value or only slightly more valuable than a one dollar bill, due to the twenty’s security thread which could possibly impart a small amount of extra durability (and thus quality, and thus value) to the bill. How would someone fully evaluate money when it is no longer used as a means of exchange? As I’ve already indicated, I think the main criteria would be durability (followed by opaqueness). That’s just an opinion.

Money is subjective, variable at best and often arbitrary, yet it is treated as a constant by the majority of people. Many give no thought to the fact that it has little to no benefit without the ability to facilitate an exchange. It is interesting that many of the same people who believe that there is some intrinsic worth to money beyond the usefulness (and possibly durability or malleability) of the substance(s) of which it is comprised, are the same people who ascribe seemingly arbitrary worth to their beer of veneration.

Quantity, not quality is the aim of many. “I drank a whole 24 pack myself”, “you paid fifteen dollars for that one beer? I paid $7.50 for this 48 pack”. People who quantify in this manner generally do not consider taste or quality as part of the enjoyment process. Many of these are people who’s “enjoyment” is solely based on basic linear processes. Either they want to consume a large amount of liquid, they want to consume a large amount of alcohol, they want to consume liquid quickly or they want to demonstrate the volume of liquid they can absorb. These “feats of endurance” generally seem to revolve around the belief that, being surrounded by math enthusiasts at the time of the “beerbongathon” or “chugalugfest” the quantities will be totaled and for a goodly length of time they will retain fame and “high number status”. The amount of memory loss (a difficult thing to quantify) somehow also seems to be high on the list of factors cementing the greatness of a beer. “I had such a great time this weekend! I can’t remember anything since Friday afternoon.” This has been a very long, slightly comic aside.

Just because we don’t see the merit of the “choice” someone may make doesn’t mean it is arbitrary. It might seem arbitrary to us because we can’t see the method used for defining and establishing the criteria used to evaluate the possibilities and thus develop this “preference” which may finally be acted upon.

Of course we can’t see this. Usually it’s not there.

As any thinking person should be able to see, most people have chosen (or “chosen”) not to choose. The “choices” they make are almost invariably more reflex than choice. They’ve allowed themselves to be conditioned to “enjoy” certain things in life based on repetition and environmental influence. Some have reduced their life processes to nearly the level of a grade school science project (action/reaction).

*HOW TO WIN (almost) EVERY ARGUMENT (PART IVb) b as in beer

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