Objects, Vases, Value, and Spinning a new Economic System
Objects , whether digital or physical, gain value when they enter our consciousness. Knowing this, it’s interesting to think about the way concepts and values enter into consciousness. Recently I was at a lecture about the journey pottery has taken through Asia and Europe into modern Mexico and I was struck by the way objects gained value and meaning, patterns, shapes, colors, all distinctly reflecting a certain idea in society.
What mirrors do we reflect consciously and circumscribe into our objects and conceptualizations? And how do these beliefs broadcast back into society? As we begin to spin our own vase, our own narrative about what things mean to us, we play a part in molding our relationships to objects and concepts throughout our lives.
What it would look like to spin consciously, to recreate narratives instead of letting the wheel drive us. Economic myths that we know are falling apart and yet we put our hands up to perpetuate.
I’ve been thinking about the myth that our economic system works for everyone, and economic growth inevitably leads to wellbeing as one of these myths. And in many ways our system of consumption teaches us to not focus on objects, but instead to both discard them and accumulate them.
The latest poll shows earners over 100,000 worried about the economy and inflation and as that pie shrinks it seems although objects have lost their meaning, the accumulation of them, the concept of accumulation proves to ourselves, to others, that our economic system is in fact working. Whether what’s sacrificed is mental health, physical health, and peace of mind is beyond inspecting. And yet like Matthew Stewart points out in his book, the 9.9%, the only economic and social class that has retained their status as inequality has risen, has been able to do that by sacrificing their own wellbeing. You can check out realtime inequality in the U.S by wealth and income here. The biggest learning that came out of reading that book for me was that blaming our system on the 1% or 0.1% is faulty, because so many people believe in a dominant economic system that prioritizes high GDP and low unemployment as markers of human wellbeing, while our own eyes tell us a different story.
And so, we do in fact have the ability to put our hands on the proverbial wheel, and start to craft new narratives. Intentionality in the way we interact with objects or concepts can start to shift the way we think about our world. I’m excited to start doing that more consciously in the way I think about signifiers of economic health in a personal context. We need to both engage in efforts to redistribute wealth but also need to work on dismantling our inner conscious beliefs around accumulation, class signaling, and other mental blocks that keep ardent supporters of fiscal and monetary policy that makes it harder for them to live.