The Way of the Dodo:

Art is only valued to the degree that it is useful.

I used to have that on my fridge to remind me to keep my righteous indignation fresh. It was a statement that seemed to me full of bitterness and despair. There’s nothing like despair and bitterness to fuel the fire of inspired rant. However, I have found if idealism can be tamed, it may be reduced from the conflagration of youth to a comfortable warming hearth central to house and home. And it won’t burn your house down.

Today I picked up a hair pic. It was a pretty thing with squiggles and circles. I couldn’t help but wonder what they meant. My answer came immediately. It meant nothing. It was not a handmade creation. It was not imbued with symbols weighted in significance. There was no Dharma in this item. There was no art.

But at one time it might have been. Had I purchased it differently. Had I made it.

Ultimately the economy is driven by the power the consumer has to choose. It is a powerful place. It shapes our landscape, our societies and our lives.

Wildlife is like art

There are some who would have chosen animals for the ark which were economically useful commercially, like the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals or fashion/beauty trends. If we can’t wear it, eat it, harvest its bits or otherwise exploit it, it has no value. Its value is relegated to the niche that art holds.

If the local neighbourhood association had taken a vote to allow skunks on the ark, they likely would have been left ashore in the new age of shrinking biodiversity.

So, wildlife is something that we visit, the way that we visit an art gallery. But when funding runs out, (I just need to focus for a minute) for the gallery, the gallery closes and the art forgotten or neglected.

Consider your local artists, manufacturers, farmers and merchants like bio diversity, only Commercial diversity. Let’s face it. If you can get drugs, clothes, food, entertainment, furniture, plants, photofinishing, and live animals at Wal-Mart (did I miss anything?) then would we need anybody else on the ark of retail shopping. Don’t kid yourself, the Wal-Mart dynasty is a corporation motivated exclusively by profit. And if it doesn’t have to compete for your dollar anymore, it won’t. A drive through my city ( a GM town) is like a perusal of the endangered species list. The list of extinctions is pretty hefty, too, shells of formerly hopeful businesses. Our local artists, merchants, farmers, manufacturers, and other small biz owners could go the way of the dodo. We do have the power. How will we use it? In my mind I hold an image from childhood of a photograph of the proud man who shot the last passenger pigeon. If we don’t take responsibility for the power we have, we might as well be shooting ourselves in the foot.

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One Response to “The Way of the Dodo:”

  1. GM Says:

    The Way of the Dodo – a pertinent thought provoker Lianne – especially in this economic clime, where many of the problems have been created by large corporations who greedily quest for more and more profits, regardless of how they are achieved. This is a good time for the world to rewind it’s “values clock” and take stock of how many of these large corporations actually came to be – they began by big dreamers starting small. Today’s big dreamers are never seeing the light of day under the shadow of the very giant’s who are enticing us all to “buy fast and pay low”, not giving a thought to what the real price of what we buy is. Today I am going to make a purchase in my small town – it makes a difference. GM

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