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ARSCLIST  May 2007

ARSCLIST May 2007

Subject:

Re: Why preserve

From:

"Steven C. Barr(x)" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 31 May 2007 20:43:48 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (76 lines)

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Karl Miller" <[log in to unmask]>
> "Steven C. Barr(x)" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:    ***Well, I forget whom
I am quoting...but the applicable quotation is,"Those who are ignorant of
history are thus condemned to repeat it"...
>   "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," from Reason
in Common Sense, the first volume of his The Life of Reason. George Santayana.
>
Thanxes muchly, btw (scb)...

>   Yes, but how does one get a society to believe that being informed of
history is of value? Would some examples help? Should we have things like a book
"Lessons not learnt from History."
>
First...to most folks, especially in this XXI Jahrhundert and in wealth-
obsessed "western" culture..."value" has but one possible definition:
"How much (inevitably expressed in terms of the local currency...!) is
this worth?" With, of course, the unexpressed but implied, "...so I can
gain "bragging rights" over my neighbours...or sell it and gain the
bragging rights implied by a large pile of money...?!"

Thus we have "art museums" containing "old masters" (or other famous
and valuable works) which are given high regard, since, "That Rembrandt
would fetch us <very large number of local currency units> should we
elect to sell it!" In fact, the first thing folks often say when I tell
them of my "about fifty thousand old 78's" is, "Gee! Those must be worth
<huge sum of money>...!"

However, the concept of things having "value" (in a cultural sense, and
as well in local or wider historic sense) that can't be expressed in
numbers and currency symbols seems to sail right over the heads of
most individuals! To me, my c.1869 house has an integral values as
evidence of local, as well as Canadian-arcitectural, history. To many
others, it is "Why do you want to live in that old tumble-down shack
(it isn't really QUITE that bad...!) when you could (1) buy a nice
condo unit (2) buy a nice new home in a nice new subdivision (3)
arrange to have your old raggedy fundament euthanized and save us
younger folks the expense of your support?" (Note that #3 is very
rarely expressed in those exact terms since that would be somewhat
politically-incorrect...!).

Meanwhile, the prominence of "baby-boomer nostalgia" has created
a sort of "value bubble" for impedimenta related to the youth of
that large demographic...whereby an "Authentic 1968 signed
<wotever> posesses a substantial (and temporary, in the long-
term sense) monetary value...!

It is only us odd folks (known in the UK as "eccentrics" and
tolerated, if not locally admired) with our obsessions with "the
past" that save things. This, in turn, leads us to the inevitable
stages in the life of objects:

1) Look at my brand-new <wotever>! Why, nobody else on the block
has one of these yet!

2) We better throw this <wotever> in the trash...everybody else on
the block has a newer, shinier and more expensive one!

3) Look at my fine new antique <wotever>...the experts tell me that
this type is extremely rare and valuable, and nobody on the block
has one of these!

Of course, stage #4 will be (1) a museum for <wotevers> which, with
luck, will become a major tourist attraction (2) a "Complete"
reference work on <wotevers> (in a "worst-case-scenario," a "Price
Guide!") listing everything that is known about individual specimens
(3) one or more individuals trying to assemble complete collections
of <wotevers> (4) <Wotevers> being sold in antique stores (or galleries,
if applicable) for many, many times what they cost new...and...

Steven C. Barr
(conclusion...individual examples of the advanced-primate species
Homo Sapiens desire, once their basic needs for food, shelter and
reproduction [aka "sex"] are met, anything that somehow improves
their real or imagined ranking in the species' Dominance Hierarchy...)

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