Practical people were inclined to tell me as a child that things without monetary value have no value. This would mean that if a monetary value could not be put on an object or process, it has no value.
I played all the games that required various shaped balls in groups that we called teams. One could see no monetary value in any of these games, especially before our high school days.
Today, I still cannot see any real monetary value in these games except for the fact that some people are willing to pay $70 a seat to engage in some vicarious experience that we now refer to as professional sport.
To kids, the experience is real and not vicarious. Our games had no monetary value. We were not paid for hitting home runs. Our parents were not even there to see it. We usually had no audience. Nobody to cheer us on.
Playing was part of growing up and often seen as a waste of time, especially by those teaching their children the piano or violin. So monetary value would not be an adequate application of value theory when I played baseball or even when learning to play the piano.
How does this discussion apply to my usual subject matter, Shorewood the village, its government, its policies and its officials?
In the context of our village and its development, I'm concerned as to over-emphasis given to monetary value as our guiding principle for the development of our community.
As one being both the recipient of a good education and then in serving as an educator and also as a practicing urban designer, knowing the cost and value of education, but also knowing it is not as monetarily rewarding as professionals hitting home runs, I'm inclined toward understanding the true significance of these differences.
One of the goals or the the very purpose of education beyond providing the intellectual tools for functioning within our civilization is to provide us with the facility to judge and determine value beyond that of monetary worth.
Although monetary values are included within the total context of what we call civilization, civilization itself is broader than the total of its parts, as we've been told.
In a monetary sense, one aspect of our every changing civilization has brought us from the invention of the coin made of precious metal, to currency representing the value of that metal, to an ephemeral non-metallic non-physical and more complicated measurement of material values and of wealth, now become a more convenient facilitator of trade called credit.
We have found of late, that all material values not measured in relation to physical worth or to precious metals have a tendency to fluctuate within balloon-like characteristics requiring the presence or absence of air.
We even use the terms inflation and deflation to describe certain economic conditions. So that in the end, monetary values which appear to be the strongest and most real, tend to lose reality based on the quantity of air within the credit system. I have found that civilization is made up of more than air.
Intervention in systems that make up civilization when for social and cultural reasons have longer lasting purpose and vitality than intervention for monetary, trade and for exchange purposes.
Civilization's infrastructure is made up of long lasting attitudes, principles and ideas rather than merely the physical, even though the physical is required to encompass ideas, attitudes and social and cultural interaction.
Therefore, those who understand these difference, should call upon those who make decisions on how our community shall thrive and develop, to remember that everything in civilization does not exist because of its monetary value.
A recent example here in Shorewood of this lack of understanding and interest in a specific cultural activity, perhaps more culturally important than the monetary values that swirled around it, was our village bookstore.
Now because of that lack of understanding, this cultural entity is lost to us, not only lost as a village-building entity but also lost as a civilization-forming energy.