Practical elders and teachers were inclined to let me know as a child that things without monetary value were of no value. This would mean that if a monetary value could not be put on an object or process, it has no value.
During those days, 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. Yet this was tolerated non-monetary activity.
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 them. We usually had no audience. Nobody to cheer us on.
Playing was part of growing up and often seen as a waste of time, except that it kept kids busy. It was especially considered to be a waste of time 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 I was 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 extensive education and then serving as a provider of upper education, 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 trying to understand 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 or bubbles 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 in order 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 of not understanding these principles here in Shorewood resulted in a in the loss of what appeared to be solely a commercial enterprise that had special importance, perhaps was more culturally important than the monetary values that swirled around it.
Now because of that lack of understanding, this cultural entity is lost to us, not only lost as a village-forming entity but also lost as a civilization-maintaining energy.