Thank you Rhyd from Oregon- who knows, maybe we and the other creatures that exist are the product of a late night Art project by some Entity....when you see some of the creatures it isn't hard to imagine!

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Social utility is way oversold these days as a benchmark for human value. This week, with the Queen passing away, the punditry has gone into overdrive on the subject. But social utility itself is a fluid concept, subject to the utterly illogical whims of the observer. Lenin despised Tsardom, but was it the logical conclusion of his reams of theories, or simply because his brother was murdered by the Tsar's father? As a taxpayer, I'd much rather finance fireworks and Burning Man than the burning of Southeast Asian villages or the miles of mothballed aircraft at the Tucson Boneyard. But with this comment, I'm probably showing my age. Bring on the excess, the zanier and more mythological the better. Pure fun is so underrated.

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Huzzah for art excess! I've been to Burning Man and it's totally worth going if one can afford to and can handle desert living conditions . . . To quibble, the art fest you attended was "free" at point-of-entry; if paid for by taxes it still cost money to all the citizens who render to Caesar.

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I think you have this wrong in a few substantial ways. I like the concept of "the accursed share" and there's something to think about there, but it goes off the rails for me somewhere around the idea that art is a means of its destruction, or that accumulation in itself is an evil to be cured by wastefulness.

I don't want to waste space on arguing framing so I'll go with yours: capitalist accumulation is a perversion of a good and natural thing, not some alien concept. Our ancestors, as recently as a couple generations ago, accumulated excess to deal with uncertainty and hardship and to improve conditions for their descendants.

We preserved food and stored water for the winter or the dry seasons, but also in case of bad harvests, disruptions in trade, invasions and any other thing that might get in the way of meeting our needs. We accumulated land and useful objects so that they would not have to be replaced or remade, and we kept and repaired and improved them and sold or gave them away if they were no longer needed. We had feasts and festivals and markets, among other things, to derive some joy and pleasure from the things that couldn't be kept or preserved for one reason or other, not (only) because of some innate need to destroy excess.

Modern consumerism perverts this, giving us things designed to fail, or designed with narrow function, or designed to be ugly and not fit for purpose, specifically so that we'll go buy more crappy things instead of accumulating good, beautiful, useful things and needing less things overall.

Our instinct to accumulate is being corrupted and abused; we keep all this crap around "in case it might be useful", and then go get new things because the old things didn't work, didn't serve their purpose, broke prematurely, or because the next thing is "new and improved" and does 20% more than the old thing (but why not keep the old thing, as a backup, in case the new thing disappoints, breaks prematurely, or isn't fit to purpose?)

This is not how it's supposed to work. But the problem isn't with accumulation itself, that's just a diseased but once-functional social organ. The problem is we mass produce crap and stay on the treadmill of buying ever-crappier crap and persist in the delusion that it's getting better, not worse, because some guy on the television told us so. Before we can destroy all the needless excess, we'd have to replace all the crap with things designed to function and be aesthetically pleasing for as long as possible - ideally, multiple lifetimes.

As for art, it doesn't have to be excessive, or transitory, living only in the margins. Craftsmanship isn't dead, and it can come back. There's no reason that form and function can't be reunified. I think a lot of art today, such as it is, only exists because art has been excluded from consumer goods (except, or especially, in the form of kitsch designed to bring some marginal beauty to our otherwise depressing soulless consumer crap).

But first we'd have to realize that it is better to have nothing and save for something good and beautiful than hop on the junk cycle treadmill in order to satisfy our desires immediately, if inadequately. Both of those modes would require accumulation, but one requires deferral of gratification.

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