Forms are brought into life for a purpose, be they man, vehicle, building or block. Part of their beauty lies in their inevitable demise. The big breaks back into the little and the little, having completed its task for the whole, returns back to dust. So it is with everything in nature. What springs into existence is subject to a cycle, to the seasons of birth, maturity and death. Even hard rocks and stones, seemingly stable and immortal in their state relative to our soft flesh, will eventually wear away and recycle back into nature.
A man’s life or the span of time in which we see the birth and fall of a culture are analogous. They are subject to the same laws and reflect them all the same. So to are forms or cultural organisms such as the commercialized business. They follow the same rhyme as the start-up company survives adulthood and matures into old age. Forms bend and twist to the tune of time. If they are lucky they complete a full cycle rather than break at a specific spot along the way.
Forms need to live out their natural purpose. So often the tendency is to be lazy or stubborn or ignorant and assume that a form can play out for eternity. The posture is that technology and modern know-how can work around the natural cycles and have them sing the human tune rather than the tune of time. In fact, this is the very nature of perversion. One culture or company begins and grows old and then something happens… New initiatives burst streams of life into its various arms and branches and the blasted thing is back in action. In reality, though, this is a new thing born in an old shell. That we are unaware of this is due to nothing but nature’s sleight of hand.
Our attachment to forms should be based on an understanding of the natural cycle. When we need a new form to come into play so that the old, outdated and outmoded form can rest in peace, we must be free to do so. Habits and modes of thought in our head grafted from one generation to the next is what often stops us from following that course. Or by ignorance we are simply unaware of everything of importance and follow the motions rather than take stock of the importance of quality. For quality is a dead, plain and forgotten thing in an old and decaying form. It is a burnt and dried out crisp of chicken.
When the ‘medium of exchange’ was created, it slowly but effectively replaced the need for barter. A society could use cacao beans, gems and jewels, shiny shells or precious metals. These would serve as the medium of exchange, brought into life for the purpose of facilitating interactions between men and women of a village, town or city. It was a means to an ends, a form which was given meaning solely for its use. The nature of this form, no doubt, went through its cycle of maturity. At one point, however, it became institutionalized, which is the word I would like to associate to the condition in which a form acquires the tendency to pervert the natural cycle of its existence and manifest as something quite unnatural in the world. It becomes something which bears unwholesome results and consequences. Money, in this light, becomes an ends rather than a means. It’s value becomes based on its own sake rather than the sake of those who depend on it as a means to satisfy their survival and wellbeing. The perversion of institutionalization is that which, by defying the laws of nature, transforms us and what we create into the opposite of all original intentions.
A healthy approach lies with an affinity to the drawing board, reverting back to new inventions and springing out rejuvenating solutions to time-old problems and challenges. Institutions, horribly addictive to us, need to always be checked, avoided or minimized in favour of keeping us ‘on our toes’, ready to create and establish new rules and codes which make sense to the given situation we are in. How else do we expect to solve issues like climate change, species extinction, peak oil, economic collapse and a nuclear holocaust? It is the old institutions which have weaved our current structure of society together which need to be subject to interrogation. Beyond a certain point of their growth, institutions begin to lock the cultures to which they belong down a road of inevitable degeneration and destruction. It is in the human element, the molecules within the structure, that the power and freedom to divert impending disaster exists.