Absent Value

Back across the dessert of week out once more, although it was a near lost thing. And then off to gym this morning to be confronted with the closing schedule for the religionist holidays of christmas and new year’s, a mixture of unabashed slacking on the part of gym staff and a rather contradictory combination of appropriated mysticism and actual, albeit arbitrary, secularism. This perhaps points to the oft advanced thesis that the deity exists because humans have invented him/her/it/???

Now that we have shaken the dust (?) of november from our boots and muddied them with december, the commercialism, and its by-blows, are in full activity. I noted yesterday, as I briefly scanned the RSS accumulator, an article [Link] in TIME (the magazine, not the dimension(s?)) entitled “Worst. Gift. Ever. The 6 Kinds of Presents You Should Never Give”. I shan’t reproduce them here because the list is not only poorly composed, it seems poorly posed. I suspect I am too socially inept – another indication of at least mild Asperger’s – to recognize some of the situations. That’s another reason for not reproducing the list; it really isn’t an=bout presents except as fall out; it’s about social stuff.

An example is the first on the (un)list, the ‘All About Me’ gift. Except, as I said, it’s not about the gift per se. To put this in nerd terms, it’s all about the statistics of the system and the gift is just a result of the statistics, like a Bose-Einstein condensate. The “all about me” thing is that it’s all about the giver, not the recipient. Like the guy who gives a muslim friend a gift of a donated tree in Israel. Admittedly that’s a strained metaphor in contemporary Amerika where all muslims are viewed, even by themselves (?), as terrorists, but it makes the point.

I had a friend once who gave a donation – a small one – to ‘Save The Whales’ in my name. I was negatively whelmed. Not only was it a cause I had a low priority for – I don’t hunt whales, nor eat whale flesh, nor light my home with whale oil – but it was a piffiling amount. I know the christianists say we’re not supposed to count the price of a present but since they practice the opposite, in the majority, why should we credit the guidance as anything more than social noise? If you have to live and exist in a monetized society everything has a value based on its price. It probably also has other values that have nothing to do with price.

I would not have objected to a donative ‘present’ if I had been asked which charity to donate to, but I wasn’t. My ‘friend’ picked it for me. That negates the giving. But I am reminded of another of those social noises I got as an adolescent and I had to come to grips with the present procurement thing. My mother, bless her extrovertism, told me to always buy a present that I would like. So if I’m going to buy a present for my secretary I should get her a tie in a coloration I like?

I know picking presents is difficult. Most of the presents I have received over the years have been junk. Not absent price, but absent real value to me. Thank deity for the salvation army. And while I have been programmed as a child with the shtick that it’s the gifting, not the gift, that patently runs counter of human nature. Nonetheless, we give most gifts for social reasons ranging from obligation of involuntary association through anti-altruism. So it doesn’t surprise that lots of gifts go aglee.

So what’s the rhubarb?

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