Men and women have always mated: “How do you think we got here ‘babe’?” … but men and women have not always married – especially not always done so in apparent monogamous relationships. What we may have perceived as marriage most likely began in earnest when humans began to convert from hunter-gatherers to agriculturalists; and that evolved into the family unit as we think of it is appears to day … or maybe I should say appeared up until now and may be transformed by the modern realities. I believe the family unit is a good thing for humans: first it served us well in helping us survive physically, and second, it helped us survive emotionally. Though a lot of what we see as cultural, social and political can probably be traced to the establishment of the family unit that is not the purpose of this article … so let’s get back to marriage.
The union of man and woman is necessary, beneficial and destructive (just a broad generalization for this article … please forgive my taking this liberty). It seems necessary to insure future generations, beneficial when it conserves resources and satisfies emotional and physical needs, yet, destructive when it breaks down. Romantic Love as we know it has not been around that long for the average person too busy with satisfying personal needs and trying to survive: anyone believe this not to be so for ninety percent (or more) of humanity past (and still a large percentage now)? Romantic love as we most likely perceive it, and leading to marriage as we perceive it, probably emerged and became ubiquitous beginning during the Victorian Era of Western Civilization (early 1800s to about 1900). In my opinion it worked well for so long because it met the needs of people and nurtured the family unit and strengthened the human relationships of all kinds and levels up to national identities: but numerous change has challenged and is eroding the image and existence of marriage based on these premises. I will, as we say, “Only scratch the surface” of the subject and leave the blog slogging for others to expand expound promote and defend the ideas highlighted here.
When the life expectancy was about 45 years and not 85 years one marriage relationship was more than sufficient to meet the need of individuals: but perhaps two or three in a lifetime may be more appropriate now. But! That will only work when people rid themselves of the guild associated with failed marriage … maybe even need to be deprogrammed. Baby Boomer like myself who have been married more than once see it as some sort of failure for the most part … but wouldn’t it be better if we could view it as a natural order? When we are young we are students; when we are young adults we gain employment, serve in the military, play professional sports; when we mature we take on roles as leader and mentors: so why do we expect a marriage relationship to begin and be sustained through out an entire lifetime? Maybe we should coin a new name for the relationship and have it evolve along with our aging, or have term limits or such … at least it would be more truthful and realistic for the majority of people. It statistics recently published are substantiated: Most people are choosing to marry less often; marriages are failing sooner and more frequently; more family units are being defined in creative ways. Of course those who make money from the institution of marriage will be opposed to any revision of the core relationship: just as those who profit from war, or a convoluted tax system would defend the “statu quo” (are you reading this Wall Street?). … getting to a reasonable end: I enjoy relationships with the opposite sex, but, track record with marriage is woeful I admit … now I know why the squib: “Why ruin a good thing by getting married?”. Yes, I am still married and this January it will be twenty-six years and it has not been easy.
I allow my artistic sentiments to flood over the logical scientist and technocrat within me and fondly cherish the joy of romance I have enjoyed, become nostalgic reflecting on the romantic periods (like what I call my “Paris day” in Greenwich Village New York City 1960’s), ant still fantasize about possible new romance yet to be. My songs do reflect all of this and new one may yet express more because, “I ain’t dead yet my lady”.
“If I can’t sell something, I just double the price.” That’s what Ernst Beyeler, the great Swiss dealer who helped found Art Basel, reportedly said. Some people actually prefer to pay more than makes sense. Zelizer explains that, in all walks of life, we treat the biggest sums -differently, with special respect or even awe, than more-everyday money. “I think very often the price paid for a work is the trophy itself,” says Glimcher, the dealer.
In 2006, the crowds lining up to see a portrait by Gustav Klimt in the private Neue Galerie in New York weren’t there out of any fondness for the artist. They were there because they’d heard that the museum’s founder, cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder, had paid a record $135 million for it.
The sociologist Mitch Abolafia, who has made a study of Wall Street financiers, says that sometimes money speaks for itself. “A trader said to me one day, with glee in his eyes, ‘You can’t see it, but money is everywhere in this room. Money is flying around—millions and millions of dollars.’ It was a generalized excitement about money. Even I felt it.” That’s the excitement we all get from expensive art. One collector, who believes deeply that art should be bought for art’s sake, acknowledges basking in the “robust glow of prosperity” that his purchases give off once their value has soared.
The people who are spending record amounts on art buy more than just that glow. (And much more than the pleasure of contemplating pictures, which they could get for $20 at any museum.) They’ve purchased boasting rights. “It’s, ‘You bought the $100 million Picasso?!,’” says Glimcher. Abolafia explains that his financiers were “shameless” in declaring the price of their toys, because in their world, what you buy is less about the object than the cash you threw at it. The uselessness of art makes any spending on it especially potent: buying a yacht is a tiny bit like buying a rowboat, and so retains a taint of practicality, but buying a great Picasso is like no other spending. Olav Velthuis, a Dutch sociologist who wrote Talking Prices, the best study of what art spending means, compares the top of the art market to the potlatches performed by the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest, where the goal was to ostentatiously give away, even destroy, as much of your wealth as possible—to show that you could. In the art-market equivalent, he says, prices keep mounting as collectors compete for this “super-status effect.”