on the occaison of watching “Cold Souls” with Paul Giamatti

i’ve been thinking recently that we trade ourselves. reading Polanyi’s “Great Transformation” i feel as though he’s describing me, doing a kind of psychology that no psychologist will. that our relationships were dissolved and reformed in a new dimension, to what would be the modern dimension.

my thought: that my personality is a kind of commodity. an amalgam of elements that i trade on the market of the social scene, among and between the groups to which i say i belong–my ego a wallet stuffed with receipts for my various qualities. my self itself is on the market.

what am i and what am i worth?

what can i get for myself?

what will you give me for me?

i feel as though my neuroses are grounded in the extent of my exchange value, priced in a currency created from a rubric determined by forces buried in my history. this rubric is defined with imperatives crafted from the failures and successes of my ancestors rooted into the consciousness of my parents who then rooted them into me. fastened deep somewhere in this byzantium the axioms of value that allow “success” and “failure” to get their definitions is the birth of the self-regulating market: farmers morphed into workers, serfs into beggars, magic into science.

there is freedom in this, it must exist, i feel it just as strongly. the cloudy film around the solid-seeming mass that lets me write this, lets me write anything, lets me look into the byzantium and outline it. it lets me watch a movie and take something away and walk the streets, seeing. it lets me ask:

what will come next?

if exchange value was built upon use value what will be built upon exchange value?

what really comes after modernity?

who will i be?


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