It starts its journey at a place thousands of walks, sleeps and an ocean away called Melbourne. Carefully it gets printed and cut. A rectangular piece of plastic, coloured depictions of different digitalized, nationalized objects on one side, on the flip side you see either the Waigani *haus tambaran or the majestic bird of paradise. You can’t eat it, drink it, nurture it, decorate yourself with it or use it as an ornament on yourself nor your home.
It only has value when you give it in exchange for something, otherwise it’s a worthless piece of plastic. The value is decided by hundreds of different factors and by people that have no relationship to you and most likely you will never meet in your lifetime. In fact it has no history or kinship to you. You don’t share any stories or any affinity with it.
Funny thing is that these days we all would like to possess as much of these pieces of plastic that we could possibly gather.
Now reminisce. Each of them start their journey where your heart is, right here – at home. Remember the remarkable patterns made by shells, stones and seeds. Remember pigs, cassowaries, the plumes of magnificent feathers and the regal cuscus fur. The intricate patterns created by weaving, by painting, by carving, by moulding.
You can eat from them, you can drink from them, you can nurture them like you would a family member, you can sit on some, you can wear some, you can carry others, you can give some a place of significance so people have opportunity to admire them.
No one else needs to value any of them, in fact their value is determined by giver and the receiver. Each of them have value. Full stop.
Yet in this day and age these priceless artefacts, seem to have less value than those useless pieces of plastic.
The plastic and coin money have brainwashed us into thinking that we will achieve happiness and good health. The plastic money has been sold to us as the only means to validation in this world, meanwhile enslaving us to toil for hours on end, in conditions that are alien to us, in doing things that in the long run will have no positive impact on our future generations.
We are no longer proud of our own knowledge, skills and resources, we think we are somehow inferior to what the plastic money represents, because we have bought into the value of this useless piece of plastic that owns no value of its own.
Retarded isn’t it?
*haus tambaran = house of spirits/sacred house/men’s house