I’ve been thinking about how we assign value in our world, working with students where we talk about the ancient world and the modern one, and all of the ways in which both are so unlike the other. Some things we value are intrinsically worthy of their value, like raw lumber. Other things are vastly UNDER valued, despite how we treat them, like fresh water. And yet other things are valued far beyond their worth or usefulness. And the best example of this final point is the obsession about tulips that captured Europe in the 17th century.
To make a very long story short, a virus that was spread among certain kinds of tulips created an uncommonly beautiful, red and white striped tulip varietal. At the time, northern europeans were obsessed with flowers of all kinds and tulips in particular. When this new kind became available, there was a sensation. The tulip bulbs skyrocketed in price, soon going for 10 times the yearly salary of middle class workers, who had been the main market for the flower trade. It was one of the first economic bubbles in history.
Of course, this is also about nature and people and beauty and a thousand other things than value. But value is in there, and its a reminder that the things that we find valuable are not necessarily timelessly valuable, and that many things we take for granted would be of extraordinary value in other times and places. Value, it turns out, is very much in the eye of the beholder. So, what does that mean about how we develop our own values?
You can read all about tulips here and in the books talked about therein.
Allan T. Georgia, M.Div., M.T.S., PhD
Sometimes it is hard to tap into our spiritual selves or find time to nurture our intellectual curiosity. Here is a section that reflects on some nourishing materials from around the web and related media channels in order to get us thinking, get us feeling, and get us reflecting on the lives we are living in this big, beautiful world. **Some Adult/Mature Themes May Appear in Links and Other Attached Material**