virus: Value and the Magician

Reed Konsler (
Thu, 21 Aug 1997 10:15:13 -0400 (EDT)

>Date: Wed, 20 Aug 1997 23:59:01 -0700 (PDT)
>From: Tim Rhodes <>

>Brodie doesn't give his insights (books) away because by putting a price
>on them he creates and defines a *value* for them. If you go and pay $22
>for it, then poof! Suddenly it's worth 22 bucks to you! A moment earlier
>it was just another book on the shelf, but now it's as important as 22
>beers or a really good dinner out. Creating value, that's what pricing is
>all about (a lesson learned from the world of Art, BTW).
>Now let's look at the Shaman. He has something. He won't tell you what
>it is, but everyone seems to think it's important. You can't by it from
>him for $22. He won't even sell it to you for $100. You offer him $1000,
>$10,000 and he just laughs in your face. No, it's worth *more* than all
>that. But you can have it if you want it. It'll take a while, though.
>You might have to study for ten years, but if you *really* want it...
>(This is the point, Wade, where the scientificly trained white
>anthropologist throws up his hands and, declaring it all a sham, goes back
>home to his safe, simple suburban home.)
>The Shaman is in the business of *creating* value.
>But /value/ exists on it's own, you say. It's not created or
>manufactured. A thing either has value or it doesn't, right? Depending
>on it's characteristics.
>No. Look at the stock market. Is the value of a stock a reflection of
>the worth of the company issuing it? No. If that was the case, the Dow
>Jones would still be at 1000. (Are Wall Street traders Shaman? That's a
>loaded question!)
>The marketplace discovered 200 years ago that *value* could be generated.
>Created from thin air, with only the most dubious link to "real" worth.
>The Shaman learned the same thing about humans and human culture, only
>they did it 20,000 or more years ago. They learned that *value* is a
>thing that exists outside of the material world. It is something we
>impose over the top of reality.
>And if you know the secrets you can create it out of thin air.
>What are you doing for the next ten years, anyway?

Wow, very well said, Professor.

I'd only add two things:


1) Humans have lived in virtual reality since the invention of language.
There is a substantial body of psychological evidence that human beings
have the inherent tendency to pay more attention to information they
receive from other people OVER their own senses, even in what appear
like ludicrously obvious situations. "Don't believe what you hear" is the
kind of advice none of us can really follow--enmeshed, as we often are, in
the web of intersubjective experience. We rely on the social structure
like it was our own heart, and get almost the same effect by trying to cut
ourselves off from it.

Think about Throeau. He is often held up as an example of isolationism
and independence. But he walked into town every other day. Why?
Becuase living away from people was a MESSAGE and he had to make
sure people didn't forget it.

"Remember me? I'm that guy that lives away from all of you."

"I am the hermit."

"I am the shaman."

And people listened, didn't they? The real hermits are forgotten or
fictional because if they were actually cut off we didn't get any feedback
from them.


2) [deleted by the author]



Reed Konsler