ISSUE 01materials, culture01 / cultivating inner value

While working on my bronze bustier I noticed a deeply rooted desire for certain materials. As soon as the metal substituted the wax that traced the shape of my body, it has gotten a whole new meaning. But the preciousness of metals goes beyond their material value. They are precious because of the profound impact they have had on human history and culture. They possess an aura of rarity and beauty that captivates the heart and mind. They are both rare and enduring, like the bonds of love and friendship that sustain us through the ups and downs of life. Precious metals are not just physical objects; they embody our hopes and dreams, our triumphs and struggles, and the enduring legacy of human civilisation.

Since the dawn of our existence, we have been enamored with the beauty and allure of gold. Perhaps it was the first metal we ever knew, and even our earliest ancestors were fascinated by its radiant and lustrous appeal. One can understand why primitive man was so drawn to gold. It was found in small, shining nuggets, uncompounded by the weight of other metals or rocks. Its bright yellow hue was captivating, and even the earliest humans delighted in owning and adorning themselves with it. As time passed, people came to realise that gold was more than just a pretty bauble. It was the most easily worked of all metals, and a nugget of gold could be hammered thin and molded into any shape one desired. From simple hair hoops to regal crowns and coronets, gold became a symbol of status and power, coveted by all who laid eyes upon it. But the supply of this precious metal was limited, and soon those who could not find their own gold began to offer other items in exchange for this fancy substance. Thus, gold became a medium of exchange, a means of storing value for the future, and a measure of worth that would last for centuries.

As the centuries passed, gold continued to hold its value, and it was fashioned into coins as a way of indicating its weight and fineness, making it even more convenient to trade and exchange. Soon, bankers began to store gold in their vaults for safety's sake, and they would give a written pledge to deliver the gold on demand. From this practice, governments began to issue currency, or money, that was also simply a pledge to deliver a certain amount of gold on demand.

History teaches us that the value and importance we attach to material possessions, such as gold, are a product of human perception and the cultural and historical context in which we exist. Gold's value is not inherent in the metal itself but is rather assigned by humans. Looking back the human tendency to seek and hoard wealth, which is a characteristic that has existed since ancient times, can be seen as a manifestation of the ego's desire for power, status, and security, and it can lead to greed, selfishness, and corruption.

Gold has contributed to the development of human civilization. If utilised wisely and ethically, the material world and its resources, including gold, can be used for positive purposes. We need to understand the importance of recognising the limitations of material possessions and the need to cultivate inner values, such as compassion, wisdom, and generosity, which are way more enduring and meaningful than material wealth.

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