Beauty over money

People go to work to make a living.  They get compensated with money for their labor.  After using the money for necessary living expenses, most people look forward to spending on what they want and mostly on consumer goods.  That expectation of satisfying their needs and wants with money is the incentive and the reward to work, even for people who do not like their jobs.  Currently, such monetary reward system is the standard of our capitalist economy and it gets tied in with the capitalist cycle of production and consumption and the ‘Hamster Wheel of Capitalist Progress.’

If NATORZ wants to break that vicious cycle, what should be offered to replace money as the incentive and the reward to work?  We have to understand human psychology and distill the essence of exactly what people want, in order for the exchange of labor and reward suitable, effective, enduring and successful, especially under the NATORZ Doctrine.

What lifts us out of our doldrums? What cheers us up? What gives us hope and inspiration?  What makes life worth living?  At the end of the day, what makes us happy? People can describe individual happy experiences, but happiness cannot be mass produced in a factory or mass replicated in a manufactured setting and sell to anyone who can pay the right price.  Therefore, capitalism sells us the promise of happiness through products and services that we can buy with our money.  It suits capitalism just fine for more selling while misleading us to believe more money can buy more happiness without any effectual and long lasting results.

Happiness is an emotional state, induced by our complicated biological responses of neural and hormonal processes to internal and external stimuli.  Our five senses – to see, smell, hear, taste, and touch/feel – are equipped to interpret and classify human experiences, and we all have our unique preferences as to what is considered positive, favorable, pleasing, wonderful and joyful, leading to a sense of happiness and enhanced well-being.  Beautiful sights, beautiful smells, beautiful sounds, beautiful tastes, beautiful touches and beautiful feelings are what we ideally would like to surround ourselves with in our environment for sustained happiness.

John Keats wrote, “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: / Its loveliness increases; it will never / Pass into nothingness.”  Therefore, beauty encapsulates that universal quality that can bring happiness.  Beauty may be different for different people and seems to be random and fleeting.  However, we know we are able to find and see beauty everywhere and all the time if we pay attention.

Beauty can be natural or man-made.  There is no dispute that natural beauty exists in every corner of the world, near and far.  We take it for granted that the natural beauty is here to stay forever without realizing that humans are assaulting it constantly.  Whenever we interact with the natural world, we change it for better or for worse.  But our material-dependent capitalist society is particularly damaging, causing mass extinctions, habitat destructions, landscape scarring, pollutions and degradations of natural ecosystems, etc.  The consequent threats of climate change also add another urgent level of disruption to the natural world that will impose the most devastating and irreversible results, taking away forever more and more of what we value and appreciate and what brings beauty.  It does not stop with glaciers, corals, polar bears, or any other species.  It has already started to take a direct toll on ourselves: people we have lost to extreme climate events.  It is only going to get worse.

As for man-made beauty, we are equally negligent.  We do not adequately support creative arts, which are the primary sources of man-made beauty.  While a minority of famous artists may do extremely well, most of the people who want to choose arts as a vocation cannot even make a decent living.  In addition, most artistic institutions are supported by public or private philanthropic or non-profit organizations which are constantly plagued by inconsistent and irregular funding.  Just like happiness, beautiful creative arts cannot be mass produced in a factory or mass replicated in a manufactured setting for capitalism to peddle for a massive profit.  So capitalists more or less ignore and skip over it.

Even though beautiful creative arts may not be profitable for all, it is universally beneficial.  The truth is beauty can also be created in both arts and sciences, and in every single thing that humans do and that continues to delight us, as in a beautiful game by a sportsman, a beautiful invention by an inventor, a beautiful dance by a dancer, a beautiful cure by a doctor, a beautiful photo by a photographer, a beautiful structure by an architect, a beautiful meal by a cook, a beautiful finding by a researcher, a beautiful craft by a crafter, a beautiful party by a group of friends, and on and on.

Capitalism has imposed on us an economic system that leads to the demise of both the natural beauty by ravaging the natural environment and the man-made beauty by robbing us our time, attention and resources to enjoy and create beauty.  NATORZ is going to change that. NATORZ intends to blunt and eventually minimize the destructive forces of capitalism on the natural environment and to rearrange a system of work that will maximize our time, attention and resources to enjoy and create beauty.  NATORZ cannot guarantee happiness but it will offer the next best thing: ubiquitous beauty for all.

Let us imagine what if…