Appreciating Appreciation

Abstract: This is one of the articles that complement DonParagon's Vision of the Future. This specific article compares the concepts appreciation and participation and concludes that it makes more sense to use the word appreciation to describe what will determine success in future times. Appreciation indicates not just that one voluntarily agrees to something, even more, that one wants it, whereas participation may lack such consent. Don's Vision of the Future predicts that voluntary participation will replace the practice of trade as the dominant way to achieve success in future times. This article argues that appreciation is a better word to describe this future. In today's economy people work in order to exploit assets for profit. In future times, however, the fruit of one's activities will appreciate in value with the contributions made to it by many and people will be appreciated for identifying themselves with and contributing to such activities. The conclusion is that this is not a trade in which one has to give up something to gain something else. Appreciation works both ways. One is appreciated, as one appreciates something. The article shows how such a focus on detail can clarify the big picture of where we are heading.

A. DonParagon's Vision of the Future

DonParagon's Vision of the Future contains Quintessence's most favorite implementation of the concept optionality. In Don's Vision, various cultural changes have followed each other up in the past to culminate into a future Post-Government Era. In Don's Vision of the Future, optionality characterizes only some of the cultural aspects of this coming Post-Government Era, i.e. belief and ideology. Other cultural aspects describe other parts of Don's Vision of the Future, e.g. what will determine success and prosperity in this coming Era, and what will be the dominant activities in future and where they will take place.

DonParagon's Vision of the Future is not a fixed prescription of what is to happen; it is an evolving vision that allows for changes and for further cultural aspects to be formulated and added to the picture.

Also, Don dislikes rigid categorization, in fact Don does not like putting things in boxes at all; therefore, an article like this can never be 100% accurate in reflecting Don's Vision.

DonParagon himself prefers to express his Vision through his music, rather than by means of articles or the written word in general. This may explain why the concept optionality features in two separate cultural aspects, i.e. ideology and belief. For some people there will be a huge difference between these two cultural aspects, for other people it will make just a minimal difference. Similarly, one can use several words to describe the situation for one specific cultural aspect, e.g., the characteristics that determine success in future.

For almost a year now, Optionality Magazine has devoted articles specifically on cultural aspects such as wealth, prosperity and success. In Don's Vision, prosperity becomes more and more the result of creativity and abilities to improvise. The old economic theories become less and less applicable. In the past success was determined by force; in the current Era of Government, coercion remains present - enacted by the Government and portrayed as the best ultimate method to decide conflicts - but nevertheless success is increasingly achieved through the practice of trade.

B. Let's say Appreciation

In these recent articles, the concept participation has been introduced to readers to describe how success will be measured and achieved in the coming Post-Government Era. As the Era of Government is coming to an end, participation more and more replaces trade as the key to success. People will increasingly participate in all kinds of events, movements, initiatives and activities on the basis of voluntary agreement and because they fully want to do so. Things will happen as and when people want it, not because money dictates it.

However, the concept participation may be confusing for some people. One reader commented that he did not want to be part of the establishment, coerced into participating in all sorts of voluntary activities and community work. He called participation the denial of alternative lifestyles and of individualism.

Of course, that is not what people were meant to read into the concept participation. The events, activities and other initiatives in which people are envisaged to participate in will be options out of which people can freely choose, without any supervising governmental control and without any of these initiatives being able to seriously present itself as beneficial to or the will of the community at large.

Nevertheless, if there appears to be confusion on this point, perhaps the word participation is not entirely capable of capturing the quintessence of DonParagon's Vision of the Future in regard to the cultural aspect success. So, perhaps appreciation is a better word. Appreciation indicates that one does what one wants to do, without becoming part of something external, something big and threatening. So, let's say appreciation!

C. Appreciation of Assets

Focusing on the word appreciation may make it easier to understand how capitalism will come to an end. Capitalism comes with government regulations in areas such as property, money, banking, contracts, etc. The Government is dependent on tax revenues, which mostly come from taxing income. Physical resources become ever cheaper, while intangible assets such as intellectual property rise in value. This trend is caused on the one hand by the accumulation over many years of improvements made in the way people do things. On the other hand, as the Government demands ever more revenue, it becomes more and more attractive to see one's assets appreciate, rather than to receive income. However, such intangible assets are a shaky basis for wealth; their value can fluctuate heavily, they can become obsolete overnight. It becomes increasingly difficult for the Government to pinpoint where exactly income-generating assets are located, who owns them and to put accurate figures on things. Technological progress will make it increasingly easy to shift, hide and transform such assets, thus reducing the Government's ability to tax income.

D. Appreciation versus Love

The editors of the magazine Optionality have received many requests to include an article about 'love'. Love seems to be something so vital to many people that they just have to know what our position is on 'love'.

Until now, we have avoided writing about love, but there seem to be so many similarities between appreciation and love that we have to address this here in this article. Of course, there are some obvious differences between appreciation and love. The word appreciation is more commonly used by financial advisors, while the word love for many has sexual connotations. Perhaps more important is that the word love brings up associations with Christian religion, which in DonParagon's Vision clearly is a thing of the past. The biggest strength of the word appreciation is indeed that it is not a commonly used term; this makes appreciation more acceptable as part of a broader picture, in which appreciation is not interpreted in a monoistic way, but is put alongside concepts such as creativity, improvisation and optionality.

Appendix: DonParagon's Vision of the Future

In DonParagon's Vision of the Future, trade became popular - back in history - as people settled down and made claims over specific territory. Trade started with bartering, e.g. exchanging cattle, the produce of the land, buildings and other things that were handed over simultaneously. Possession was ownership. As paid work became common, what was traded was no longer handed over all at once. Money, contracts and other financial tools became popular to preserve that single moment at which the deal was deemed to take place; in that sense, contracts are merely an effort to preserve values of the past, i.e. values that come with ownership of property. Trade is part of an era dominated by the concept of government, as it evolved from the first claims of ownership over land and physical goods. Trade is just transfer of ownership; contracts, money and financial transactions are in turn instruments to facilitate trade.

This article looks at ways to measure success that differ between cultures. But success is only one cultural aspect and different cultures can be compared for many cultural aspects. One could also look at what represents prosperity in each culture, how people interrelate or what the dominant ideologies or belief systems are. DonParagon argues that such cultural aspects all tend to change together when cultures change over time. The picture below shows three different cultures, i.e. the Pre-Government Era, the Era of Government and the Post-Government Era, which are compared for eight cultural aspects that are listed in the right hand box.

The Era of Government is now coming to an end and instead of trade, appreciation is becoming the key to success. An initiative will be taken because people want (appreciate) it. The more people contribute activities, ideas and other efforts to such an initiative, the more this initiative's value will appreciate. For an initiative to appreciate in value, it will thus have to be appreciated. Conversily, to be appreciated, one will have to appreciate something and contribute to it.

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