Some notes on acquisition
Ted & I went to psychopath camp together when we were kids. Ted is the tough complement to Eli. Far from being a pervert, he is – off his meds – Chloe’s warrior. There’s an upcoming warehouse sale where Chloe needs protection from the middle class American women who have gone demented because they were promised a bargain. It turns out, acquiring beautiful things brings out the state of nature that is a state of war.
June soon learns she also needs to buy clothing – work has destroyed her domestic habits, including doing her laundry. On to the planning. A lot of reasoning goes into this sale – getting to know the layout, figuring out the timing, discovering the prize & the enemies – but little of it survives contact with the enemy, so to speak. Maybe thinking about how to seize & defend what one wants can lead to war as much as to peace.
But Chloe’s heart is not in profiting from chaos. The sale stands for something – if things that people desire are worth whatever people who desire them believe them to be worth, radical variability over time is inevitable. Like being able to buy a dress a thousand times cheaper than it used to be. The beauty of the dress would not seem to vary with the price; nor any utility it might bestow on the wearer.
Chloe’s enemy is a pregnant woman who ran away from the hospital after giving birth, to snatch that dress from the jaws of defeat. Her husband runs after her, but cannot change her mind, & must obey her wants. Maybe the ability to buy things cheap is far more important than we think. People talk of bargains as money they save, not money they spend. Is this a fight against the necessity of spending money?
There is only one such dress; all must fight for it; were there as much & as good left for everyone, the fight would be more obviously irrational. But that’s the point about precious things: Utility is no judge; beauty is always what the fight for utility is only when scarcity, not prosperity, is the fundamental fact. Prosperity has not made people peaceful because it cannot give all the prosperous suburbanites beauty – or deny the hierarchical implications of love of beauty. So James, shocked that the comfortable acquisition available to the wealthy no longer includes his jeans, whose worth seems to have been destroyed by availability, damning them to the warehouse sale, must now persuade people to go crazy with love of them.
Chloe has her beloved Australian on her mind. This destroys her ruthlessness. Ted cannot help her acquire if her mind is not focused on acquisition.