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Society’s Definition Of Worth Essay

1367 words - 6 pages

In today’s society, the values of real substance and aesthetical surfaces have been highly debated and criticized as society has relapsed into the 1950s Era of Consumerism. The new trend indicates that people are buying things more for their surface instead of the actual functional values. Basic knowledge says that a certain color cannot change the worth of a product if it has the same features, however; the definition of worth extends in many directions. Some critics view “ornament and variety not as goods that we value for their own sakes but as tools for creating false desire” (456). In their case, it is the substance that creates value. For Virginia Postrel, the author of The Future and ...view middle of the document...

In the same way, churches have also become just a spectacle. With all of the huge televisions, lively bands and music, plush decorations and comfy pews, actual worship of God has become secondary. One minister speaks up about how society is diverting attention from an extremely pivotal subject, “There is a sensory feast, but a famine of hearing….Now there must be color, movement, audiovisual effects, or God cannot be known, loved, praised and trusted for his own sake” (457). Although I do agree that sometimes, surfaces are too overbearing and muffle the real issues, I would not go so far as to say that all aesthetics are a waste. I think even Postrel realizes that in some cases surface and aesthetics are abused and can be hard to trust. Speaking about Riefenstahl’s movies glorifying the Nazi’s she says, “If an event so awful could look so vivid, even beautiful in a purely formal sense, how could we trust aesthetic pleasure?” (472) However this does not mean we should be so severe and throw all aesthetics out the window and group them all in the same fallacious category. Designer Michael Bierut notes the importance of surface still simply says that, “things could not exist ‘for their own sake’” (455) and therefore I would also have to agree with Postrel who states that “style does matter, that look and feel add something important to our lives” (458).

Without aesthetics everything would look the same and the world would become “a cartel, in which everyone agreed to follow a drab standard” (460). There would be no ornament and no variety, but unfortunately the real desire the critics have been anticipating still will not be found. It is look and feel that creates desire, allows for corporate identity, “spiritual uplift in pageantry and music” (458), and a unique and entertaining appeal to otherwise ordinary boring transparencies. Therefore, resources spent on aesthetics are not always a waste. Yet, critics such as an English professor also mange to ridicule the value of look and feel by saying that “If you look like you spend too much time on your clothes, there are people who will assume that you haven’t put enough energy into your mind” (458). This argument is nothing but flawed because wearing the wrong clothes can be as disastrous as costing you a job or a political position. As Hillary Clinton said as she spoke to college graduates: Your hair will send very important messages to those around you. It will tell people who you are and what you stand for. What hopes and dreams you have for the world…and especially what hopes and dreams you have for your hair. Likewise, your shoes. But really, more your hair. So, to sum up. Pay attention to your hair. Because everyone else will. (458)

Therefore even if the critics deem looks, feel, and other surface values unimportant, society is on Postrel’s side. In the end, people do care...

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