Today, in another thread
, I read a fascinating theory about jealousy, in which jealousy (regards loving relationships -- if we may call them that) is understood at root as a fear of losing the precious connection. What was fascinating to consider in what I read was how this fear emerges within a cultural-historical context, a context in which nearly everything (even sex and love) are now treated like commodities. A commodity, to be a commodity, must have some degree of scarcity
, since no one would buy a thing that is both valuable and ubiquitously abundant (e.g., air).
Commoditization hasn't always existed, and things have become commoditized gradually over thousands and thousands of years of history and pre-history. Our ancient ancestors often lived in a state of extraordinary abundance, such that no one ever considered food a commodity, or treated it as such. Same with land, and -- likely -- loving relationships.
These things were valued, but not scarce -- and so there was much less cause to fear loss.
I am, of course, imagining "primitive" or tribal people whose human neighbors were cooperative and collaborative with one another, rather than competitive and greedy. Imagine being held in a community like that, a community in which you are included and valued by everyone you regularly see around you. Then go out onto the city streets and observe carefully.
I carefully chose my words "treated like commodities" above. Before doing so I had a look at various technical definitions of the term and realized that we may well treat things as if
they were commodities while at the same time they don't meet the criteria of the term.