Money tears us apart
Accounting, taking account of, is what actually does this, but to the extent that money is an abstracted form of account (or a unit of), it fits the bill. (puns aplenty)
I’m in the final stretches of a trip to Europe for a conference in the Hague and a failed attempt at biking from there to Luzern, Switzerland (n the ongoing battle between mind and body, body has taken this round). The conference was the Second International Conference on Complementary Systems, and I presented with Stephanie Rearick further developments, both conceptual and in terms of implementation, of our trophic model for thinking currencies, wealth/value, and everything else under the sun. (more puns!)
A big part of this paper stemmed from my realization that in our closest of relationships, not only do we not keep ready account but we actively forget or lose track of accounts in order to constitute the relationship. We write off slights, transgressions, and imperfections of our close friends. I, for one, readily require this as my imperfections are plenty. Accountability in these situations only arises in moments of strain, as justification (trying to make sense of) and to resolve the strain either through restitution or fissure.
– You said…
– Yes, but you said…
– Well what about…
As we step outside of these spaces of affection and intimacy we suddenly feel a need to maintain active account, whether loosely in the form of gossip or strictly in the form of financialized debt. Hard currencies: gold, bitcoin, the dollar and euro, anything which does not rust, are the ultimate form of account. They are also assert that not only do we not know each other, but that we are incapable of knowing one another, that we are incapable of forming intimate spaces and relations where other sets meaning prevail. This is the power and curse of logics of rationality.
We may tell ourselves that this accounting, or money, is an effort to resolve distrust by externalizing it in another agency (God or The Market: is there a difference?), but this is false. Even in our most intimate relations, we do not actually know each other. We do not know what thoughts lie behind words and gestures. We never actually know if we can trust each other. Instead, we take a chance as chance requires.
Regards to Ian Curtis.