The Market Place of Ideas…

The marketplace of ideas is rather like the marketplace of food; most people prefer junk food and nutritionally poor food over healthy and nutritious food. Usually, the things that “win” in the marketplace are not always the best things. Sometimes it is down to how well the seller markets his product, other times it is the disposition of the buyer in the marketplace. Sometimes a good product sold by a bad person taints the product. Sometimes a bad product sold by a “good” person makes it seem like a good product. The only people who truly benefit from the marketplace are those savvy enough to know the reality of the marketplace.

In the past I used to sell handmade Afghani prayer rugs [http://www.mihrabi.com (out of stock at the moment)]. These were very beautiful, natural dye and natural fibre rugs, very hard wearing and durable and they usually last a lifetime. They were priced between £120 and £180; they were not cheap. Some people would look at them and dismissively say “why would I spend that much on a prayer mat when I can get one for a tenner?” alluding to the fact that they could purchase a soulless, machine-made, Chinese mass-produced one for much less. It was clear that I was not going to get rich selling these rugs. Those who bought them just knew, they got the idea behind them; they understood and they appreciated. They saw the rugs as a work of art, a human endeavour and craft, made with the intention that someone will perform an act of worship on them. The purchaser saw it as more than just a simple prayer mat and that is the value they saw in the rug. Every person who bought one thought they got a bargain.

Just as food tastes are subjective and dependent upon the palate, preference for certain ideas over others are filtered through the palate of the ego. Sometimes we just don’t know what is good for us.

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