For this semester’s project in Collective Stories, I am going to tackle the topic of Gold, or more generally, mineral/material wealth. It struck me as a large and broad topic to dig deep into, from classical Greek Myths such as King Midas who could turn anything he touched into Gold, to Folk tales such as Rumpelstiltskin, a strange supernatural figure who could turn straw into gold. From these stories to the legends of Cities such as that of El Dorado, there’s no shortage of stories and tales featuring gold or a precious mineral of wealth.
What stood out to me in the museum was the fact that Gold had been displayed as jewelry and trinkets as opposed to anything really ‘practical’ as Gold is a soft metal, it’s uses as a tool or weapon is limited resorting it to aesthetic use only, with the predominant obsession with Gold and even Silver, is it’s value as wealth. It’s interesting to consider this viewpoint, especially through Human History and stories, we’ve been hardwired to revere Gold and other minerals as valuable not for any practical use, but because they are items that can be used as currency.
The stories involved generally have morals that reflect against obsession with gold or riches in general, especially reflected by the terrible fates usually inflicted on the people in the stories. Which has value today, greed as we all know is a flaw, especially if it’s something you don’t need. Now everyone wants to be well off, but what we see as being rich, having an excess of wealth, is usually seen as a point of corruption. However the point I wish to make is that a person with a huge vault full of gold and obviously well off, won’t give any of that gold to anyone, not to a poor person trying to feed them or their families. That’s the excess of wealth that is attributed to corruption, something very prevalent in today’s society.