Man has always had dreams and even though many of them are quite unrealistic, we do not abandon them. We try to fulfill them even when they unknowingly turn into a dangerous temptation that then becomes a crucial part of the program of our lives. Those who accept this temptation are exposing the world of their values and themselves to grave danger.
I once heard about a family that was not among the wealthy but still managed to get by in life. They were people who were constantly living under the charm and pressure of quality – quality of everything: house, furniture, cars, fashionable clothing, the most advertised food products. They were so mired in this atmosphere of affirmation of quality that even though they were unable to afford brand products, they eagerly bought cheap imitations, as long as they had the right label on them, though obviously they were still imitations. This can be seen and judged as a triviality, but it is a triviality poisoned with the feeling of superiority, based on lies, even if its indicator were only fake brand products.
Many people ascribe great importance to quality regardless of whether it is simply about some object, some product of everyday use, or about traits, values, abilities that make man, as a person, someone special. It seems that the word ‘quality’ is not really appropriate for man, which is understandable especially since he stands in this material world at the height of creation as the most perfect being. Moreover, if the objects of this world are created out of earth elements, then every man, from the start, has within his core this ‘breath of spirit’ that allows him to distinguish himself from the surrounding objects and opens him up to spaces and values that reach beyond the visible human horizon.
The problem of the quality of things and human perfection, understood as quality, is a very broad subject and it is impossible to discuss it appropriately in this short column. However, it is worth pointing out at least certain fragments of this larger issue.
Man’s works and creations differed and will continue to differ as their quality is dependent on fulfilling many conditions without which the product will not achieve the quality proper to it. One must take into account what is the purpose of a given object – is it supposed to fulfill certain aesthetic expectations in addition to its service role; or is it enough that it will be a simple, effective tool; or should it be the work of an artist? The material from which an object is created enforces still other quality requirements. Even a simple clay pot, if it is intended for storing food or preparing it, must be made out of the right kind of clay and properly burnt-out. Wood, cast iron, gunmetal, steel, silver, gold, every type of cloth, skin, glass, plastic materials and any other kind of raw material used in production, the kind of material that is appropriate for the intended purpose and use of the end product, if it is to have the right quality, then it must be made out of a good quality material.
Because what does it matter that pavers had laid down beautiful stone sidewalks if the stone crumbles in a matter of moments, forming puddles during rain and endangering the safety of pedestrians? What does it matter that tailor shops had put white nylon shirts on the market (which were very popular back in the times of PRL) if they were unhygienic and you could fry yourself in one even in winter? What does it matter that a beautiful airport had been built if a few months later the crumbling runway had to be replaced? Such examples can be multiplied into infinity and they occur every day.
But the quality of a product or a service does not rest solely with the producers and service providers. On the other side of the divide is the client. The relationship between the creator and the client is regulated to a large extent by the rule of supply and demand. It should be no surprise that if a client can only afford cheap imitations, then that is what is going to flood the market.
It is worth considering the following question: why do some original products – which are of high quality and sold for exorbitant prices – find buyers? It is simply because there are people whose financial, social position allows them to buy these original items and they do not even feel it financially, whilst their producers are financially satisfied.
Instead of drawing conclusions from fragmentary reflections, it is worth asking the question: in these digressions on quality, especially on the quality of objects, material objects, did man not become lost and did man not forget that he should reign over this world in such a way as to become in it a value, a greatness, to become someone in the highest meaning of this word?
Author: Bp. Tadeusz Pieronek / pr-controlled.com ©
Illustration: Andy Warhol Campbell Soup / wikipedia.org