The Moneyed Universe (or, Origin of Specie)
The idealistic amongst us used to believe that Nature is the final reserve of purity and innocence; that mankind would do very well to return back to the ways of the natural world. Of course, this was before our first observation of a butterfly, with gold coins for wings, fluttering about.
Initially, we refused to believe what we were seeing, but the evidence grew before our very eyes until it became futile to deny it. Flowers started to replace their petals with rubies, diamonds and sapphires; instead of scales, fish now had doubloons covering their bodies. Rather than having worthless leaves made out of unprocessed material, trees replaced them with bill notes of world's leading currencies. And instead of changing the colours and shapes of their leaves according to the seasons, the trees now altered them according to the financial year and the fluctuations of the stock market. Thus, at a particular time of the year, when the U.S. dollar was the strongest, the leaves assumed the appearance of a greenback. At other times, when euro or yen were stronger, the leaves became identical to those banknotes.
The final blow, the coup de grace, was the Sun arising one morning and revealing its new face to be a 22 carat (92% gold, 8% copper) sovereign that was worth around 200 pounds in 19th century Britain.
Thinking back, it now seems inevitable that things turned out this way; that rather than man taking on nature’s ways, it would be nature taking on man’s ways; that the materialism and avarice so prevalent in the human world would permeate and contaminate the natural world as well as the heavens. It was only natural and to be expected then that all the living creatures on Earth and all the stars in the sky would also want to get a piece of the booming economy. Consequently, animals and plants evolved bodies composed of precious metals and gems and stars transformed themselves from being valueless, unprofitable spheres of superheated plasma into valuable hard currency.
This was a type of pollution no environmentalist could ever fight against. Not only was it adopted voluntarily by both animate and non-animate matter; more than that, it was a spiritual pollution that infected the very soul of the natural world.
All natural sciences now became branches of economics. Instead of studying the physical characteristics of the universe, astronomers treated it as one giant stock market and determined its total monetary value to be 12599435797842039745203740238430483023843084 American dollars and 17 cents. Chemists used the post-Keynesian econometric approach to explain how molecules and elements interacted. Biologists found that the best way to analyze and predict animal behaviour was to use neoclassical macroeconomic methods and model all creatures as independent agents that seek to maximize utility and profit.
And so, as we look back at those momentous changes that have rocked and radically transformed our world, we realize that the ultimate truth of the Universe has finally been revealed to us all: not only is Time Money, but Nature, Cosmos and Spacetime are Money, too.
Editor's note: Unfortunately, we were unable to contact the artist for permission to show the very unique paintings that prompted this story. While beautiful in its own right, the image shown is more of a placeholder than a parallel example of the works that inspired Boris's fiction. The Ekphrastic Review asks that you please visit these links to see the original surreal imagery by Vladimir Kush, so that you can better enjoy the story. Many thanks.
What the Fish Was Silent About, by Vladimir Kush
Treasure Island, by Vladimir Kush
Boris Glikman is a writer, poet and philosopher from Melbourne, Australia. The biggest influences on his writing are dreams, Kafka and Borges. His stories, poems and non-fiction articles have been published in various online and print publications, as well as being featured on national radio and other radio programs.
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