“Humans come into two main functional types – users and usable commodities. Interestingly, each one of us serves both these functions in many situations of life. We use other people – knowingly or unknowingly – deliberately or inadvertently – and, in turn, are also used by the very same people or other people. We dump others, as and when we feel convenient, and other people too dump us after we lose our use. We suffer heartbreak and also cause heartbreak in others.
For example, employees and employers both act as users and usable commodities in their own separate ways. Employers use employees – like they use other tool and plant – to reap dividends and maximise their comforts and profits. For them, employees are expendable resources. Interestingly, employees also know they are being used and/or exploited by the employer, and also misused and abused at times to a lesser or greater extent. Because of their circumstances and compulsions, employees generally keep quiet and play the game, as they need income and, thus, a job and an employer. They put up with their employer till such time they find alternative sources of employment. Similarly, they are duly replaced when the employer finds a cheaper or a better worker.
In relationships too, people use one another to meet their social, financial, physical and/or psychological needs. No sooner they find new and better resources for meeting their needs than they switch over. As an extreme, for example, a female scorpion is known to devour her male partner soon after mating. Many mammals – including humans – tend to tolerate their partner till such time their offspring becomes strong and independent.
In all cases, as soon as one party stops meeting the requirements of the other party, that party is promptly dumped, sometime with ugly ruthlessness and sometime with tactful indifference. It is like any other user and commodity relationship – temporary in nature and based on the usefulness of the commodity. A commodity becomes redundant and is duly dumped as soon as it becomes stale, outdated or useless. Every commodity has a use-by date, so do have relationships.
This interesting materialistic behaviour can also be seen in parent-children relationships, as well as relationships between siblings, friends and married partners.
Loyalty is a weather-bound myth. It can be sold and bought if and when the price is right. As such, there may not be such a thing called permanent loyalty, as that requires character, which is uncommon. It changes with time, place and situation. In many cases, loyalty gravitates towards power, authority, influence, resourcefulness and wealth.” … Bill K Koul
One thought on “YOU ARE A COMMODITY”
Dear Mr Kaul
It is always refreshing to read your blogs. Mostly, they have trust in innate goodness of humans as underlying theme. They advocate what I call , pragmatic humanism. The world is facing myriad of problems- poverty, diseases, terrorism, gender, racial and religious discriminations, climate change etc. You write empathetically on these issues, and your writing is effective. I read your this blog, two times. But I find this one somewhat different from your other blogs. The underlying theme of this blog is that humans are mostly transactional and so are animals. They use each other. I didn’t feel fully convinced with this idea of use and throw kind of relations among humans as something natural to them. I don’t have any research or academic papers to support my say. I am telling this from my intuition, and a little I know from history of development of human civilisation. One most district factor that set humans apart from other animals is their ability to co-operate among themselves at larger scale and their ability to trust larger number. Do humans use each other? If it were the case, then I think trust wouldn’t have developed as it has. The pure transnational relationships will not survive in absence of trust. They will break frequently and so no sustaining progress can happen. I do agree at some stage the relationships are transactional. These are relations of nature ‘ Give & Take’ . These are not pure transactional, these are kind where there are no losers and no winners, on larger scale. These relations are sustainable and progressive. Once relation becomes of king use & throw, it becomes a zero sum game, and they break. They are unsustainable, causing pain. I feel even if our day to day life is apparently transactional and Givers may feel shortchanged and Takers may pat their shoulders for being smarter yet this ‘Give & Take’ will find equilibrium and Givers will feel better and gain from giving and takers will feel obligated to return the favours.