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Utility and Value

Modern life conflates utility and value.  Value is observer-specific; it is intrinsic meaning, situational context. It is primarily subjective and nuances. Utility lives in spreadsheets and the world of numbers. It is the work of generalizations, of just enough.’ Utility scales; it is the common language strangers can use. Merchants can put it on shelves with a price tag. It is the disembodiment.

Artifacts are utilitarian — systems valuable. Systems are alive; they move with time, agents, and events. Artifacts are just there.

A coffee shop is a system. People come in and talk to other people, exchange coffee, money, ideas, and communication. The cups, tables, beans, and machines are all artifacts. Outside this arrangement, they hold no life, no story, and in effect, no value (while they hold utility).

The space between value and utility is aesthetics and personality.

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