Obliterati Gun

Sent by Jonathan Stark on October 20th, 2019

Let’s think about The Lord of the Rings books for a second…

Did you read them? If so, how old were you? Were you captivated by the characters, the story, the epic quest of good against evil?

Even if you didn’t read them, do you know the story? Do you recognize the names Frodo or Gandalf or Gollum? Can you picture a hobbit in your mind?

Or maybe you don’t even know what I’m talking about. That’s fine, too.

Okay, now let's do a thought experiment...

Imagine that an evil genius is threatening you with a ray gun that will completely erase LOTR from your life unless you pay his ransom. 

You will have no memory of the books. You will lose any knowledge and insight and joy you gained from the books. You will not recall any experiences related to the books, whatsoever.

Even if you read them again, the words will immediately be washed from your mind. There will be an impenetrable force field between you and the books. It'll just be gone. Permanently.

So here's the question:

How much would you pay to avoid this fate?

Would you pay $10? What about $100? $1,000? Or maybe you don’t care at all and would pay nothing.

Personally, I would definitely pay more than a thousand dollars to avoid having the LOTR books obliterated from my life. I mean... without The Lord of the Rings, who would I even be?!

I read it at an early age and it changed how I saw pretty much everything from then on. There's no way to know for sure, but it's hard for me to imagine that I'd be better off with these books retroactively removed from my timeline.

But that's just me... You might have never read it. You might have read it and hated it. You might have read it as an adult as entertainment only.

Whatever the case, the amount you would pay to avoid LOTR obliteration is different from mine because this number represents value, and value is 100% subjective.

Just like a plate of oysters or a front row seat at a Jimmy Buffet concert or a 12,000 square foot house in Beverly Hills, what LOTR is worth to you is different than what it is worth to me.

What something is worth is not a characteristic of the thing… it is a perception in the mind of a potential buyer.

Yours,

—J