Knowledge Exchange

Kyle MacDonald is a Canadian blogger who over the course of a year bartered his way from a single red paperclip to a house. As one would assume, he did so by incrementally increasing the value of each transaction in his favor.

The story began on 14 July 2005, when MacDonald travelled to Vancouver to trade a paperclip for a fish-shaped pen. Later that day he traded the pen for a hand-sculpted doorknob. He then traded the doorknob –which he had affectionately nicknamed “Knob-T"– for a camp stove – and the rest is history.

We all do what MacDonald did. We trade thoughts, emotions, ideas and expressions. We trade the by-products of experience, the elemental fragments of our failures, this post represents a personal failure of mine. The more frequently and mindfully we transact, the greater we understand one another. No piece of experience is wrong or worth more than another. No trade is unfair and no perspective is untrue. All perspectives are equal, and together they paint the masterpiece of humanity.

Yet, occasionally we must deal with terribly ignorant attitudes. Ignorant of their ignorance, the worst and most unfortunate kind. It’s these cases that prompt me to wonder if we failed along the way. It’s not an easy fight, and sometimes I want to give up, but a part of me will never let that happen. I feel compelled to give the issues my time, to barter my perspective, and to exchange my house for their paperclip.

 
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