Over a decade ago I had shot this glistening sun bathed view of a Lighthouse. It sort of happened during one of those long motorcycle rides, and in an obscure part of the globe. Few years ago someone actually contacted me, and requested permission to create a post card from that exact photo. Of course, I obliged! Recently, just out of curiosity, I Googled for postcards based on that Lighthouse, and ran into this interesting WordPress link – Remembering Letters and Postcards. There are visible paper wrinkles and postal stamp watermarks on that photo, and also a copyright Mahesh printed at the bottom left corner!
Just another one of those motorcycle rides, and just another one of those photos. But it caught the attention of a Lighthouse Thematic Philatelist, and it turned into a postcard. Someone actually bought that postcard, and mailed it to a lady residing in a distant part of the world. Who then scanned and uploaded it to her website. And now I Googled to find my own photo! But, now my memories of clicking that photo are also perceived in a totally different context. Basically, that simple act now feels quite gilded and romantic. To quote a related earlier post – “with every single step we are progressively shaping our own trajectory, and at the same time influencing lives of others.” That mere instinctive act, of capturing a Lighthouse in its tropical sunset splendor, ended up traveling across the world!
The lady who got the postcard, or the person who sent it to her, will never know the backstory of that motorcyclist who captured it. They simply derived some value from the unknown motivations of a photographer. Just like how I derived value from the unknowns who engineered that Royal Enfield motorcycle and that Nokia camera. And also just like how I now derive value from the actions of these unknown actors sending postcards to each other. They all created an elaborate feedback loop to my rather innocuous photo. To generalize all this — our ability to derive and add value to the unknowns, significantly more than to the known, tends to create unique value chains. It’s probably the most romantic side to this Hayekian civilization.