MFA Thesis: A Self Revelatory Performance (excerpt)

No, listen, what happened was this: they lied to you, sold you ideas of good & evil, gave you distrust of your body & shame for your prophethood of chaos, invented words of disgust for your molecular love, mesmerized you with inattention, bored you with civilization & all its usurious emotions.

– Hakim Bey, Temporary Autonomous Zone

Introduction

The word ‘insurance’ dates back to Nicholas Udall’s 1553 play, Ralph Roister Doister. The play also happens to be the first comedy written in the english language. Practices of insurance began centuries before with Chinese and Babylonian sea traders of the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C. using systems of redistribution and loans to safeguard goods against pirates and natural disaster. Early Islamic traders, traveling by caravan, relied on the principle of Takaful – insurance by way of mutual help and cooperation. Over the course of nearly 400 years, Lloyd’s of London transitioned from a coffee house supplying reliable shipping news to a marketplace where members, both individual and corporate, came “together to pool and spread risk.” Insurance, as a form, began as a collective action – the funds from many to pay for the losses of some. Today, insurance is highly individualized, the payment and risk sit on the shoulders of the single policyholder. In addition, the average individual may have up to six different insurance policies to cover anything identified as a high risk loss. This system of valuation ranges from the very practical