Sunday, January 25, 2015

economic ideas ruling our lives

We have forgotten a great many ideas as we moved along our way in life.  Some of these forgotten ideas have changed the course of  our lives, some were unfulfilled wishes, and some were mere expressions of our vanity, but all, regardless of the degree of their influence, gave us direct testimony to their power.

It is ideas that make and shake the world, and that unmake human beings and the world.  Ideas, once loosed by the human mind have the power to shape and determine present and future realities.  They can fizzle and sputter, and eventually die out or can, like a giant magnet, create a great field of influence, and attract and persuade the mind of millions.  It was ideas of compassion, love, and forgiveness by Gautama the Buddha and Jesus the Christ that lifted the hearts and minds of men and women out of spiritual depression and inertia, and into a higher spiritual awareness, which awareness, is still manifest today.  It was the ideas of, revenge, superiority and dominance from the mind of Hitler that launched our globe into World War II.

  What are the current ideas that influence our lives, and that make and shake our world?

Our minds are most focused today on ideas of how to accumulate wealth and material things or expressed in a poetical way, "getting and spending."  We have mixed the deeper aspects of our lives with ideas of "getting and spending."  For instance, we have taken simple and primary ideas of survival, (food, shelter, clothing, procreation, etc.) and convoluted them with complex ideas of business and investment economics such as, scarcity, supply and demand, profit, marketing, inflation, deflation, etc.  Where once obtaining the necessary knowledge, resources, and proper know-how for survival, while physically very demanding, was but a relatively simple task.  Survival today has become extremely complex, due to the involvement of vast for-profit business networks, and intrusive  public regulatory institutions, with the power to exert legislative and legal sanctions.  For example, instead of doing the work of building our own shelters with our community's help, we pay dollars that we earn from a job to a vast empire of real estate brokers, mortgage bankers, builders, trade workers, suppliers, and building code officials, who in turn take dollars as a consideration for the building of our shelter.  We call this involvement in getting dollars from our job, to spend on survival by the euphemism, "making a living."  We spend the better part of our lives pursuing, "making a living," and as a result have atrophied the best and highest part of our essence, our souls.

How have these ideas of economic getting and spending come to be so dominate in our cultural mind?

From about the Middle Ages on to our present time, the ideals that have been seeded and growing in Western Civilization were manifested by the strict deductive, rational thinking processes that came out of Western Philosophy and Western Religions.  The metrics of measuring and judging tangible objects as to, length, breath, and width, was a natural fit to just about every aspect of commerce and economics. Today these ideas have developed into an entire belief-system, sanctioned and maintained by a legion of economic preachers, with all manner of certified degrees, who have now tied in with the  technological developments of advertisement which have helped to reinforce, support, and expand this belief-system.   Both the private and public sectors of our culture have learned long ago how and where to use messages to promote and influence their special interests.  Consequently, our senses of sight and sound are continuously assaulted by streams of propaganda, slogans, and advertisements. 

We have been exposed so thoroughly to such messages that they have infiltrated into our cultural lives.  We have incorporated them into our every day speech, and have used them as basic truths for conducting our lives.  Plato, in his "Dialogues" remarks, ..."A man should come to resemble that which it delights him to associate."...   In a great irony, we have become to resemble the very products that we work to produce and offer for sale.  As products, what we offer for sale is our natural, human resources, in the form of economic productivity.

Like products, we package and market our productivity based upon the economic ideas working in our cultural belief system, which implicitly states that what validates us as human beings is our productivity. Thus we package ourselves in the most fashionable accessories, mark ourselves with a price tag, distribute ourselves in the wright demographics, and affirm ourselves with smart slogans.

It is through ignorance of our essential human constitution, that we place our greatest value on economic ideas, and value out humanness by our capacity to be economically productive.  By forcing our mind primarily on economic getting and spending, we have reduced what it means to be human to its lowest and most material common denominator.  The poet, Wordsworth admonishes us:

                 "The world is too much with us;
                        late and soon,
                  Getting and spending
                        we lay waste our powers;
                  Little we see in Nature that is ours;                      
                  We have given our hearts away,
                         a sordid boon!"...

We were not meant to live as products or increments of labor productivity or to direct our energy toward exclusive material gain and prestige, for a few self absorbed individuals or to blindly follow cultural belief systems based on the lowest and narrowest of ideas.  We were born into our world with all Nature behind us and the whole glory of the Universe.  We are microcosmic replicas of our Cosmos.  The same qualities and forces that uphold the Cosmos, uphold us it in us, and us in it.  Our true destiny lies not with the expression of the material elements in our make-up, but with the expression of our spiritual elements.  Those universal qualities as unity, harmony, compassion, and love are the core out of which our true essence emanated.

By believing that our essence and value centers around "making a living" and our relation to what we materially have, we reduce our potential range of life to the lowest and narrowest quality, and constrict the breath of our hopes and dreams.  However, by directing our human will towards our highest essence, we naturally entire into the porthole of the governing forces and qualities of the Cosmos, and infinitely expand the possibilities of our lives, hopes, and dreams; in so doing, we fulfill our true destiny.