Me: Policies are the true test of any theory and especially for a new paradigm. What are each of your policies?
AZ: To build an economic system based on cooperation and generosity, instead of competition and greed.
Me: Conceptually that is an excellent pair of aspects for policies of a new paradigm. Now consider that wisdom being the integration of opposites as in (thesis x antithesis) that the integration of a duality is also the very model for a cooperative activity and that generosity is a combination of kindness and plenty they are actually also fruits of love and its active form/expression in the temporal universe, grace, aspects of which also just happen to be mutual friendly agreement/cooperation and abundance/plenty. And yes, these are precisely the kind of thinking that policies should align with and follow from.
I think that the Sufi concept of God as the friend also fits seamlessly within the intentions and actions of cooperation and generosity.
DM: I would advocate an economic system based on collaboration and enlightened self-interest, which may amount to the same thing. But my meta-policy is to engage in the widest critical discourse, which in my view would ideally be underpinned by some logic such as I have indicated. At the least, beliefs, theories and policies that are not logically credible ought not to be credited.
Me: That is a very good seemingly oppositional duality that the wisdom of thorough integration can create a thirdness greater oneness out of….by mentally applying the various aspects of the natural philosophical concept of grace, which is not only the pinnacle concept of all wisdom, but also one of its effects, both personally and systemically is unity…of opposites.
AZ: @DM, I think you are placing too much weight on logic. When I make deductions about how you feel, I use my intutions, not logic. Whenever we deal with deductions about unobservables, — like gravity from falling apples — it requires insight, which goes beyond logic. This is our daily life, where we make a thousand inferences on basis of our personal experiences, none of which can be rigorously axiomatically proven using logical methods. This is just the Cartesian mistake, to distrust the feeling that I am alive, and to try to construct a LOGICAL argument for my own existence — this brain-in-a-vat is very damaging.
The Russell program came to a dead-end when Godel proved uncertainty and incompleteness of logical systems. Logic cannot get you to MOST of the truths which exist, and many propositions are undecidable using rigorous logic — you can choose their or their negation, and the only guide is INTUITION.
Me: Yes, There is science and logic…and then there is beingness. Science and logic are wonderful, interesting and important for a thorough understanding of the temporal universe, but they’re not a complete understanding of Life and all of the cosmos. Just how inadequate it is can be understood by realizing that questions/questioning, which is the tool and method of science, is only satisfying until the questions continue. In other words the only thing less satisfying than having problems….is not having any problems….and/or becoming unsatisfied by the non-completeness of the mental mode of doubt/questioning only/itself. And that is the beginning of an entirely new adventure.
When there are no more questions to answer or dissatisfaction with only questioning a kind of agony can take root that can only be overcome by more questions….or by contemplating beingness itself and learning to enjoy all of the experiences you’ve had all of your life in a deeper, more complete and satisfying way. It’s the difference between the monk who before he attained enlightenment saw rivers and trees and mountains, and the enlightened monk who still saw rivers and trees and mountains but saw them wisely.
A Koan For The Scientific Age and Its Maladies
What Is The Detail of Space?
JV: I think a fundamental question that needs to be answered first, is whether we are placed at birth within an economy; and thus where feelings, intuitions and the like Asad is talking about are determinate as soon as the as such inspired activities take place, or whether the latter become determinant only as a reaction to previous activities, still being indeterminate in value until such a reaction to them happens within a bounded and purposeful human-made system. Until an acknowledgement one way or the other, it seems to me that these philosophical discussions are like vapouring in empty space.
Me: Yes, that is in fact a description of being at the point of requirement for paradigm perception which modern economics has been at for some time and the money system has actually been at for at least 5000 years. And everyone has the their own tipping point where the alleged questions all seem to be asked and/or become obsessive, terminally orthodox and so limited/incomplete for them.
D: Dear Asad,
I’ve been part of schools which have as their primary focus (at least in the initiating stages), purely objective self-observation – objective in the sense that as one observes an emotional reaction, a thought process, a physical movement etc, they must become detached and observe purely as a third party or a scientist might, i.e. without any judgment, criticism, or other emotional reaction (meaning, if one observes something about themselves, such as a childish emotional response, and then becomes emotional about it, they aren’t detached and observing as if they were a third party).
One of the most difficult aspects of this activity (and hence why schools exist as a means to develop the skill), is because the human being does not like being observed. The more one tries to observe oneself, the more the emotional aspect of the human tries to trip up the observing side, mostly, by encouraging one to see what they see from an emotional aspect.
To illustrate, as I began to seriously observe my many emotional responses to people and circumstances around me, it became apparent to me that vanity was at the core, i.e. due to an inherent fear of many things like a fear others wont like me, or a fear that I won’t live up to other’s expectations, I am automatically drawn into an attempt to criticize myself. Put another way, as I observe the vanity in me, my own vanity comes up behind me and says ‘we must change this so we don’t appear vain’.
The reason I am sharing this is for two reasons.
The first, is a personal reason. It is by the long and hard work of observing myself in many situations over quite some time that I was able to see that I am not a homoeconomicus, that I am not an economic agent at heart, and that there is nothing resembling an economic activity which appeals to me. All that I am good at, and am most skilled at I am unable to do for money or under any legal contract without it becoming an emotional prison. And that what I crave more than anything else is to operate under different relations to the one’s that an economy forces us to operate under; i.e. what I crave is trusts with people, not contracts. Trusts which operate under different arrangements, such as the time-honoured profit share arrangement, as opposed to the pre-determined profit rate contractual agreements. What I ultimately crave is the trust that if my crop fails (using an example), the guy next door, or around the corner, whose crop succeeds, will help me out, and vice versa.
The second, which is more for the purpose of this blog, is that when one is able to observe themselves long enough they start to realize (and they must reach this point if they are to be able to observe objectively) that there is nothing they can do on their own to change what is an inherent feature of the human machine, i.e. fear which translates into vanity. However, the more one is able to observe objectively, the more one is able to make their vanity/fear subordinate to their aims in life and actually use these human elements as tools to work in their favour, as opposed to being ruled by them.
Now, the importance of this observation is as follows:
Economics, particularly political economics, is the field which overlooks all the contracting people, which is basically most of us today (as the west increases the size of its footprint). In other words, it sees us as children needing rules and guidance as we spend most of our lives competing against one another.
Now, and here is the most important part. Economics, and in particular, political economics, is like the vanity which doesn’t like being exposed, and will do anything and everything in its power to trip up the observer. We don’t want to be exposed for what we really are, and nor do those who benefit from us.
Many economists (and I confess, I am finding it difficult to openly admit this) are not deliberately making a mess of economics; the mess is coming from an inability to objectively see what are the true causes of why we must engage in economic activities under contractual laws to begin with. Further, even if many were to be able to see it, there is no way it could be changed on a grand scale because everyone must advance to a higher level of operation on their own accord. No one can teach trust, trust must be earned, but it is easy to teach contract and it is easy to operate under contracts, especially when all the rules have been laid out already for us.
However, by the same token, trust cannot be taught unless one is also practicing it, and for these purposes, I mean, to operate under trust outside of the monetary economy. Some of us need to get together and develop these types of models in order to operate under them and then we can begin the task of organically teaching it to others. This we can do without any political economists in the world even knowing we are doing it until it becomes too late for them to do anything to stop us.
AZ: Brilliant. I am in 100% agreement with everything you say. It means that change wont come from the top, it must come from the bottom However to add a pessimistic note, we need to build communities and re-create social training within families (the famous family values were to teach cooperation, to observe, critique, and correct behavior of children acting in anti-social ways). With the breakdown of family structure in the West, it would be difficult to carry out this program. In the East, the spread of the internet has led to the spread of the powerful and attractive message of hedonism and individualism, which prohibit development of community, and make individual growth and spiritual progress impossible. There are many other elements of modernity which are spreading rapidly and which are extremely disruptive and inhibit building of community and long term social relations. The power which comes from acting together for a common goal is not available — something which favors a very small group of the 1%. There are several groups big and small making efforts along the lines you mention with varying degrees of success. The hope for mankind rests on their shoulders, but the light seems very dim.
From the excerpts that I read (I have not gotten through the book) Radical Transformation
Oligarchy, Collapse, and the Crisis of Civilization By Kevin MacKay — seems very insightful.
BTW where did you get training in self-observation? I thought this was practiced mainly by Buddhists and Hindus, and such schools do not exist in the West, and are very difficult to find in the East?
Me: Yes I agree as well. It is true that modern man is not contemplative, however, transforming the economy of austerity and scarcity, upon which the better part of everyone’s waking hours and effort is focused and habituated to, into one that enabled everyone to experience leisure (which is not idleness, but self directed focused activity) would be the kind of increased basic infrastructure upon which a culture of contemplation could take root, especially if we also logically followed up on it with a cooperative effort by the clergy, the helping professions and the government with public service announcements about leisure and personal purpose that would help to acculturate everyone to such purposes as well as the efficacy of contemplative disciplines themselves.