KZ: Economists assume they have the truth by the tail, the only truth. They’re wrong. Truth, and thus science and all human knowledge is situational, open-ended, emergent, and becoming.
“There is at all times enough past for all the different futures in sight, and more besides, to find their reasons in it, and whichever future comes will slide out of that past as easily as the train slides by the switch.”
William James, The Meaning of Truth
This takes us back to uncertainty that is always a part of human culture. Our worlds rest always on shaky foundations. Science does not cure, cannot cure this difficulty. But scientists can be more aware of if and take it always into account in their work. Not just about the objects of their study but also about how they go about studying them. This translates to science, like all human actions (thoughts, institutions, cultures, societies, etc.) being performances. If you’ve ever participated in or watched a stage show you know how uncertain and difficult it is to ensure the message or point of the performance is conveyed. Andrew Pickering calls this the “mangle” of humanity. It’s a mangle because it requires we accept that human understanding and knowledge are the result both of agents (human and nonhuman) and the objects these agents observe and explain. So, it’s not either scientific knowledge is descriptions of the “real” world out there or is created by the imagination of the scientist (agent). It’s both. And its impossible to say where each begins and ends. Human understanding and imagination are chaotic, complex. Aristotle wanted to overcome chaos as did most western thinkers who came after him. If we take seriously William James, Y. Bar-Yam, F. Capra, N. Georgescu-Roegen, J. Gleick, J. H. Hubbard, B. H. West, E. Lorenz, A. Battram, G. J. Gumerman, M. Gell-Mann, and others about chaos and complexity, it is not something we humans can escape. It is the foundation of our existence. Economists don’t get this, but the same can be said of many other so-called smart people, including many scientists. Sometimes culture is a prison for some humans. And 5,000 years of “everything fits together neatly” culture has imprisoned many of us.
Me: Philosophically everything you say is correct. Since its inception economic theory has been based on equilibrium, and worse a static/statistical/stochastic equilibrium when it should have been based on dynamic, interactive, integrative process and flow. Embracing process/flow is wisdom and wisdom’s pinnacle concept is grace as in dynamic, interactive, integrative and ethical process and flow.
If you read my book you become aware of the fact that every paradigm change has simply been the dramatization/application of one or more of the aspects of the natural philosophical concept of grace in the body of knowledge/area of human endeavor that the paradigm change applies to, in this instance economics and the money system. Yes, the world is temporally complex, but yes really understanding the world philosophically and paradigmatically boils down to thoroughly understanding the concept of grace. It’s that simple, elegantly applicable and powerful.
KZ: Craig, my original comment was incomplete. Some civilizations before Ancient Greece accepted the chaos of life. They based their institutions, religions, and general way of life on just this. These include ancient Egypt and ancient Mesopotamia. And this shows us one of the difficulties in creating civilizations based on chaos. They can move into cynicism and unrestrained violence. After all, in a chaotic world all morality is uncertain, just like knowledge. So, it’s important we teach our children and those uncomfortable with chaos how to live well within it. More importantly, however, we need to teach about chaos. It does not mean lack of order. Rather it refers to uncertain order, order within limits. But we’re never certain when and how the limits will change. No paradigm of any sort can save us from this. But choosing some will help us more than others. Now the hard part, choosing those paradigms.
Me: Chaos is actually a misnomer and misunderstood. Life is process and flow mistaken for chaos. There are patterns within process. These are the various paradigms in individuals’ heads and of their systems.
The end of wisdom is Orthodoxy. The trick is to embrace the wisdom of process and flow without qualification except for ethics which is the rational/situational consideration of mere morals.
Grace being the pinnacle concept of wisdom is the ultimate in process and flow…..and is not only the concept behind the new monetary, financial and economic paradigm, but THE paradigm of the cosmos which is in continual process and flow. This is both science and wisdom, and the topic of my next book The Cosmic Code.