Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Path to Light



Several nights ago, I met with some folks after my workout at the request of a friend and reader. As an energy entrepreneur, he had assembled a group of inventors, investors, and activists who he thought might benefit from my experience and my perspective.

Towards the end of our visit, he volunteered to the group that I was a Marxist. (he is a libertarian and has even worked for Ron Paul from time to time)

I was amazed. I felt a little like the President elect must have felt after Palin called him a socialist.

This guy has read most of my books and he reads the blog from time to time. And, I think in general, he agrees with much of my thinking. But I had no ideal that he considered me a Marxist. And, I don't think he was saying I was a Groucho Marxist. (even though that might be more accurate)

But it did demonstrate how our minds tend to try to place things and philosophies that are new to our experience into categories that fit into historical cubby holes.

True, I do believe that the model we humans presently use to meter our daily lives is more than anachronistic. True, I do believe that an advanced economy should strive to achieve minimum employment, not full employment. And true, I think that an advanced culture should strive to assure all of its citizens a full and meaningful life, independent of the archaic notions that we presently labor under.

But a Marxist?

Hardly.

Marx believed among other things that the basis of value should be based on labor. His view was the antithesis of the capitalist's notion that if you accumulate enough capital, you should be able to live a comfortable life from the return on that capital. It is rather odd that this notion is so prevalent and universally unquestioned in our society. I mean come on, who doesn't want to be rich?

But, much as I am a transnationalist, I am also a transcapitalists, a trans-Marxist, and a trans subject/object manifoldist as much as that is possible, and that's just for starters.

In my view, most any idea or philosophy that has come from our past should probably stay there. We need to be looking at a clean slate here.

We need to start a dialogue, a real dialogue about how we really want our world to be. We need to start thinking and imagining a completely new structure for our civilization. We need to write about it, talk about it, argue about it, and organize around it.

We need to rethink our money system and why we allow a handful of bankers to make the stuff, while thousands sleep on our streets in cardboard boxes over warm sidewalk vents. We need to rethink how we organize ourselves, our settlements, and our growing virtual global community.

We need to reimagine what we must ultimately become.

We need to do this, because, you see, there is every reason to believe that the system, the living money and economic system that has developed over the last 200 years or so is not just "a little under the weather", it might very well have suffered a heart attack. (acute myocardial infarction)

Yes, our trusty old man, our grand ole economic work horse is not just a "little sick"; and, he's not likely to be back on the streets after a little rest. No, he's in intensive care, and no matter how much oxygen and zero percent interbank rates the $ Doctors give him, the truth is, the old ticker just can't take it anymore.

The good news is.... this is not bad news.

An economic philosophy of growth based on the rampant mining of our finite resources at the expense of our natural wealth, (our air, our forest, our oceans, and the life within them) cannot be sustained very much longer. New reports of a changing Arctic make that clear.

We need a completely new human ethic if humankind is to survive and not tear itself apart in the coming decades as the ravages of resource depletion, climate change, and social unrest slowly and steadfastly make their presence known in our political and social landscapes.

Sure, we can develop and install some kind of Cheneyesque "keep the patient alive" heart stimulator, and that's what we'll do. We have to.

And Death will steal back behind his curtain for a time.

But he will leave his mask on the wall,

and his shadow will grow long on the land.

Even as we craft the path to light.


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6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dec. 16, 2008

This is the kind of visionary thinking we need to survive as a viable life form on this planet.
Dan

6:59 AM  
Blogger Charlie Loving said...

Out of order.
Imaginary evil is romantic and varied: real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring: real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.
Simon Weil
And I will add that there is nothing wrong with being a Marxist at all, if you think about it.

8:04 AM  
Blogger OZ said...

Thanks Dan and CL for the comments.

I didn't say that being a Marxist was bad, I meant to say it doesn't accurately describe my view of things.

Let us all live in the real good.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In your paragraph on Marx's ideas
about capital. I would think it more correct to say, marx believed that the basis of value should be labor.
Ownership is a different issue. Also thinking about what we the people would like our government to provide should not draw old inflammatory labels I agree. JN

2:32 PM  
Blogger OZ said...

Thanks for the comment JN, I'll make the change to the post. It's interesting what a crowd the word Marx brings.

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good one O

2:48 PM  

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