The Pervasive Myth of Economic Gluttony vs. the Inescapable Context of Humanity (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 175)

The faulty assumption that scarcity-based economic thinking is somehow the de-facto human approach to questions of supply, demand, and distribution of wealth has mislead much anthropological, philosophical, and economic thought over the past few centuries. As economist John Gowdy explains, “‘Rational economic behavior’ is peculiar to market capitalism and is an embedded set of beliefs, not an objective universal law of nature. The myth of economic man explains the organizing principle of contemporary capitalism, nothing more or less.”

Many economists have forgotten (or never understood) that their central organizing principle, Homo economicus (a.k.a. economic man), is a myth rooted in assumptions about human nature, not a bedrock truth upon which to base a durable economic philosophy. When John Stuart Mill proposed what he admitted to be “an arbitrary definition of man, as a being who inevitably does that by which he may obtain the greatest amount of necessities, conveniences, and luxuries, with the smallest quantity of labour and physical self-denial,” it’s doubtful he expected his “arbitrary definition” to delimit economic thought for centuries. Recall Rousseau’s words: “If I had had to chose my place of birth, I would have chosen a state in which everyone knew everyone else, so that neither the obscure tactics of vice nor the modesty of virtue could have escaped public scrutiny and judgement.” Those who proclaim that greed is simply a part of human nature too often leave context unmentioned. Yes, greed is a part of human nature. But so is shame. And so is generosity (and not just toward genetic relatives). When economists base their models on their fantasies of an “economic man” motivated only by self-interest, they forget community—the all-important web of meaning we spin around each other—the inescapable context within which anything truly human has taken place.

Sex at Dawn

Ryan and Jethá          2010

Cleaving a Soul (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 174)

Our parents

rejected

the entirety

of

our innate existence

before

the miraculous wonder

of

our own conception,

cleaving our souls

into two or more,

before

we could even

become

one.

Cribb

2017

This statement is my version or evolution of an original quote by Robert Bly. His original quote reads “Our parents rejected who we were before we could talk.” The quote is made in reference to the “shadow” aspect of our divided soul/psyche. A short quote from A Little Book on the Human Shadow (1988) reads:

The drama is this. We came as infants “trailing clouds of glory,” arriving from the farthest reaches of the universe, bringing with us appetites well preserved from our mammal inheritance, spontaneities wonderfully preserved from our 150,000 years of tree life, angers well preserved from our 5,000 years of tribal life—in short, with our 360-degree radiance—and we offered this gift to our parents. They didn’t want it. They wanted a “nice girl or a nice boy.” That’s the first act of the drama.

Won’t You Not Play the Game with Me? (The Veterinarian)

For those who might be interested, this is a short poetic note about myself and some of the stressful forces which impact upon the practicing of my profession and the owning/operating of my veterinary hospital. I often fancifully refer to the hospital as the Castle. May these words be taken in the spirit of which they are offered; for greater understanding and the hope that we may all come together to work towards what is the most nurturing and best balanced system for all.

It disgusts me how much the corporate world stands in my shadow, deceptively and manipulatively sucking out almost all of the revenue I can generate in my trade by being a fair and ethical small business person. These entities figured out a long time ago how to put “face men” out there to disguise the intricate ponzi scheme of their diffuse market possession and “behind the curtain” price control they impose on all consumers. The current “capitalistic” system is designed for us to be nothing more than masked puppets for these juggernaut parasites. It equally disgusts me how much the government rapes me over and over in exponential fashion. The amount of taxes I pay for my income and property is egregious, insane, and unfair.

It would seem to me that the underlying lesson taught by both the government and the corporate world is that a man of independence and ethical preference is suppose to break himself of these tedious tendencies and desires. . . because, as they say, “you gotta make a living” or “you gotta make your fair share” or “you gotta play the game like everyone else, that’s just the way it is.” And sooner or later, maybe the system will take me out. I have been close a number of times, much closer than you probably believe, but if it happens one day, it just happens, because you see, I can’t play the game. A game that turns me into a relentless lying and tax evading prick or a bastardized up-selling unethical DVM corporate puppet that has to screw my customers over to generate a decent income for my effort and expertise, has at its victory the death of my honor, the loss of all of my integrity, and ultimately, the suicide of my humanity and the values of existence which make it worth experiencing. This I remind myself.

So, I just wrote a check to the United States Treasury for an absurd amount related to estimated taxes while I’m doing my best trying to get caught up on all of my other bills that cannot be paid from that extracted/allocated amount, but my day goes on with the Castle roof above my head and the Castle gardens flourishing all over the grounds. The magic is alive around here. . .you can feel it; it always holds up pretty good against the petrifying spell of money’s love potion and the wicked withering brought about by its whispered and temptable chants.

There is enough magic everywhere for everyone, but it isn’t to be found in a upsold suicidal game of plundering.

Won’t you not play the game with me?

Cribb          2017

Where Anger and Hatred Go (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 173)

Our psyche in daily life tries to give us a hint of where our shadow lies by picking out people to hate in an irrational way. Suppose there is a woman who seems to another woman too loose and too sexually active, and this latter woman finds herself thinking of this former woman a lot. In that case, the psyche (of the latter woman) is suggesting that part of her shadow, at least lies in the sexual area. She has to notice precisely whom she hates. That is the path of attention. Suppose that she hates the current president of the PTA; and if you ask her, she’ll say that the woman is fakey, can’t be trusted, is too successful, and so forth. The psyche might be telling her that part of her shadow lies in the power area. She has unused and unrecognized power impulses, which she has put into the bag. Otherwise there wouldn’t be such heavily emotional contact with that other person. So, following the path of attention, one notices where the anger goes, and precisely whom we become obsessed with. We become entangled with people who are virtually strangers. That’s odd. The metaphor is this: if we maintain eye contact with that person, we can damage him or her by our anger and hatred. If we break off eye contact and look down quickly to the right, we will see our own shadow. Hatred then is very helpful. The old tradition says that if a man loves God he can become holy in twenty years; but if he hates God he can do the same work in two years.

A Little Book on the Human Shadow

Robert Bly          1988

Edited by William Booth

Visceral Empathy (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 172)

If

your exuberant empathy

for one

is

guarded

by

vehement anger and resentment

towards another,

you are likely

hypnotizing yourself

into believing

that you are

much more

caring,

understanding,

and

loving,

than you truly happen

to

viscerally be;

you are drawing

 a line

in the sand

 with

your empathy

 where no line

should exist.

To limit

empathy

is to fake

such a grace

or

taint it with darkness

and

turn all of its light

into

a murky bastardized force

of

schizophrenic relativity and antithesis.

In

the highest spiritual elevation,

it

is

an

all or nothing

state

of

consciousness and being.

Cribb

2017