Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A meditation on love



Love is everything.

If love is everything, then all descriptions of life that do not see the world from the point of view of love are somehow incomplete.

At the distance of a few days I have discovered that two of my favorite writers have reached the same compelling conclusion: Billionaires and the current system of market capitalism have extremely negative effects on our children. I fully share their concerns. But they do not allow for love. Allow me to attempt to round out the discussion by offering a few qualifications.

Capitalism is destroying our youth. One description of this act is more horrific and terrifying than the other. One is metaphorical, the other is realistic. Tender ears and tender minds be forewarned. The descriptions are vivid.

To give you short quotations would shortchange the reader and the writer. To gain the full import of their power, the essays have to be read in full. The essay by Jonathan Wallace can be found at http://www.spectacle.org/0811/billionaire.html. The essay by John M├ędaille can be found at http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2011/07/will-there-be-zombies/.

I am thankful to both authors. They compel me to open my eyes and see what is happening to our youth today. I was only vaguely aware of this process: Who has not heard of latchkey kids—and of the many hours they spend in front of TV sets or playing computer games soon followed by demanding shopping sprees.

Both essays establish a clear cause and effect relationship: Start with modern conditions of capitalism and you end up undermining our youth.

I do not take issue with either essay. They are excellent as far as they go. But, IMHO, they do not go far enough in either direction. Let me start at the beginning.

Both essays lack three specifications. If everything is love, where is love in these essays? Neither essay, it seems to me, gives enough attention to the fact that both the billionaire and the capitalist in general loves himself or herself; loves what s/he does; and is mostly unaware of the consequences of his or her actions.

Besides, the capitalist is fully imbued with the belief that whatever s/he does is for the benefit of everyone. Remember Adam Smith and the Wealth of Nations? Remember the expression “The business of America is business”?  If still in doubt about the nefarious consequences of such appealing and apparently innocuous expressions, go to the literature on economic growth or the literature on the merits of Capitalism.

One can attribute ill-will to some individual capitalist, but that does not make the accusation universally true.

The issue goes well beyond economics: It is a moral issue; it is a cultural issue; it invests our whole culture.

Politically, the moral outrage against contemporary conditions can point us in the wrong direction, and thus become ineffective—thus, indeed, unwittingly do the bidding of the forces that stand behind the creation of some of our modern outrageous conditions as the effects of capitalism on our youth.

To be specific, this overall truthful accusation falls pray to the misbegotten belief that the rich are the creators of poverty. Not so, I discovered to my amazement after many years of studying the issue. The blindfold fell off my eyes with the helpful message of the Psalms and I wrote about this discovery in a fundamental essay titled “The Creators of Poverty”. The creators of poverty are not the rich but the wicked! This liberating discovery can be scrutinized at http://www.somist.org/id31.htm.

My second specification about the essays of Wallace and M├ędaille is the observation that neither author indicates what should the capitalist do. Given the present state of affairs, if they were themselves billionaires, what would they do differently?

My third specification is this. Both authors make the process of undermining our youth so automatic that they neglect to point out that today’s youth—and their families—have at least a residue of responsibility for this state of affairs.

Somehow the phrase conspicuous consumption fills my mind and makes me question whether every penny earned by the parents of latchkey kids is spent for food, clothing, and shelter.

More substantively, my point is this. Even though there undoubtedly are many kids who are zombies, fortunately there is a greater number of young folk who are splendidly adjusted.

Strangely enough, this meditation occurred while reading words of Saint Clare, an early disciple of Saint Francis of Assisi, who like every other writer I have read, emphasizes only the sorrow of Jesus on the cross. It seems to me that those who emphasize only the pain and sorrow of Christ miss the largest part of the message of the Cross. Surely Jesus must have felt deep pain and sorrow, but it seems to me there is something else that Jesus also felt. In addition to forgiveness for his executioners, it seems to me, throughout his sacrifice he felt love for all the people of this earth.

Even more poignantly, Jesus offered his sacrifice as an expression of his love for God the Father.

And it was this love, even love and respect for himself, which destroyed his pain. It was his love that transformed his pain. It was love that made him offer his pain to God the Father.

And when he did that he accomplished the biggest miracle of all, a miracle that touches our daily life every day of our life. The miracle is the destruction of pain through love.

How do I know this? Well, apart from personal anecdotal experience, I believe I have an objective proof of this validity of this assertion. It is reasonable to expect the face of anyone who goes through the agony of the cross to be distorted and contorted by pain. As evidenced by the Shroud, the face of Jesus remained serene and powerful to the end. For a logical proof of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, please see my essay titled “On the Equivalence of Matter to Energy and to Spirit” at http://www.internetjournals.net/journals/tar/2007/July/paper12.php or at http://somist.org/id31.htm.

It is love for our youth, love for their families, and even love for billionaires and capitalists that will generate the transformative power to overcome many intolerable horrors we encounter in today's world.


Deep thanks to Peter J. Bearse and David S. Wise for invaluable editorial assistance.

Carmine Gorga, PhD, is president of The Somist Institute and author of numerous publications in economic theory and policy. Mr. Gorga can be reached at cgorga@jhu.edu. He blogs at a-new-economic-atlas/


Originally published at http://www.spectacle.org/0911/gorga.html

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