This write-up tries to show, that Adam-Smith's notion, man was basically 'self-interested' had originated from a false-view on human-nature. Man is not guided by self-interest, but he is simply SELF-ROOTED, a metaphysical or spiritual trait.
Dear all men of mind, Reason, ideas and vision in the world...
( this include opinion leaders, top journalists,think-tanks, top university heads,religious-heads, philosophers and scientists)
What gives a scientific-theory prestige is its universal applicability;ie. if it able to explain every known physical phenomenon in the world, such theory is considered really true.Newton's theories had such universal applicability till the arrival of Quantum-physics.Now quantum-physics has thrown out every established concept and notion about our classical 'objective physical world'. Mankind is at cross-roads today. She struggles to connect all new findings of Quantum Physics with the real world, that once she had explained under classical physics!
This is an attempt to show, that 'SELF-INTEREST' as the root element of human-Nature, first propagated by Adam Smith was like world view of Classical-physics. It is time for us to entertain a new approach towards human Nature, a Quantum theory!
An often quoted passage from Adam Smith's 'The Wealth of Nations' is:
The NATURAL SELECTION theory of Charles Darwin had fitted well at almost every juncture with Adam Smith's theory of self-interest.Modern world has so far lived comfortably with the above two scientific-findings on human-nature, without any major contradiction so far.
Today we are having our social-quantum movement,with so many explanations pouring-in to explain one of the major issues that modern-world faces- Terrorism; what causes this wide-spread human-behavior? In many cases, terrorist plans are executed by SUICIDE-BOMBERS, wherein the attacker voluntarily die in the impact of the explosion. How would we explain such wide-spread act in the modern world as an act guided by SELF-INTEREST? Except probably with the 'selfish' motive of gaining entry into the PARADISE! This motivational factor is a 'firm belief' that many fanatic-religious believers keep as a mater of deep faith! This will clash with 'self-interest' factor in this world with that of 'benefit' of the act here, with its fruit in the next world!
Logically, such 'self-interest' factor might be valid to explain Islamic Terrorism. But understanding 'self-rooted' Nature of man might explain such extreme behavior of man better---
The chief purpose of this post is aimed at examining the difference between self-interest and self-rootedness, and see its better-applicability and relevance in explaining human-behavior, both individualistic, as well as collective.
Historical factors that helped upholding the individual centrality in human-society, that lead to self-interest theory
Individual man was never an isolated object and entity till the end of middle-age. Man was merely a cog- in the various collective human-masses till then.Individual's interest or whims were never allowed to over-ride that of the collective.Like animals in herds, human beings were either mass religious-communities,warrior-tribes, agri-communities etc, wherein individual was a close-knit part and parcel of the group.
It is said that, the invention of printing had helped man to ascertain man's inalienable rights as an individual, against the hegemony of collective-agencies like Church and polity.Teaching of the Church, earlier read and understood only by clergy-men, has now reached each-man in the form of individual-bible in his hand. Man was able to establish his direct relation with God, and this realization and ascertainment of his unique status as a person in the world was that lead LOCKE to establish his theory of inalienable rights of human-person.
We all know that,Locke's ideas and teaching had played a central role in drafting the constitution of America, and the declaration of their independence. American revolution was a real land-mark for establishing individual-rights in modern world. Modern capitalism had originated as its real-world expression or translation of individual-liberty of man. The independence of the entrepreneur represented what America thought, individual-liberty expressed in its fullest sense !
The spirited fathers of American constitution like Jefferson etc.also had important roles in up-holding the new mantra, that every institution and law must stand to protect and safe-guard liberty of man. This was a revolutionary silver-line in the history of man !
Adam Smith said, it is not from the benevolence of the Butcher or the Baker that we have our dinner, but from their propensity of 'self-interest'.That was a very idealistic assessment of human-nature, as well as about inter-personal economic relation. In modern capitalism, the smart-entrepreneur-ship of the butcher always expands his investment world by entering the field of baker too, thus sending him packed-off his business ! Modern entrepreneurs usually are multi-product handlers, butcher,brewer,baker,tiller,banker and many more fields under one umbrella, thus seriously jeopardizing the classical free-market demand-supply balance and natural pricing factors up-side down.He,besides making his empire of multi-products and services, also keeps his interest and influence in the country ruling and law-making realms, thanks to modern democratic govt's compulsion in achieving ECONOMIC-DEVELOPMENT of their respective nations, and their close-dependence upon the entrepreneurs class for achieving the said goal.
Thus the 'invisible-hand' of the free-market mechanism that Adam Smith had envisaged to usher-in welfare and gradual wealth of every member of the society, as real world-experience of many centuries has shown, remained a mirage. In the neo-capitalistic world, the rich turns hugely rich, throwing up-to 99% of population into mere survival level of existence.Wealth and comforts get confined, or ice-balled into the hands of a very small percentage in society. In other words, capitalism has no clear attitude towards others in society,except competition,or altruism, first to let the best to survive, and the second to mercifully let all the defeated and beaten majority to continue existing in society at bare survival level !
Every authentic,real world study of capitalistic world, for eg.the recent Zurich University study, or that conducted by Oxfam, revealed that, more than 55% of world's wealth and resources are in the hands of a mere 70 or 80 business families ! ( much less than 1%)
Capitalism:The world of commodities; Its particular materialistic VALUE that seeped into every aspect of modern world, and KILLED the centrality of individual and all moral values in society
The pattern of human-development that followed the Enlightenment era was crystal clear. There was a spurt of scientific discoveries, such as Steam-Engine, Electricity, telegram, the Railway, Printing... and an unending other life-improving amenities. Using the new steam-ships, discovery of new lands, and their Colonization followed. Raw-materials that flowed from the new lands to the factories in Europe had flooded the market with commodities. These finished products or commodities went back to the new world in abundance,sold there,thus hugely bulging the pockets of the entrepreneurs with never-before seen surplus capital and real,abundant WEALTH! Classical economic theory of diminishing marginal returns ( this is a theory about consumption;with each addition unit of consumption, consumer's degree of satisfaction gets reduced) has only few exceptions; major one is about WEALTH;with every additional adding-up of the unit of wealth, negative of the above theory happens- - -instead of satisfaction getting reduced, it gets enhanced with every unit of additional unit !Yes; WEALTH never tires man, or reduce his degree of satisfaction. It goes on increasing ever, with every unit of addition.
Thus, producing more and more, and reaping more and more profit has become a sanctified affair for the class of entrepreneurs, and modern world has turned around to accommodate the above thought line,culture and norms. Anything that does not produce some gain or profit was looked-down-upon, with despise and contempt. Thus pure-knowledge for its-own sake, local cultures,art,religious traditions etc.had to accept low-key status, and considered worth-less activities. ( Please share our blog that handles the said assault of capitalistic world view on modern world at link:http://leadingdogmasthatruletheworld.blogspot.in/)
For them, world itself has turned a commodity, or an avenue for selling more and more,and reaping more and more economic success and profit. The new democratic-political form of government added to this obsession. As once mentioned above, these new political creatures were obsessed with bringing DEVELOPMENT of the same sort that these newly wealthy entrepreneur class had introduced into the new world. They had high-rise mansions, exotic locomotives for travel,instant communication gadgets like phones, new ways of clothing,foot-wear and new style of behavior. It is heard that, many a British Nobles were willing to exchange their knight-hoods etc in exchange of the exotic-items the new entrepreneur class brought from the exotic-lands !
Artisans and small-time traders in Europe were wooed into the factories as WORKERS, as there was a huge shortage of them at the manufacturing centers.The entire world has become a work-place sooner or later and majority of population a work-force. Latest statistics from India shows that almost 51% of rural population ( almost 71 % of total population lives in rural areas) are manual laborers ! Individual liberty when allowed to flourish in the capitalistic model of societies, the 1% most successful will need majority of OTHERS as accessories and ancillaries in the production distribution system for surplus capital to accumulate, and for the wealth of nations to turn a reality !
While the self-interest of the entrepreneur gave him immense individual liberty with their role as providers of jobs,commodities and development, the rest of the population had to sacrifice it for earning their livelihood.Whether modern world and its masters agree or not, real liberty has got very narrowly limited to those who held wealth or some share in political power !
Though a remarkable revolution had emerged in the world in the name of communism, in retaliation against the exploitation of man and his liberty this way, it did not result in emancipation of man; it offered only yoke of a different kind on the shoulders of man, that of the tyranny of the communist party-leadership.World had no model of governance known, except the RIGHTIST model,wherein the powerful naturally hold power over the weak and unprivileged.
It was indeed a sad and unfortunate twist in the history of human-liberty and individual sovereignty;a great and unique ideal that reiterated and upheld rights and liberty of man had degenerated into an economic and political institutions that had no VALUE, or UTILITY for it ! Thus, once again, mankind got drowned into middle-age's Feudalism like socio-political system. Individual and his identity and dignity stood extremely vulnerable to gross despise, abuse and even frequent violation !
It was caused by the great error of attributing self-interest as the natural motivational energy of man !
Man indeed is a Sovereign SELF obviously in nature,but was it right to interpret it as SELF-INTEREST ? Or was it better to understand it as SELF-ROOTED-NESS, in a deeper metaphysical meaning and sense ?This is the core theme of this discussion.
Difference between self-interested and self-rooted
While self-interest denote a central, physical-object like property of man, say, gravity, self-rooted denotes his metaphysical character, or connection.It is simple;man for science, is a certain manifestation of matter, sharing its self-preservation traits. He is guided by self-preserving, energy-saving and information processing faculties, so that he sustain here on planet-earth. This approach is mechanical and even mathematical.He is just another object among millions of other physical objects and phenomena in the world.
This writer realizes the difficulty for the average Scientific tempered modern man to accept, or even remotely consider propositions indicating a spiritual dimension of man, because word 'SPIRITUAL' bears a certain stigma attached to objective,empirical science. If men of science abandon this stigma and root prejudice, and look at spiritual-dimension with a true-scientific eye, or with a true-scientific-spirit ruled detachment,a great war would be won !
Science must realize that there are vast realms of study and great gaps between science and the typical God realm of religions. This realm is the yet unexplored, untouched, meta-quantum realm. Should man go on entangling further and further at the mysteries and chaos of quantum-realm ? Shouldn't she start afresh from considering man or life as the end product of existence, and treat physical realm merely as its structure-material ?
If such a great-paradigm shift is initiated by science and mankind, looking at the self-rooted-ness of man,separated from the present dogma of self-interest would become easier. Each man is connected with his existential essence or root,whatever it might be,directly.He is an OBJECT, an external-phenomenon, only in the eyes of the third-party beholders.He is ruled and directed, and his behavior controlled by Newtons's laws like existential DRIVES. Following link has a write-up, listing some of these very distinct drives that no open mind could refute their presence within: http://unrecognizedobjectsofthemind.blogspot.in/
Power states and science were always such institutions that preferred to look at man from outside, as an object among other objects in the world. Science and politics were institutions made by, and for nature and human-masses controlling and manipulating agencies. They were never made by concerned,genuine individuals for their own sake and intellectual-enlightenment.So, the pathetically SUBJECTIVE man unfortunately turned 'objective' in his out-look about himself, a shut-door phenomenon for ever !
The phenomenon of getting possessed by some or other SPIRIT of the world
He would get into the mold of a mass-creatures, ie. one who goes with the crowd for considerable periods of time, but nature can not hold-back him from ascertaining his metaphysical self-rooted-ness, status and reality in existence for ever ! Many a times, individuals might go almost NEUROTIC, by allowing themselves to get 'possessed' by the SPIRIT of many collective identities, such as a frenzied gang of communal or racial haters and killers, piece in a violent mob often inspired by a Leader figure for unleashing atrocities on opposite party-men, or the real-time example of Jihadists, inspired by ISIS propaganda ! This is a typical transformation of the EGO self-identity of man; he will have to identity himself with some or other 'spirit' of the world around, depending upon one's birth,education&learning, his immediate community etc. Interested among you may learn more on this phenomenon from dedicated study on this,at link: http://anatomyofrealities.blogspot.in/2013/08/thinking-understanding-it-as-internal.html
Explanation on 'self-rooted' nature of man continued....
The many revolutions, excessively bloody at times in history, that had seen world steadily getting-out of her socially and politically EXCLUSIVE ways to more and more open and socially and politically INCLUSIVE ways are plain,hard evidences of what has been proposed above. Individuals and societies could be temporarily held captives, controlled and suppressed for some time, but NOT for ever. His roots deeply extending to the not yet fully known metaphysical, or meta-quantum nature and destiny is a self-evident and plain reality, as American founding fathers had very rightly scripted in their constitution document.
If man was simply self-interest driven, he would never have gotten free from his animal stage of life, because, self-interest nature of man had NOT began from the time of Adam-Smith.He simply imposed such an attribute upon man, to explain certain economic behavior of him during the initial stages of man's entry into commerce as a full-time engagement, at least that of certain class of them.We have seen in one of the above paragraphs what is the state-of affairs of the free-enterprise dilemma; one multinational corporate can act as both a giant tiller,baker,brewer and butcher in the name of self-interest, and swallow the entire mankind, its institutions and governments, and also the whole planet Earth !. The 'invisible hand' that Adam Smith envisioned in the self-interest-ridden Capitalist system, that he had thought would correct the over accumulation of wealth into fewer hands naturally,and ensure even distribution (egalitarian) of life-amenities,social relevance in human-society HAVE NOT SEEN HAPPENING during the more than two centuries of its reign !
Therefore, one is compelled to conclude that, self-interest in the sense Adam Smith had meant was NOT the natural propensity of man that would ensure smooth sustainability of human-societies.
The very SELF of man, in its very ontic-entity as a being, plainly derives from his perceiving himself as a REALITY before his fellow-beings around him; readers are invited to share its astonishing details at:http://anatomyofrealities.blogspot.in/.
Above arrangement is essentially similar to the inevitability of a 'civil-society' for upholding concepts like 'human-liberty' and freedom; such rights and status become real-world,effective realities apropos a mutually constituted civil-arrangement and mutually-consented agreement. An independent jungle-man could only assert and gain this rights by physically defeating all others.Similarly, for the ontic-visibility and tangibility of one's very SELF, man NEED SOME-OTHER, to bestow it to him under existential laws or scheme,as it was made clear at the above referred link.It was about this NEED to PROBE INTO THE ENERGY SYSTEM of nature that makes SELF and WORLD that we had appealed to SCIENCE in the middle-part of this paper; she need to abandon all her prejudices,pre-notions and stigmas about God and religion to lay hands on the treasure of knowledge around such themes.
Man is a unique DOOR, or an aperture for nature to reveal herself. So, she opted to evolve him SELF-ROOTED, and NOT self-interested ! We would invite serious and committed readers to read-through our dedicated write-up at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141107171426-97217672-how-the-pathetically-subjective-man-created-an-objective-world?trk=mp-author-card
He,by nature,destined to use his sense of Reason himself,independently gather data and knowledge about external world as well as his spiritual roots and then define his SELF in a sovereign act.When this spiritual nature stands restricted and disturbed for longer periods, nature gets restless, and then individuals and groups turn tools in her hands to crush the existing social-system and restore atmosphere for further free-development of above natural human-spirit !
No man can endure living perpetually in a crowd,without no option for some solitary moments every-day or at least in a week available to spend with himself. He definitely has two distinct nature, individual and collective. Without a healthy balance of of the two, his life gets non-aligned, disturbed and unstable like a free-radical in the sub-atomic world.
Our system of present collective,( polity and political economy) though was exclusively devised and meant to safe-guard this sovereignty of the INDIVIDUAL, had severely degenerated around its primary motive. The system had turned owners,masters and wholesale-dealers of human-rights,dignity and liberty,where citizens were required to plea for their rights,virtually by evoking MERCY many a times ! State institutions had turned mightily powerful, equipped with the tool of discrimination in their hands, both for civil as well as economic privileges.
With our above knowledge about man's self-rooted nature, how could we link and explain major world events listed at the subject column ?
What we could observe throughout in history is a pattern of rising-up, of a person or a community/group against large-scale homogeneity imposed on people, always followed by suppression of individual creativity and distinctiveness. Nation states originated when the hegemony of Church had become unbearable for many sovereignty loving young Royalists. The new class of entrepreneurs assisted them in building-up their States,thus posing serious threat to Feudalism, as well as authority of Church. It was a virtual collapse of the old order, and the beginning of a new one. Cases of Frederick the great of Prussia and Henry-V11 of England are always cited as best examples of this phenomenon.
European Colonization was a mix of many motivations. The unprecedented spurt of human-creativity,adventurism and liberty of mind that had resulted after the collapse of the Church was one of the chief-cause.We know that many of the early settlers in America were victims of religious persecution in Europe !
The point we try to highlight here is the irrepressible spirit of freedom of human-individual.No quantum of materialistic prosperity can stop this existential urge of man.
Capitalism was the real exalted celebration of the free-human spirit !That very special age of unprecedented human-freedom and the rise of human-spirit ( Enlightenment era) saw to it that,nothing should stop the human-free spirit ! Entrepreneurs were given all the support and encouragement to flourish their businesses, and share their fruit of success with others, in the form of overall development of human-status on earth; broad-roads,railways,grand-ships,air-crafts,computers,sky-scrappers and telephones - -all made possible by the surplus wealth produced by this class !
As we found as usual in history, capitalism too produced great discontentment in society. While one section in society enjoyed major fruits of capitalism, one of its chief resources or components- the labor class - started feeling restlessness.The toil in the factories, its heat and smoke, the life of workers in ghettos, the great inequality in the life-situations and social-relevance of the working class; all these factors constituted to create one of the great divide in human-society, ie. that between the haves and have-notes, or the right and the left.
As on today, the winner is the Rightists block, as Russia conceded defeat after the end of the historic Cold-war. China too conceded ideological defeat by adopting capitalistic ways of production and distribution.The chief reason for the defeat of the Left ( Communism) was that, the Left had no alternative management and value system other than that of the Capitalist block, to run the factories and also their nations ! The life of common citizens in Communist society was worse than that at the other-side.
Though communism stands failed as an alternative out-look on life and societies,it is evident that, it was originated as a reaction to the evils of Capitalism.
Now, before taking-up its role behind the current central issue of modern-world, Islamic Terrorism,let us have a look the capitalistic-special values that spread all over the world,shrinking space for every other religions,cultural,world and life views.
The VALUE system that capitalistic-world has propagated
Capitalism had brought to the world, in addition to the gross inequalities referred in few of the above paragraphs, few very particular values too; that of consumerism,the use and throw tradition, naked exploitation of nature,markets,communities, traditional moral-values, old-believes and traditions and whatever stood in the way of unbridled market expansion of neo-products and services.Capitalistic world wanted to convert the entire world into a one large-valley of consumers and buyers ! They smartly and even clandestinely worked for destroying old traditions and beliefs that prevented men and women from turning blind consumers of modern-world's trade-mark life-style products and culture. They wanted to convert all the nations and its people into one single religion, the religion of mass-consumerism. Life has no meaning but to live it out! One of our blogs specifically delve deeply into this VALUE aspect of capitalistic world:http://leadingdogmasthatruletheworld.blogspot.in/
The consumption of these products and services often required drastic alterations to old belief systems and cultural practices. For example, if men and women of a particular country or culture stick on to wearing traditional attires, or certain-food-habits, for the capitalist-producers, they are unconquered regions !
Many old colonies of Europe had succumbed,and tuned almost Western in culture. Or in other words, typical consumers and buyers of latest communication,food,entertainment products and gadgets, or as work-force in the many factories these multi-national corporate-houses opened in each such country. Each of these nations wanted to become like the Europeans, their one time masters, not only in life-style, but also in speaking their language and adopting their culture. This culture inspires men to unabashedly go for life in all its possibilities and potentials,with least inhibitions or baggage about any culture,religion,moral or principle.
This new capitalist culture asked people to adopt a new religion; that of PLURALISM and MULTICULTURALISM. This is an approach devoid of any one path of truth,but just consume and end life in violently relishing the needs of the body to the maximum. Danger of this modern religion ( pluralism and multiculturalism) is described at link:http://dangersofpluralisticworldview.blogspot.in/
Authored by; Abraham J. Palakudy
An independent Philosophy,mind and polity researcher and seeker.
Comments welcome to : email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org