We are losing the battle for the future — especially of the Western world — because we are unable to think with clarity and quality. There are lots of technicians manipulating figures, and even larger assumptions, in order to make the present picture acceptable and appealing. But there are no thinkers who are able to grasp and comprehend the whole picture — and see the important consequences following from it.
The present economic and financial crisis is a clear indication how frail and fractured is the whole foundation of Western civilization and especially its thinking.
Let me go to the heart of the matter. The present crisis and partial collapse of Western civilization is not only the crisis of superficial economic theories and deceitful ethics and strategies of so-called financial instruments. It is above all the crisis of the entire thinking of the West. In philosophical language, we would say that it is a metaphysical crisis. The basic assumptions about the world and the human being in this world, assumed by the strategists of Western progress in the long run turned out to be superficial, deceptive and unreliable.
Let me offer you the first partial summary. Over and above economic theories, hypotheses and fictions (which were lauded as theories) what has fundamentally gone wrong was the Human Equation. The human being has been missing in the economic theories and assumptions, which were the basis of the 20th century Capitalism. The human aspirations, the human meaning and human fulfillment were all missing. Thus the whole thing was bound to collapse (and it did twice already) because the human person was eliminated from modern economics. The sanctified bottom line was too little and too much. Too little for human fulfillment. And too much when real human beings have been sucked into the vortex of the collapsing system. We are still behaving like well trained zombies and do not dare to see and acknowledge that it is precisely the inhuman nature of Capitalism that is the cause of the present havoc.
Yet the flawed metaphysics, which has led to the present collapse, has deeper roots and a longer history. We have started to tinker with the assumptions of the world-view, bequeathed to us by antiquity and Christianity, already in the 16th century and quite profoundly in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Thomas Hobbes (17th century) proposed that homo homini lupus (man is wolf to man). This is inhuman barbarism, which alas has been partly accepted within the corpus of present economic theories.
Then Newton claimed that we are nothing but mechanical bits in the mechanical clock-like universe. And this insight or assumption or fiction was also incorporated into our economic mechanistic thinking — without much reflection that it has profoundly alienated the human from his inner nature. Then Adam Smith came onto the stage and announced that the whole world is a free market regulated perfectly by the Divine Hand of Destiny. And we, seemingly rational human beings, accepted this blatant nonsense. It is really astonishing that so-called rational economists accepted and professed this obvious fiction as truth.
I am only just touching upon (and not analyzing in depth) these historical developments, which were of a philosophical nature. They were unproven assumptions, really fictions, as it turned out, which later became regarded as undeniable truths. And these assumptions were finally built into the exploitive theories and strategies of modern economics and, of course, of modern Capitalism.
By the metaphysical crisis of present Capitalism, I mean these various structures and new assumptions, which went into building the modern world-view, modern economics and Capitalism — which were profoundly unfriendly to the human person, and which have contributed to the impoverishment of human dignity and spirituality and robbed us of what is most precious in the human.
No form of Capitalism (of the future) can bring us back our dignity, spirituality, and this undeniable precious gift, which is called human meaning because Capitalism itself is a victim of the flawed metaphysics, which we have foolishly and half-deliberately developed during the last four centuries.
On this flawed metaphysics we cannot build a truly sustainable human society, a truly sustainable human meaning, a truly sustainable economic system! Let me mention parenthetically that the assertion that Capitalism is the most efficient economic system is a blatant nonsense. The most efficient economic systems are those, which lead to social harmony and to fulfilling lives of individuals. Capitalism has never fulfilled these two conditions.
Now to wrap up my scanty remarks about the metaphysical crisis of present Western thinking: who are the main culprits of this lamentable state of affairs? I will group them into some major groups.
• Gullible and superficial economics;
• Greedy and morally corrupt financiers and industrialists;
• The bulk of people of Western civilizations, who have accepted the show of puppets as the real thing;
• The main strategists and philosophers of the Western world views: Hobbes, Francis Bacon, Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Adam Smith etc; and finally…
• The main actor of the play — Western Civilization itself, whose main thrust, was to flatten, to mechanize and to homogenize everything.
Each of these groups and each human individual may say: it is not my fault. It is the others. But the final outcome is that we are a civilization, which is not a pride of history, but a shame of history. And what are we going to do about it?
The Era of Great Error has ended.
The New Era of Light is beginning.