498. Conspiracy theories revisited
498. Conspiracy theories revisited
497. What can we learn from Corona?
From Hegel I learned that one gets to know something in its failure or its shortcomings. That opens your eyes for the thing’s limits. The resulting slogan is: Do not waste a good crisis. What are we learning from the present breakdown of society, with the Corona crsis? Conclusions can only be tentative, since developments are ongoing.
How long will banks be able to be lenient on loans and mortgages? They now have larger buffers than they did before, due to measures taken after the financial crisis of 2008, but those are limited, and banks may start falling again. Will they be bailed out again at the cost of citizens?
496. Stoicism and hope
Stoicism, originating with Zeno in the 3rd century BC and influential until the 3rd century AD, with Marcus Aurelius. Seneca and Epictetus, has had considerable influence. It pleaded for invulnerability, in autarky, i.e. self-sufficiency, in a simple life, and not letting oneself be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, accepting the moment as it occurs, using one's mind to understand the world and to do one's part in nature's plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.
There is much to be said for it it for weathering the present storm of the Corona virus, in being thrown back on oneself or one’s family, lack of recreation, in sports or entertainment, social distancing, with few social contacts, no services with bodily contact, and so on.
One can object that it is a philosophy of distrust, no hope, no room for improving the challenges and risks of life, no thymos, the urge to manifest oneself and engage with the world, and even smacks of cowardice. It disables entrepreneurship.
The literature on trust renders confidence as surrender to the inevitable, such as laws of nature or policy measures of the state, on which one has no or little influence, and where one cannot feel sorry afterwards for submitting to it. This in contrast to trust, where one could have avoided risk, and creates risk voluntarily, and can regret it afterwards.
Stoicism accepts confidence, pleads for resilience and robustness to inevitable disappointments, and discourages trust. An example would be Schopenhauer, who preached distrust and suspicion.
As indicated, with Corona we can now benefit from the prudence, autarky and resilience of stoicism, but can we do without trust and hope?
The future is uncertain, and can harbour both threat and promise. Now, one can look at it in despair, but loss of hope yields loss of strength and initiative. Here confidence, faith in nature, can breed defeatism and deepen the crisis. Hope is needed to take action and survive. One can try to see opportunity and what good remains, appreciate what formerly one took for granted.
So, what to do? The wisdom of stoicism lies not in inaction but in engagement with what is within the scope of one’s possibilities, and to achieve invulnerability or resilience or disregard to what lies beyond them. Could you safely support care for the sick and the vulnerable, such as vagrants, the elderly, and the indigent?
495 Rise and fall of theistic religion
Theistic religions are not exempt from the need for terror to sustain the absolute, as exhibited in old Christian crusades and inquisition, and present Islamic fundamentalism, and terrorism, which have the appeal of returning to the purity of old, rejecting the niceties and decadence of democracy and diversity.
In Western society Enlightenment ideals, inspired among others by Spinoza, have served to provide the pure, Platonic, and universal in reason and knowledge. Elsewhere in this blog I noted the demise of the old culture of delving for the deep, the fundamental, the abstract, which is being replaced by the rush and race of the superficial. If that is now being lost, what next will appear to satisfy the urge for the pure and perfect? Will there be a return to God, or a new ideology?
494. Power, people and things
I have been pleading for t
I have been pleading for the view of multiple, Aristotelian causality, for human activity, recognising not only the efficient cause, but also the motivation of the final cause, and the availability of material and formal causes and environmental, conditional causes of nature and institutions, and the exemplary cause of paradigms or role models. That gives an alternative approach to management. This is in fact known in the business literature as magement by giving, the material, the knowledge and technology, the motivation, and the leading example for work. Here, capital is not what leads labour but enables it, provides the nmeans and conditions for it.
493. Nature, nurture and pre-wiring