The non-recovery in world economics. The battle within every individual person. The big meaning of the successful Verizon strike. What are all three about? And what is the relation among them? Read the important answers in “The Fight in Each of Us—& in Economics,” the magnificent new issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known.
The commentary by editor Ellen Reiss begins:
Dear Unknown Friends:
With this issue we begin to serialize the lecture Eli Siegel gave on November 15, 1974. It is a magnificent untitled talk about the relation between difficulties of mind and the ownership of a nation.
Aesthetic Realism is the philosophy which shows that the central fight in every person’s individual mind and the central fight in world economics are the same. There is a battle in everyone between respect, the desire to see meaning in things and people, and contempt—the feeling, I am important if I can look down on someone, manage things and people, and also put them aside, not think about them at all. That, too, is the big battle in economics: should things be produced, jobs be had, the nation be owned in a way that respects every man, woman, and child—or should an economy be run on a basis of contempt for millions of people?
In 1970, Mr. Siegel explained that economics based on seeing people in terms of how much money one can make from them had failed after hundreds of years and would never succeed again. That contemptuous economic way is the profit system, the “engine” of which is the following: “I, the employer, will pay you as little as I can for your labor, while getting you to supply me, through the work of your mind and body, with as much wealth as possible. I, who haven’t done the work, will seize as much as I can of the earnings you have produced, and leave you with as little as possible.” And to a possible buyer: “I’ll make you pay as much as I can for my product, whether it’s software or milk. The more desperate you are for it, the more I can make you pay and so the more victorious I feel; and I’ll sock you with that high price even if you suffer trying to pay it.” That’s what the profit motive comes to, despite the many attempts to make it look honorable.
Contempt Is the Reason
Mr. Siegel showed that the contempt at its basis is the essential reason the profit system has irretrievably broken down. And in terms of the individual mind: he showed that the essential cause of mental difficulty is also contempt.
Our minds were made to see meaning in the world. So as we try to make ourselves important through despising and belittling what we were born to value, our very beings object: we feel nervous, empty, are deeply unsure and profoundly displeased with ourselves. This self-trouble of the individual is like the failure of profit economics: both arise from contempt, because—whether in the privacy of one mind or in that massive economic structure of jobs, money, and ownership—contempt is not what human beings and reality are designed for…. >> Read more.