Thursday, January 8, 2009

War & Economy: Accumulation of Power & Value

It is sad to see people suffer as a consequence of the actions of others who try to achieve peace and contentment.

It is times of great strife like this that we come to appreciate the concept of paradise - the idea that we can wake up every morning to retirement for we then do not have to worry about having to work to fill our stomachs or shelter from the elements.

But when human beings are driven from paradise - from food, comfort and security - there arises in the hearts of people the great defensive mechanism called fear.

In normal situations (can any situation be normal outside paradise?), fear is placated by the accumulation of assets of value with which food and comfort may be obtained. People work hard and play hard and forget about their worries.

But even hard physical assets may crumble in value when people suffer a collective panic attack. The whole system shuts down and returns to reality - which is really nothingness.

The prophets and wise men then try to bring things back to "normal" by rebuilding the confidence of people collectively so that they can resume their "business" and work hard in order to forget about their worries.

But if the environment has become harsh - when people's lives are threatened after having witnessed their neighbours die - people take extreme measures to create fear in others so that they themselves can feel safe. They will try to use powers of rhetoric; and if this fails, they will try to use muscular power; and if this fails again, they will use explosive power to intimidate and render the other side powerless. All this while, they all get very hungry and very angry. They will try to regain their confidence by accumulating assets of power for defense, for the lack of opportunity to accumulate assets of future consumption value means there is no confidence in the future. People who rather die than live when the social fabric is torn. It is as if it is the time for the whales to beach.

People will stop fighting when they have lost the power to intimidate - or that wisdom has arisen in them which evaporates their desire to intimidate. This wisdom will arise when they realise the ephemeral nature of life, that what they are trying to do is something that will occur naturally enough and they are merely accelerating it for everyone, which defeats the purpose.

I suppose the descent into hell can be captivating as well and therefore quite engrossing. Hell because a different feeling arises which is different from the placid semi-unconscious state of breathing in and out that we generally get when we are blogging. The heart would probably beat faster and harder and our actions more decision and probably callous when we are in a game of real war. Afterall, the feeling of winning is elation and the price of failure is merely to expire - which may not be a bad way to go.

But it is always better to be a peace with oneself and one's neighbour.


mekyam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mekyam said...

hi etheorist,

i'm right now reading your back-entries and feeling like aladdin in the treasure cave for the first time. :D

[i trashed my earlier comment because there was the archive list, literally poking me in the face, and i didn't see it. duh!]

etheorist said...


If you happen to find the magic lamp, please do let me know.

mekyam said...

i most definitely will, etheorist. :D

Icarius said...

Found your blog through de minimis Sakmongkol and JDM. Impressive.

I've briefly read a few of the articles here and found them surprisingly holistic although the topic is economics. I salute the profound thinking involved here, showing that economics is merely one factor that affects life.

Just to add on, wealth, power, and many other things are all relative. And often, it is these "relative" values that make us insecure.

If we need to feel secure by knowing (or causing) others to be less wealthy or less powerful, then we are caught in this "relative" trap.

Perhaps it is these insecured ones that need to continuously prove how powerful they are, and how they can impose their version of their "peace" on others.

One thing different between us humans and the rest of the mammals is our ability to reflect and feel embarassment. Perhaps it is a much needed emotion.


etheorist said...


I am glad you enjoy the pieces.

I was alarmed when I first realised that the way we live is basically our reactions to our economic fears and negative feelings. Hence, we are always unhappy.

Ultimately, wisdom - the ability to see things as they are - is the key. Wisdom includes compassion as well as embrassment.