Sunday, June 11, 2006

Integrationism and cultural Renaissance

Included is another essay that takes a single theme - integration of opposites with eye toward creation of optimal consummation - and applies it to various areas of life, from relationships to politics to art.

I see this as a useful method, and one that I hope you the reader will as well.


Integrationism and Cultural Renaissance

"But man has a need beyond living and securing his welfare, and quite another destiny than to comprehend the phenomena that surround him."
- Friderich Schiller, On the Sublime

Part 1. Integrationism

Schiller has defined beauty this way: the accord between reason and sensuousness. And indeed, when one looks at a forest, a dolphin or through a telescope at a galaxy, one sees the celebration of both reason and sensuousness - a celebration, indeed, of the reason and sensuousness of the universe of which these things are a part. A maple that has been chiseled to perfection over millions of years is a celebration of everything that made it - the elegance of the four forces, the power of the sun, the incredible life-supporting conditions of planet Earth and the environment it inhabits. It may be possible, assuming agreement with those who do not believe in theistic creation, to claim that these forces are blind; but that makes the process and the result still more miraculous.

Hegel spoke of universe as being a result of dialectical refinement of opposites - as consciousness taking form in opposite forces which, through synthesis with one another, refine toward spirit. He claimed that all of history has been a result of this synthesis, and the intended result is to bring everything toward optimal state. Whether or not that is true, the more the opposite forces work with one another intelligently the more beautiful is the result. When two opposite forces - forces such as male and female; forces such as business and government; forces such as genius and structure; forces such as reason and emotions - fundamentally comprehend and respect one another, and understand also their own nature as well as the legitimate parameters of their own role, they arrive at a synergy that makes far, far more than is either force acting alone. The result is synthesis. A product. Not spirit, not heaven, but rather something new and beautiful that is greater than the sum of its parts.

This then is the mechanism of cultivation of beauty according to Schiller, as well as the mechanism of achieving the best of history according to Hegel: integration, reconciliation and recombination of existents. And indeed the applications for this approach are nothing short of universal. For capital and labor that work in understanding and mutual agreement with one another, as in the case of the Clinton economy, produced far better results than capital and labor that work against one another, as in the case of the Industrial Revolution. It likewise produced better results than slave economy or Communist state, in which one class dominated the other. Indeed it produced results far more satisfying to both worker and capitalist, results that produced the beautiful fruit of peace and prosperity, as well as a better product. A marriage in which the emotional and sexual feelings of people for one another accord with values of the relationship, and vice versa, is a beautiful relationship, one in which both partners blossom as does their love. And a mind whose emotional and rational, as well as ethical and aesthetic, aspects accord with one another is a beautiful mind. In all cases, the best synthesis has been accomplished, using the mechanism of the human thought to arrive at the best outcome vis-à-vis the components from which the synthesis is made.

It is known from science that after the Big Bang were formed the four forces. It is known also that light exists in a spectrum of colors, with their union together forming the white. This is consistent with Plotinus concept that the One, or the primal unity, which he equates with God, emanates existents in a multiplicity of dimensions, which existents then struggle and refine among one another to produce the world in which we exist. In other words, the primal unity turns into a multiplicity in order that the universe can exist as a reification; which multiplicity can be consummated, through a dialectical synthesis, to arrive at a product that is better than anything that has existed before. Once consummated into a product, a unity – consummation – has been achieved, and divine harmony is restored, with a product created out of the components that would not have possibly existed before.

But the Hegelian model is only partly complete. After all, it is not only through synthesis with its opposite that a thing is improved, nor is there at all times merely a single measurement variable determining the quantification. Life can be represented far more as a multivariable system in which there are multiple axes of measurement, and as such there are multiple dimensions along which value can be quantified. Best results are achieved, I posit, through synthesis along all these dimensions, arriving at an integration that reconciles and consummates all forces that are at hand – a multidimensional dialectic; a creative unity from a multiplicity; a high-minded, creative solution that unites the components into a product; what Steven Covey referred to as synergy.

That it is given to us as shapers of the social universe in which we live to create products of all existents through creative synergistic synthesis and reconciliation along the dimensions of multiplicity, I call the philosophy of integrationism.

Part 2. Ethics and Aesthetics

It is normally held that reason and emotions are opposites to one another. I have heard people say frequently that their thoughts and their feelings told them different things; this of course is typically due to ideologies and injunctions shaping their reason to act against what their emotions tell them, or else due to psychological forces and traumas shaping their emotions into distorted shapes. To people who say that emotions are not to be trusted, the correct response is: Make yourself trustworthy to your emotions, and they will trust you. Practice rational-emotional integration. Practice reconciliation between the sensuous and the rational, starting with an approach toward the emotions that is understanding rather than judgmental. Talk to your emotions and let them talk back to you. Build a relationship with your emotions based on mutual acceptance and understanding in partnership for happiness, and not one based on rejection and perpetuation of abuse. And thus arrive at an integrated character, a character in which reason and emotions are in accord.

The same is to be told to people who distrust sexuality. Sexuality is a subset of nature, and sexuality that feels itself wrong is a sexuality that is inhibited, whether through traumatic experience such as incest or rape or through poisonous ideologies such as Puritanism and the Wolf-McKinnon-Dworkin feminazism. Complex emotions surrounding sexuality reflect the complexity of both nature and civilization, and the honorable solution is not to blame the medium, as many do, for the problem, but rather to understand the facts of life well enough to undo the emotional damage of traumatic experience and undo the mental and psychological damage of traumatic ideologies to forge these emotions into something beautiful, developed, cultivated and benign - into something, that is, that produces poetry and art; into something that is both loving and life-supporting; into something that accords with developed reason; into something that is - beautiful.

Since ethics determine what we value and aesthetics determine what we like, happiness is dependent upon our ethics and our aesthetics being in harmony with one another. That is, for a person to achieve inner peace, there must be an area of intersection between his values and his likes, and he must live at that subset. The greater that area of intersection, the more the chances there are for happiness; the rational and the emotional, or the ethical and the aesthetic, have to possess a way to intersect, or else happiness becomes mathematically unattainable. Inhabiting the region of ethics without aesthetics is grim joyless duty and obligation, and living there results in ongoing misery. Inhabiting the region of aesthetics without ethics is the forbidden pleasures, and going there results in guilt. Where ethics and aesthetics intersect, is happiness.*

Sri Aurobindo stated that the sum total of ethical endeavor is to live one’s life beautifully. He of course meant that the person was to act in a beautiful manner – a manner that is kind, loving, dignified, self-controlled and elegant. In view of his perspective, as in view of the previous, it is incumbent upon people to cultivate integration between their ethics and their aesthetics, with that which is aesthetically pleasing being understood and then either valued or altered – and that which is valued either being made palatable to the aesthetic sense or dismissed. In this injunction, is the ultimate recipe for integration of the ethical and the aesthetic – a moral code demanding upon the sum total of man’s activities to aim at beauty in all its forms and to lead, through mechanism of man’s activity, to formation of a beautiful world – beautiful in its physical, relational and human aspects. It is thus a recipe for integration and happiness. When Beadelaire said “Make life beautiful, make life beautiful” he was giving an ethical and not merely aesthetic injunction. It is, in my view, a very workable ethic; one that is applied with greatest of success in Paris, San Francisco, Barcelona, Florence, Prague, Edinburgh – in the best places in the world. Civilizations are judged by artifacts they leave behind and ways in which they treat people. Both can be done in a beautiful manner or ugly manner – and in both cases the ethic of beauty is tantamount.

The person who is attracted to another person without valuing her as a person commits a theft – a theft of failure to compute value. He fails to morally value what he aesthetically likes and, having through whatever methods acquired what he has sought in pursuit of his aesthetics, proceeds to hurt her instead of doing the thing that honesty would demand – value and cherish her. The most common example of this is the case of the men who are attracted to glamorous, artistic women, but value in a woman the opposite traits – the traits of servility, humility and traditional values. If this kind of man marries the kind of woman to whom he is attracted, he (and to a far greater extent she) is bound to living in misery, as her personality would be the opposite of what he values, and he would seek to eviscerate her. If such a man marries the kind of woman he values, on the other hand, he would be sexually and emotionally unfulfilled and most likely seek adulterous relationships. For a happy relationship to take place, the man must alter either his values or his likes until he either finds a way to value the kind of woman to whom he is attracted, or else finds a way to like the kind of woman he considers the paragons of moral virtue. The most common alternative – of marrying the glamorous woman and then trying to destroy her personality and self-esteem in order to bludgeon her into compliance with the traditional wife role – is miserable for him and, in my view, criminal due to the amount of agony it inflicts upon the woman.

The same is the case for women’s attractions. It is common for women to be attracted to the macho character, but to value in a relationship the man who would treat them well. Now at the risk of provoking to anger the entire feminine gender, good treatment of women is not in the description of the Rambo character. He is most likely to see himself as superior to women, to be violent, to be more loyal to his buddies than to his wife, and to be prone to adultery, gambling, drinking, flirtation and other behaviors that are devastating to the woman emotionally. The provider character isn’t much better, seeing his wife as property and treating her as worse than property – as property that had the insolence to possess a will of her own that can at times disagree with his own, a will that by all means had to be stamped out. A woman therefore needs to decide what she values and let her values lead ahead of her likes – or learn to value what she likes and stop complaining when her likes lead her to bad situations.

Both man and woman are at a disadvantage, due to historical errors that pit the ethical and the aesthetic against each other. The attitudes that create a rupture between the ethical and the aesthetic – the attitudes that tell people that their desires are sinful, or that there is no use for sensitive and romantic women, or that women are irrational or evil, or that men are out to use women for sex – are the attitudes that are responsible for such abuse. Effectively, they cause a separation between the ethical and the aesthetic; which leads to ugliness and suffering for everyone whose lives a person may touch – the ugliness that he frequently goes out of his way to make sure to be the reality of the lives of people around him. A person whose aesthetics and ethics are contradictory to each other – a person who is attracted to one set of qualities but values another - is a miserable individual who inflicts misery on other people. Such a person simply cannot be happy, and he would not bear for anyone else to be less wretched than he.

St. Paul said that the wishes of the spirit and the wishes of the flesh are contradictory to each other. I suggest that this is an error; for as anyone who’s been in love knows, love involves both a spiritual and a physical longing – the feelings for the loved one and cravings for her are both spiritual and sexual at once. A partner who is both spiritually developed and physically beautiful evokes both spiritual craving and sexual desire; and in the best relationships, there is both spiritual love and physical affection at once. Spirit and flesh are two distinct existents within the human being – and in the best situations, the happy situations, the harmonious situations, the two work in accord and in collaboration. In Schiller’s beautiful character, the two are in agreement with one another – and in beautiful social covenants, both the emotional and the rational, like the aesthetic and the ethical, are integrated using the mechanism of the human mind and will into the best synthetic product.

Russian Communist candidate Gennady Zuyganov said, “A smart woman is fine. A beautiful woman is fine. But a woman who’s both smart and beautiful is the scariest thing in the world.” As she should be – for him. A woman who’s both beautiful and smart contains in herself the secret of happiness – the accord between reason and sensuousness - a refutation to the collectivist misery which the Communist party preached. Someone who stimulates both the reason and the emotions can present a point of intersection of the ethical and the aesthetic and as such refute by counterexample the misery-inducing ideologies that seek to make people believe ecstatic happiness to be unattainable in this lifetime. But it is very well attainable. It is attained when people value beauty and love goodness. When the reason is developed enough to join with the best of emotion, and emotion is developed enough to join with the best of reason and morality. When reason and sensuousness are in accord.

The discordance between many people’s ethical and aesthetic values can be understood from the psychological perspective. Our values, except for the case of people who put a lot of thought into making their own values or else adopted a belief system radically different from that of their hometown, are largely the result of childhood reinforcement. In perhaps every society, men and women are reinforced differently. Yet, with the exception of homosexuals, men and women make partnerships with each other. To both like and value a different-gender partner, we therefore have to recognize value in things other than what is similar to us – we have to extend ourselves to embrace something different from ourselves – different also from how we have been reinforced; men have to learn to understand and to value feminine traits and mentality, and women need to learn to understand and to value masculine approach to life. Scott Peck said love is an act of extending ourselves for the purpose of another person’s spiritual growth; the spiritual growth achieved here is likewise one’s own, that of integrating into one’s personality an appreciation for something that is not of oneself.

Needless to say, this does not result in easy peace but in dynamic equilibrium, a state that constantly takes mental effort in order to sustain. It results in a polarity, in a synergy, that makes the most of both components. The process is an ongoing synthesis and refinement; a Zarathurstra’s acrobat bestriding the marketplace on a tightrope, a juggling, until the synergy has been made complete into a product and the goal – the consummation - has been reached. This is how the multiplicity is unified and a product is shaped. True peace – a state of ongoing synthesis and integration among dimensions of multiplicity – a state of beauty - is therefore a dynamic process involving thought and ingenuity. The other solution is that of one side of the dialectic driving the other side into extinction; a war solution, a domination solution, a lazy solution that fails to produce a product and results in ugliness, waste of resources, unhappiness and prevention of inputs from producing anything better than what they are in themselves.

For those who do not like dynamism and want to seek stability, the response is: Life is dynamic. Life requires a homeostasis, yes, but it requires also constant motion and work in order to defeat entropy. Life has to be both balanced and dynamic; within itself it has to possess homeostasis and it has to move ahead. True maximization as living beings is neither the simple straight-line progress of the West nor the circular harmony of the East; it is rather a combination of two, a spiral heading upwards, a helix in which the motion is both circular and linear, with each cycle along one set of dimensions resulting in an uplifting of human condition along another dimension of measurement toward a more advanced state, or, if interrupted at any point in the process, heading downwards to continue the process again once the destructive influence has passed.

The finding that happiness can only result when likes and values are in harmony with each other necessitates that both ethical and aesthetic development proceed in a manner that is harmonious with each other – through development of the aesthetic sense with help of art and literature that integrates beauty with virtue and develops emotions into forms that are noble and beautiful, while providing an equally elegant conceptual structure that intellectually accommodates emotional understanding. The high purpose of art is thus to communicate to senses and to emotions the universal order - to communicate the ecstasy, the majesty, the magnificence of the universe in which we live. The high purpose of art is to communicate the truth in a way that is accessible to emotions - in a way that the feelings can catch on and that can bring into expression that they can fathom the higher truth of the world. The high purpose of art is to express what is true and what is lasting - what is true, that is, to the universe, whether it find its reflection in passions that run through us or in fractals and logarithms or in the substance from which has come matter and time.

The high purpose of science and philosophy is to communicate the same truth in a way that is accessible to reason.

The goal of therapy as aiming at increasing the person’s chances of happiness should be to bring reason and emotions, or ethics and aesthetics, into accord. This will result in an integrated character who values what he wants and wants what he values, thus arriving at a state of inner harmony and proactive effectiveness. As art develops emotions into states that accord with developed reason, and science, philosophy and insight develop reason into states that are friendly to developed emotion, is arrived a character that is integrated and lives in a state of dynamic equilibrium, unified among its components and striving in a united manner toward his or her goals.

Part 3. Equilibrium Theory

In postulating the equlibrium theory, John Nash went against both pure capitalism, which claims that the benefit of the collective is achieved through people striving for their own benefit, and against altruistic ideologies such as Communism and religion that claim the pursuit of self-interest to be antithetical to the benefit of the collective. What he said was something that ought to be common sense: that the benefit of the group is achieved when people strive to benefit themselves – and the group. That is, in a social universe consisting of self and others, the social universe benefits when one strives to benefit both self and the social universe. Through this is achieved an improvement in the well-being of all.

The social universe benefits, in other words, not from competition alone and not from cooperation alone, but rather from the mixture of competition and cooperation. It benefits from people seeking their own benefit as well as that of the group. This mixture of competition and cooperation, an integration of two opposite approaches to life, results in a Pareto-optimal solution, an equilibrium that achieves the best outcome for everybody. Knowing what’s good for yourself and knowing what’s good for the group, rather than seeing the group as out to destroy you or sacrificing yourself for the group, results in the best solution both for yourself and for the group. This is the meaning of synergy.

The mechanism of this approach is as follows. Competition sharpens the tool – it challenges the person to be his best. Cooperation strives for the benefit of the whole. Competition alone produces people who are good at what they do and benefit the consumer, but who are at each other’s throats and never reap the full benefit of their efforts because they spend so much time competing, hence they have no time left to enjoy life. Cooperation alone produces a lazy, low-level state of affairs that sells the consumer short. Combining competition with cooperation – challenging people to be their best, and to contribute their best to the shared outcome of which shared outcome each partakes – arrives at the best outcome for the whole and for each member. This, is the beautiful outcome; synergy; reconciliation and integration; consummation; the good of the collective and the members at the same time.

The optimal outcome for the world comes from cooperation of people within small entities such as companies, within the context of competition between companies and communities, within the context of cooperation among higher levels of structure – industries, sciences, technologies – to make a better world.

This state is largely (and thankfully in not least degree to the people responsible) reflected in the status quo. As Covey rightly advised his clients, companies should strive for their employees collaborating among each other rather than competing against each other, and in dealing with customers and suppliers companies should strive for win-win scenarios. The first results in people expending their energy striving to benefit the company and not in divisive intramural politicking that seeks promotion of self at all costs to other employees and regardless of benefit to the company; the second results in companies having good relations with other participants in the economy except, of course, their competitors. At a higher level, there is at this time international scientific and medical cooperation, as well as international economic policy-setting that takes business and labor interests, as well as interests of the people for air and water free of disease, into account.

What would bring larger entities to collaborate for a shared objective? Seeing the full picture and seeing how participating within it can lead to the benefit of the whole and of one’s own entity. It is believed that human nature is selfishness or at least rational self-interest, but I posit that humanity has gotten as far as it has due to the fact that it has a species consciousness as well as individual consciousness – that people possess within themselves, whether through mechanism of creation or evolution, a natural interest in the benefit of people other than themselves. In other words, that people do in general, not only as a result of liberal education but innately as a result of genetic traits that are more profoundly expressed in some than in others, wish for mankind to do well, and that this impetus has allowed many people on their own accord to pursue teaching, scholarly, charitable, monastic, scientific, creative, policing and civil service paths that did not present great monetary or ego reward but allowed satisfaction of doing something significant for other people. Few feelings are better than that of having done a good deed – a feeling that brings satisfaction even without the need to boast about it; I consider only the feeling of great achievement, the feeling of mutual love and the state of grace or spiritual ecstasy to be as gratifying. The first two are rare; the third goes away unless one applies oneself in serving mankind. Doing good is a far more sure path to gratification than taking, and it is an easier path to gratification than others listed.

The reason that doing good feels good is that it touches upon the best in the human beingness – the interest in the good of the species and, in some cases, of life itself. Thus, an order that benefits the self even as it benefits the species does the most for the entirety of the human nature – both for its self-directed, or self-interested, and its species-directed, or altruistic, components, which are expressed to different extents in different people and which people ought to be free to choose the path that suits them the most. This offers man the fulfillment of the entirety of the human nature – the opportunity to do good, and do well, at the same time. “Love your neighbor [defined in the Bible as all people including the hostile tribe of Samaritans, not merely the person next door] as yourself” means, Love yourself, and love your neighbor [defined as all humanity]. That means, do well for yourself and help others. Do good, and do well, at once, this increasing the benefit of mankind as it is contained both in self and in others.

C.S. Lewis stated that the Christian recognizes God’s creation as fully perfect, and the existence within a man of a certain motive therefore predicted a natural way whereby it may be fulfilled. Indeed, this is the same statement as that made by rationalist philosophers, that the Universe is rational (and all motives within human psyche are there for a reason – because they help our survival or evolution as a species). Given that both self-interest and altruism are potent motives within human psyche that have had tremendous formative power on the history of the species, both the Christian and the rationalist view demand that there be a rational and Christian way to channel both altruism and self-interest in society. There is. It is to possess a social covenant whose values encourage people to benefit both themselves and the species – to do good and do well at the same time, with those who want to do well without doing good being subjected to laws of market competition that brings them to work for the consumer’s interest and those who want to do good without caring whether or not they do well monetarily being given the honor that the social usefulness of their endeavors demands.

I go at this further and state that this – to do good and do well – is the only sane value system that can be given to people. Anything else results in hypocrisy or worse. To tell people to do good – without anyone being allowed to do well – is to essentially instruct the people to serve without anyone getting the benefit from being served. It is thus to waste the efforts of the entire civilization (as of course we have seen in Communist countries) and let their endeavors go down the drain. To tell people to do well is to impose upon people a value system that they may not very well want to intelligently espouse – a value system that tells people, not what they should do (as in the case of totalitarian civilizations), but what they should want – an act of more profound totalitarianism than can be found in totalitarian countries; an act that formulates people from within and then tells them to compete one against another. It is not easy to see why many of the more philosophically-minded youth in societies that live by this code rightly rebel against this ridiculous set of affairs and turn against their civilization and frequently see it as the great enemy. To tell people what they should want, is, quite simply, ridiculous. And it is especially ridiculous (and indeed tyrannical) when it is maintained through a system of threats, blackmail, personal destruction and other forms of abuse, in a nation that claims to derive its legitimacy from believing itself free and giving its people free existence. Not only does the second order lead to hypocrisy and indeed brutality and abomination, but it utterly and completely destroys the moral claims to legitimacy of America – and far worse than that, leads its most honest minds into suicide or rebellion.

It is in the merger of the best of the two endeavors – in being able to seek the benefit of the species as well as the self, in the ways that are most natural to oneself and beneficial within the context of the civilization – that is created an order that fulfills the human beingness in its entirety – in its both self-directed and species-directed capacities. And it is in this that can be created a civilization that is truly humane and truly accomplishing the most of human beingness.

Having traveled and lived in many different parts of America, I have seen wrong done on both the left and the right. The problem with the left consists of its unshakable belief that, because all people are created equal, the people with better genes must be attacked and brought down to the level of those with worse genes. The most malignant form has been its attack on beauty. Now if (as the perpetrators of this con say) beauty is something relative, then it makes no sense to only attack beautiful women; one must attack all women, including the homely ones. And if one is attacking the beautiful women, then one knows that they are beautiful, which undoes the entire concept that beauty is relative and brands one a hypocrite and a liar. Which, far worse than a regular liar and hypocrite, is indeed a hypocrite and a liar that destroys things far more meritorious than oneself – things that are also of far greater quality and took far greater effort to create.

Indeed what we see is something so hideous that it cannot be seen as anything less than evil. What we see, is people being made ashamed of their gifts and of their greatest endowments, which leads them essentially to deny their expression. For magnificent women to go with men who are in all respects their inferiors and be by them brutalized out of their desire to get back at the upper classes (and, after some time with the aforementioned brutes, to be so emotionally distraught that they go to psychologists, who proclaim their problem one of emotions rather than one of bad guidance), or for brilliant men to turn anti-intellectual and anti-spiritual and to shun the pursuits in which they are capable of excelling, or for people with any kind of a gift to be undermined in it by viciousness of their “neighbors” – those who claim to speak for “everyone” and believe that their gigantic overbearing arrogance in claiming to speak for “everyone” is less than the innocent pride of the person in standing by his or her gifts - and then, as a result of such assault and manipulation, fail to develop their gifts out of the idea that they have no right to it because they are inferior when they are superior or at least less malignant - far from enforcing any values worthy of enforcing or serving any equality worthy of serving, is in fact a ruin of the best minds of the country and pursuant that of the country itself.

On the right, we see another problem. What we see first and foremost is a misuse of the concept of individual responsibility. What I have to say to this is as follows. There can be no responsible action without knowledge. Only in understanding the world, from many places, does it become possible to understand the full range of consequences of one’s actions and therefore to truly act responsibly. And yet the people who most shout about responsibility are ones that are most hostile to knowledge and what it takes to acquire it. Which means that the result of their propaganda is people acting in an uninformed fashion – fashion that, being uninformed, of course becomes ultimately irresponsible. Indeed it is something more sinister still: People being bullied or manipulated into lives they would never have chosen if they had known better. And that, makes the people who participate in this conmen and liars; ones that, more than any simple conmen and liars, in effect steal lives of everyone over whose lives they have impact. Which, once again, is a far more malicious and horrible thing to do than simply to steal or to defraud.

On another level we see a rigid groupthink; a mind-stealing social machinery that through a studiously defined system of reinforcements, threats, punishments, lies and rewards creates a character and essentially warps the entire psyche – and then ridiculously proclaims the person free. To the preceding, I ask: If you are all so free, why are you all the same? A person who’s actually free is a person who is free to design the reality of himself and the reality of his life – effort directed at both the self-directed and world-directed (internal and external) levels of reality. And for that freedom – true freedom - like for true responsibility – is required knowledge. Which most certainly does involve values that honor and respect knowledge – and honor and respect what takes to acquire it and to transmit it (in itself very much a species-directed endeavor).

In the latter, we find America currently lacking. The disrespect that is afforded the teaching profession is, I believe, scandalous; for it is the teachers that inform the cognitive habits of the young generation, and teachers again that have the power to either affect the children into being developed human beings and productive citizens, or else through neglect or bad instruction resign them into the hell of addiction, depression and crime. The teachers in America aren’t respected, and for this reason American primary education despite money expended upon it is lagging behind that of other industrialized countries, as the best and the brightest shun teaching careers. It is considered more respectable to be a lawyer, a psychiatrist, a policeman – a person who cleans up the messes – than to be a teacher and prevent the messes from occurring in the first place. A good teacher is a great asset to the civilization; someone who can instill in children the love of the subject, the love of learning, the love of productive endeavor, the love of the neighbor, the love of country and the love of life. I have been fortunate to have had two such teachers in an American private school. They deserve all the respect one can give them, and the more respect is afforded great teachers the more great people go into the teaching profession and have positive effect on the formation of young minds, in schools public as well as private.

Altruism is thus neither solely the effect of liberal education nor the result of shortage of self-esteem. Altruism is a perfectly legitimate, natural, motive that, like self-interest, exists in the human psyche – in some people more than in others. It is, in my view, one of the better things that exist in the human psyche, and it benefits the world we live in as well as its members to honor altruism and channel it constructively and intelligently toward where it would the do the good for other people that it naturally seeks to do.

Representing one’s effect upon the collective benefit as the sum
Si = ax+a1y1+a2y1+…+anyn,
Where x is self, a is contribution to the benefit of self, and each y term is an other person that stands to be affected by one’s actions, S increases with increase in the sum of the terms. The benefit of each person is the sum
Bi = bx+b1y1+b2y2+…+bnyn,
Where x is the self, b one’s own contribution to the benefit of the self, and each y term the contribution of another person to one’s benefit. Collective benefit is the sum of Bi’s – a sum of actions expended by all individuals to benefit themselves and other people in the social whole.

This definition quantifies everyone affected by the individual’s actions, whether they take economic form or other forms. It includes – one’s co-workers, one’s wife and children, one’s neighbors, the government, the people whose health is affected by industrial and agricultural activity that forms one’s consumption, the people who produce the goods one consumes, one’s friends and enemies…. The interests of all these people needs to be reflected in the society and the economy in order that one’s actions work toward benefit of all whose lives one touches. In this, the main tenet of Christianity – that the main commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself, with the concept of neighbor including all human beings – becomes reified in
society’s system of reinforcements, and people are steered toward living the lives that will get them right with God, even as they are steered toward living lives that benefit – themselves as well as each other.

The equation above is true for the objective definition of the collective benefit – the benefit of “the greatest good for the greatest number” according to utilitarianism or the benefit of “all individuals included in the society,” according to Ayn Rand’s concept of society as the sum total of its individual members. But game theory maintains something else: that collective benefit is not simply a sum of its parts but an entity in its own right. That is, the group exists as a real entity; whether it be Christianity claiming that all Christians are part of the body of Christ, or pantheism claiming that we are all one, or government claiming that a nation is a real unit that retains its own character regardless of which individual citizens live in it. Therefore there is, in addition to the good of the individual members of the collective, also the benefit of the collective. Which collective can be defined, respectively, as – Christendom; humanity; or the nation.

This can be understood economically, but this can also apply in other aspects of life. Quite simply, actions that benefit both self and others, whether in enhancing their state of mind or enhancing their material well-being, are actions that lead to collective benefit. A person who hurts another person poses a net drain on the collective well-being; a person who helps another person enhances it. Attitudes that are ennobling and enriching – that help people to see the beauty in each other and cherish each other – are attitudes that increase total benefit and are as such attitudes that increase the well-being both of the individual and the collective. Attitudes that are prosecutorial, degrading, shriveling and abusive are attitudes that cause misery and are as such wrong for both the whole and the individual members.

Part 4. Integrative Quality of Experience

It is possible to say that mathematical logic does not apply to the world of the subjective thing that is valuation. This would of course place all values outside the sphere of quantification. Placed outside the sphere of rationality, values become undefended, and consequently there is no rational defense for things that bring about happiness and no protection from things that destroy it. It is not difficult to see how this leads to a population of miserable people who are always struggling for scraps of sunlight, wasting all their resources defending their likes and dislikes while preventing the energy from going to benefit the social whole. The idea that valuation is subjective and not in any way based on any universal principles, or on anything rationally discernible, is what Mortimer Adler called suicidal psychologizing on the part of philosophy – a case of copping out on the task of explaining the human being; a copping out that has made the bulk of the people believe philosophy to be irrelevant to their lives.

The hideous injustice of this line of thinking consists of the fact that it degrades and devalues humanity. It states that people’s experience is subjective hence not rationally quantifiable, and then the bulk of the people who practice this line of thinking do the unforgivable and the illogical: they leap from the tentative (“subjective is not quantifiable”) to an impossible value judgment (“subjective is unimportant”). What it states is that if something can’t be objectively demonstrated, it’s worthless – a hubris of empiricism that asserts empiricism as the only way to compute value, and renders all experience that can’t be demonstrated beyond all doubt to everyone unimportant. In an unforgivable logical error for people who claim logic as their guiding purpose, they take their inability to measure something to mean that it it’s not significant - an absurdity if there ever was any.

Now if experience of the people, as this logic contends, effectively does not matter, then it becomes excusable to commit grave harm to people with impunity, for as long as it isn’t measurable. Thus, psychological abuse and emotional damage is easily forgivable because it can’t be traced. It is also, according to this logic, sensible to attack and devalue those who seek to provide to people a good experience – experience such as that of beauty, compassion, and love; experiences for which there is no empirical demonstration but which possess paramount value to people who receive them. To paraphrase R.D. Laing, It is fashionable to talk of experience as merely subjective, but never of anything as merely objective. To devalue experience as “merely subjective” is to devalue mankind as the recipients of the experience – and a philosophy that sees the experience of beauty, or love, or spirituality, or compassion, or happiness, as “merely subjective” or “in the eye of the beholder” is the philosophy that does violence to humanity, excluding these considerations from our social interactions and our environments we create and relegating the mass of the people to be mistreated and to live in despair and ugliness.

Is experience subjective or objective? It is both. The event that causes the experience to occur is an objective happening; the experience of the event as felt by the person is subject to sensory interpretation. The study of physical beauty by Judith Langlois has shown that a face with a particular proportions will be experienced as beautiful by subjects from all cultures. Another study has shown that, out of 500 faces shown to 20,000 subjects, all faces got picked at least once, but some got picked only once and others hundreds of times. The experience of beauty occurs in presence of some objects and not others, and some objects evoke the feeling of beauty in more people than do others. Both the object and the subject’s tastes and values are involved in the computation; the experience is a function of both. Experience is – integrative.

To those who do not consider experience to be a real event due to the fact that it takes place “only” inside a person’s head, one needs pose this question. Is computer software real? Its effects also take place only inside the computer, or the computer system to which the computer is attached. Yet nobody of any authority would begin to claim that computer software is not real. How much more real, then, is the code by which runs human psyche, measurable as it is only through its effects on the person’s emotions which may or may not manifest in actions – but which in all cases occasion events in the human brain to occur.

Thus both Kant and Ayn Rand had it partially right. The experience is both objective and subjective, and this makes it doubly real – formed both by the objective happening and the sensory-emotional interpretation. To understand an experience completely, one has to observe it externally as well as experience it, either directly or through the mechanism of empathy. This averts the nasty habit of trivialization of experience which is undertaken by the so-called rationalists, and builds a certain measure of compassion for one’s fellow women and men that is most paramount to making right decisions governing their lives.

When I attended the Burningman festival in Nevada, the organizers invited the media to participate in the event in order that they understand it AS IT IS EXPERIENCED BY PARTICIPANTS before writing about it to their audiences. My friend Gil, who is about 8 years older than me, said that this ruined objectivity. He was committing the error common to his generation – the error of believing that external measurement without participation is the only way of understanding an event. An experience is understood best when it is felt on one’s own skin; when one understands it not solely as it appears to an observer, but as it is actually experienced. The organizers of Burningman made the right decision in inviting the media to be participants. It allowed them to have an experience of the event that was not merely objective – not merely external – but also subjective. It allowed them to see the event both from within and from without. It allowed them to have the integrative perspective, which is truly the only complete way to understand an experience.

Human interaction is thus an integrative phenomenon, consisting of interactions between action as it is made and experience as it is perceived. When Person A insults Person B, the situation contains both the objective event – of A making the statement – and the experience – B feeling insulted. The experience as felt by B is a function of two things: the statement that A made and the emotional structure of B as it interprets and is affected by the statement. To understand the transaction, both have to be taken into account. To state, as did Eleanor Roosevelt, that people can’t hurt you unless you let them, is to place the responsibility for the entire event in B’s territory and leave A free to hurt, malign and abuse whomever he would desire. To state, as do New Agers, that we are in control of everything that happens to us, is to excuse every crime on the face of the planet, as it states that me raping, torturing and killing a New Ager would be something she has thought up and for which I am not to be held accountable.

And to state that beauty is in the eye of the beholder is to eliminate the beauty consideration from our contributions to the environment in which we live. It is to free the architect, the engineer, the builder, the artist and the musician of responsibility for creating works that are tasteful and well-designed. It is to give a green light to greed, bloat and tastelessness that wants to turn America into a giant strip mall and Americans into obese tubs. It is to mire people in hideousness in which their spirits shrivel and their body, shorn of all pleasure and stimulation, has nothing to do but bloat.

It is a damnable ideology, one that is partly responsible for the $117 billion in health costs that obesity costs the nation each year – and costing far more in people’s ability to enjoy and appreciate human experience, with romance, sex, art, creativity, freedom from abuse, ecstasy of physical exertion, and pride and pleasure of living in an environment that is an improvement and not a degradation on nature becoming inaccessible to people as a result.

Some objects – like the faces in the Judith Langlois study – appeal to something universal in human beings and are experienced by all who perceive them as beautiful. Others are experienced as beautiful only by people with certain tastes and beliefs. The art that touches on the universal in human beings is art that is timeless; the art that serves its times or its subjects is art that is limited to its audience. Both are necessary; both are legitimate. Classical art is still loved today because it speaks to the universal in human beings, but the currently-anachronistic music of Jefferson Airplane was just as important for its times.

I had a girlfriend who was seen by everyone she met as beautiful, and by some as the most beautiful woman they’ve ever beheld. I had another girlfriend that was seen as beautiful by some people and not by others, with most Europeans and the Orientals who met her finding her delectable - and most residents of her native Oregon seeing nothing in her at all. The poetry I post on the Internet draws reaction both good and bad, with some poems attracting only compliments, others only attack and others both. My personal experience, as well as the above-mentioned studies, indicates that beauty is an integrative function - with some forms of beauty universal and appealing to everyone and others appealing only to certain tastes and beliefs. The experience of beauty is a shared function between the object and the recipient; a person or a piece of art can be beautiful universally or only to certain tastes, with some possessing universal appeal - some appealing to some people - and some appealing to nobody. To claim, as do some "feminists," that there is no such thing as beauty and that beauty is an artificial construct that is used to keep women from developing self-esteem, is an absurdity that is refuted by the Judith Langlois study and by experiences of anyone who has ever looked at a classical piece of art or at Yosemite Park or at sky over rural Arizona on a cloudless night.

Seeing experience of life as is both subjective and objective – as integrative – as a thing that can be discerned both from within and without, with the integrative perspective – the perspective of both experiencing something immediately and measuring it externally – superior to the mere objective method of measurement without personal experience and the mere subjective method of living it without having a theoretical overarching perspective – one can rather postulate a model of the individual’s interaction with the collective. That model is as follows:

Part 5. Individual and Society: The Pomegranate

Think of a pomegranate. A pomegranate consists of hundreds of seeds. Each seed has its unique core – its unique center – of which it is a manifestation. Each seed is also a manifestation of the entire fruit in which it exists. The seed is the substructure; the fruit is the superstructure. The pomegranate and the seeds reinforce and shape each other.

The fruit is the seeds in it, but also itself as a unique being. The seeds are part of the fruit, but also their own unique and unshakeable selves. An individual and a civilization can be therefore seen as the seed and the pomegranate, with complex patterns of interconnectivity among one another shaping and reframing both – with each individual endowed with its own center, contributing its own unique essence to the larger whole, and the whole containing the individuals while also having its own character. Through the recombination, the mutual shaping, among the two levels of structure, the individual and the collective, is formed humanity.

When looking at a succession of seeds in the pomegranate, one gets an idea of what the pomegranate is like; until one comes across a seed that is different, and that by its sheer beingness refutes the pattern. This is known as the pioneer seed. The pioneer seed is different from previous bunch of seeds; it’s different from voices that claim to speak for the fruit. It is a part of the fruit however, and it peforms a very important function: that of giving a truer understanding of the whole than what has existed before.

Pioneer seeds lead difficult lives. They are pressed by the previous patterns, they are made to believe they are wrongly made, in order that they disappear and the cognitive dissonance of the existence of seeds such as them vis-à-vis the patterns that claim to speak for the fruit be resolved. The solution is for the pioneer seeds to dig in their heels and identify with the larger whole and say that they are serving a social function: That of refuting the pattern that claims to speak for the fruit and making the observer understand something that was not seen before.

The pomegranate and the seed depend on air, water and sunlight. The pomegranate and the seeds take these components and make something better than has existed before; something beautiful, consummate and synergistic. Since both the pomegranate and the seeds are real, legitimate entities, achieving benefit consists of achieving benefit both for the individual and for the whole. It consists of both the individual and the collective good. I say collective good not in the utilitarian meaning – the meaning of “greatest good for the greatest number” – but in the meaning of the benefit of the whole; the benefit, that is, of the pomegranate. I say individual good in the manner spoken of by the enlightenment philosophers and the objectivists and extolled by them as the highest and only form of benefit.

Both the seeds and the pomegranate are legitimate entities; and both must strive to be the best thing they can be even as it is legitimate for them to seek their own fulfillment. We must tend to our garden; we must also tend to the world. And it is legitimate for us, as seeds in the fruit, to reap dividends of what both our own seed and the fruit produce, even as it is legitimate for the fruit as a whole to reap dividends from the individual seeds and from its own structure.

Because both the seeds and the pomegranate are legitimate entities, they both possess power and they both consequently possess responsibility for the outcome of the whole as well as for themselves. Where an individual is in his life, is a function both of his actions and of his society’s preferences; where a society is, is a function of the actions of the whole and of those of its individual members. The same character that is encouraged in France (finely cultivated, delicate) is desecrated in American heartland; the same character traits that lead to success in Japan (respectful, docile, patient, hard-working) lead, in Africa, to extinction. Even within America itself, the values differ between different regions and between cities and heartland; and the character that does best in Los Angeles is quite different from a character that does best in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Each society has its own character that rewards some traits while punishing others, and an individual with given natal predispositions will be expected to achieve different things in different societies.

The power over lives of both the individuals and the social whole is therefore shared between the individual and society; it is an interaction of the substructure and a superstructure, a synthesis. True responsibility for individual lives and the social whole is therefore shared among the two levels. And yet the current ideologies err on either side and fight each other, resulting in people believing one thing in one set of places and the opposite in another. One ideology, popular especially in Midwest, consists of assigning all responsibility to the individual. This quickly degenerates into bullying attacks on the individuals whose inner propensities are not valued by the society, which spirals downward further into ignorant claims that their inner propensities are innately wrong and that the individuals with their propensities are incapable of success, or if they do succeed are evil. This is of course a case of society playing God, claiming for its ill-informed judgments the authority to judge what is beyond its power to create; and the most eloquent and well-deserved blow that one at the receiving end of such bludgeoning can do to the entire social edifice that assails him is to move to a place that values his or her natural propensities and live happily there.

The other error, seen in the worldview of sociology and in Marxism, consists of assigning all responsibility to society. This strips the individual of responsibility for his actions and shapes a character that is irresponsible, criminal and weak. In reality – and I mean here in the quantified, complete reality that involves and quantifies both the individual and the society, and not in the pushy screechy ignorant assault of those who, committing the first error, want to indulge in orgies of abuse against some individuals while considering themselves good realistic responsible citizens - both levels are real, and both levels are to be held justly accountable for their effect. Responsibility for a life is a shared function of the individual and society he inhabits; responsibility for a society is a shared function of its inhabitants and its historically and sociologically formulated national character.

An action can possess a real, or natural, consequence; a consequence that stems from the action’s inherent character and that results automatically, by law of cause and effect, in another event. In addition to real consequences, there are the artificial consequences, or the consequences assigned by society. Different societies assign different consequences to different kinds of actions. Conducting business in America results, due to the first set of consequences, in success or failure according to effectiveness of marketing and quality of deliverables; conducting business in the Soviet Union, due to the second set of consequences, resulted in imprisonment. That the same action, when performed in different social universes, results in different consequences, shows that the social universe is artificially constructed – whether by top-down design as in the case of the former Soviet Union or, as in the case of most societies, by bottom-up social and historical development. I define bottom-up as that which evolved spontaneously among people. I define top-down as that which was formulated and given to the people from above. The same character, while in all cases evoking the same natural consequences, will evoke different sets of artificial consequences in different societies; and it is both beneficial to the characters and resulting in their greatest contribution for them to find themselves in societies whose artificial systems of reinforcements are friendly to their basic nature.

In the way of the fulfillment both of the individual and the collective benefit stand – bullies. I define bullies as entities and individuals that seek power over other individuals at the expense of their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. The most vicious attacks on the internationalist Clinton administration, which sought the benefit of humanity as well as all individual humans whose self-interest did not consist of oppression over other individuals, came from two sets of people: bullies at home (Republicans who were used to dominating the American citizenry and could not stand for them to have cultural and economic alternatives) and bullies abroad (Islamic terrorists, murderous regimes and Stalinist dictatorships that were used to pulling the same trick on their own populations and were threatened by Clinton’s promise). In order for the individual and the collective benefit to be fulfilled, the power of bullies has to be broken through action combining the top and bottom – through action combining the leader with visionary outlook pushing from above and the people who do not wish to be dominated by the bullies any longer pushing from below. Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo, in fighting with people’s help the corrupt officials in his country, provides the model for that sandwiching arrangement. Another model has been the United States, with the help of the Afghan people, overthrowing the Taliban.

It is therefore entirely in the best interests of both the world and the individuals that inhabit it for there to be a flux of individuals among regions within nations and across national boundaries. An individual with genetic predisposition for a Kansas character would not be happy in Japan; an individual with a genetic predisposition for a San Francisco character will not be happy in Kansas. Rather than apply their talents for the benefit of the world they inhabit, they will become liabilities to their societies even while they themselves lead miserable lives. It is a social service, and a service to humanity, to take the people who through clash of inner traits with social values are manipulated into the function of scapegoats in their societies to social universes in which their innate traits are rewarded rather than stigmatized – and in this end the distraction that self-righteous abuse of outcasts poses to the demanding historical task of formulating societies into humane, civilized, intelligent and habitable shapes.

This requires that the societies themselves compete for members within an overarching perspective that includes many societies united in free and fair competition for members – that the power exercised by societies over people’s lives be checked by the individual’s ability to leave when he or she feels too downtrodden for another society, and the existence of information, resources and political power for people around the world to be able to make such a change. Thus, global economy – an arrangement that benefits the collective prosperity of the whole as well as prosperity of far more individuals around the world than it hurts – is an excellent arrangement; one that improves the state of humanity even as it improves lives of its individual members. It is beneficial, both for its inclusiveness of millions of individual human beings, and for the reason that it destroys the stranglehold of local entities that lay claim on the lives, minds and hearts of individuals, at the expense of their membership in humanity and at the expense of their individual benefit. The global economy, with international entities created to place safeguards against protectionism and other abuses, results in the people who are competent around the world being able to have global market for their produce while consumers around the world have the best of the world at their disposal. This arrangement was striven for by the best among both Republicans and Democrats – by both Reagan and Clinton; and it is still producing great dividends for people around the world, having raised 250 million people out of poverty in two decades in China alone.

But global economy is not sufficient. Global economy requires global diplomacy. It requires this: global outlook in participating countries. A isolationist like LePen or Pat Buchanan in one country could jinx the entire global cooperation. Global economy is a synergistic arrangement. It is, once again, a fragile equilibrium that requires a presence of mind and a global outlook on the part of everyone to achieve, an ongoing political strength and vision, willingness to extend oneself to embrace something different from oneself, and willingness to motivate the people to see the big picture as well as themselves.

Following the economic progress toward globalization is progress in other spheres of human endeavor: endeavor such as cultural, spiritual and social. Competition, whether between economic entities or between social entities, forces them to improve their deliverables for the consumer. Thus, the advanced state of American and European society, which has seen cultural competition, as compared to Middle Eastern society, which has not, is demonstrative of the principle of cultural competition at play and the improvement it has had in the lives of humanity. In this way, cultural competition, like economic competition, arrives at the best outcome for the human being.

Intercultural competition leads to intercultural communication, resulting in a more integrated world. The optimal outcome of intercultural competition for citizens is improvement realized in all cultures, as good ideas from other parts of the world are adopted while bad ideas within one’s own culture are destroyed. The process leading to that, like economic competition within advanced regulated economies, is not automatic, but rather requiring the agreement upon fair tactics and unfair tactics – on exclusion of amoral, forcible and fraudulent, methods of influence – on requiring constant effort of synthetic intelligence and peacemaking to achieve at the best outcome among components and not allow cultural chauvenists within each region to silence, demonize or kill off the other cultures. Like laissez-faire economics within social covenant shaped by law, or like game theory-influenced competition within the framework of cooperation, this requires an overarching perspective of international cooperation at the task of producing the best possible people living within pareto-optimal social covenants that reflect the best of humanity – its foresight, its compassion, its knowledge, its inspiration, its wisdom. Its commitment to living – beautifully.

Part 6. Public Sector and Private Sector

Some people are naturally selfish, and others are naturally altruistic. Some are selfish in some aspects and altruistic in other aspects. A person may willingly work with minimal pay for a political cause, but would not tolerate anyone telling him to wash his clothes. Another person may be willing to die for his country, but would whine about having to pay a 30% tax. Each ideology structures the mind so as to arrange the internal existents – the different pieces of human nature – in a manner that leads to a particular configuration, a particular outcome, a particular character, a particular product. The fundamentals of both rational self-interest and of altruism exist in the mind; they are inextricable part of the thing that is human beingness. An order based on competition and rational self-interest alone, like an order based on altruism alone, is an order that is not fulfilling to a large number of its members, nor is it an order that makes the best use of its resources. The only conceivable order is one that allows for both aspects of human beingness to be fulfilled.

For this reason it makes the most sense to include both efforts private and public, with the corporations and the communities working in synergy with one another around the world to arrive at the best outcome for humanity. The Marxian concept of the main class struggle being the one between labor and capital stands refuted. Labor and capital are two sides of the same coin, which is economic production engaged in a competitive market – two necessary components toward production of material goods. Rather than consummating in Communism – a case of one class eliminating the other, a destruction and not a consummation, the lazy solution – the dialectic where it was not interrupted by force has resulted instead in a global economy in which labor and capital work in synergy with each other. The far more relevant dialectic now is between the private and public sectors; between entities that provide for people’s material fulfillment and entities that provide for their political one; between bottom-up entities based in pursuit of economic self-interest and top-down entities based in pursuit of shared goals. I find both top-down and bottom-up entities are required, with the first which, in an integrative, synergistic solution come together with one another to build upon rather than to destroy each other, with each working to channel constructively the aspect of human beingness to which it speaks. This synergy will result in maximization of benefit of the people, for it will require both ways of organizing human resources – the bottom-up and the top-down – to know the parameters of their roles and respectfully extend themselves to work with their opposite, thus resulting in optimization and enrichment from both directions.

The Adam Smith model of capitalism working invariably for the good of the consumer, who is guided invariably by rational self-interest, which rational self-interest is invariably good and just, is plainly wrong. Apple had a better technology, yet Microsoft got the market; Beta had a better technology, yet VHS got the market. During 1990s, the market in USA got flooded with gas-guzzling SUV’s, ending the progress that had been done in the previous decade toward cutting down on oil consumption, making us dependent on governments of largely anti-American Middle East, and bringing us to spew more disease-causing chemicals in the air – chemicals that cause material harm to people in our country and others. In 1980s and 1990s, the people who lived in the ghetto were targeted by ads selling expensive sneakers, and young economically disadvantaged people turned to drug sales and violent crime to get the money necessary for these purchases, turning their neighborhoods into zones of murder and blight. People are sold harmful substances like McDonald’s food and Coca Cola – substances that are unhealthy and cause rises in obesity, disease and medical costs. None of these results produced benefit for public welfare.

Does capitalism work according to an invisible hand to lead inevitably to public welfare? It does and it doesn’t. There is no question that an average Westerner or Japanese is much better off now than he was three centuries ago; however, the process involved a lot of cruelty, a lot of violence and a lot of waste. Some of the companies that succeed, such as Microsoft, do not have the best product, but become industry standard due to successful manipulation and positioning. A lot of people struggle to make the rent; a lot of people become neurotic mortgage-payers, struggling with all their might in a mobile work place to not be the next layoff; a lot of people in the Third World overpopulate and consign their children to famine-stricken conditions in which they feel they have to kill in order to survive. Capitalism produces both good and bad results. It is not free from vice or error. Like evolution, capitalism is a cruel, violent and often wasteful process that results in survival of the fittest – who may or may not be the best. And some of the best companies, such as Beta and Borland, fall the way of such natural wonders as the mammoth and saber-toothed tiger.

In the demand part of the equation, are the consumers driven by rational self-interest in making their economic decisions? The answer is nuanced. The consumer is guided not by enlightened reason, but by all the different qualities, good or bad, that exist in the human psyche, and all of them are capable of being manipulated to achieve outcomes good as well as bad. Success in reaching the consumer comes from effectiveness of marketing – of reaching the consumer both logically and psychologically, appealing to all the different parts of the human mind that figure in consumption decisions. A purely capitalist order, its demand equation comprising a compendium of subjective human valuation, is subject to all the foibles, vices and errors that live in the human being – and is thus far from sacrosanct or at all times producing the best result.

Even if the consumer was fully driven by rational self-interest, history of humanity shows that reason like all things human is prone to error. A person who lives in the ghetto may realistically assay that he’s going to be dead by 25 and will apply his economic decisions toward immediate consumption of harmful substances with disastrous consequences for his health and economic prospects. A more typical American person who wants security, respect and status will procure expensive products that may be highly polluting and that may not give him any satisfaction at all, but only allow him to feel himself secure in irrational battle with artificial feelings of inadequacy and status anxiety induced through a culture of consumer coercion. A Wall Street investor may rationally conjecture that the boom, as in late 1990s, was going to continue, and end up losing his shirt. In all three cases, the consumer makes bad decisions that don’t enhance his happiness and may in many respects detract from his health and well-being. It becomes possible, within capitalist system, for sin to grow and to consume people and make their happiness ever more remote.

Likewise socialism, which gives control to centralized power and gives the government workers the power to delay, abuse, usurp and lord it over the people. In centralizing economic power, it puts the nation at the mercy of people who work for the state – who, being human, are just as prone as capitalist or consumer toward vice and error. The top-down dictatorial orders are prone to gross violations of human rights and strangulation of economic activity. Commanding economic activity, socialism does not compute what the people would need or want – something that only the people themselves would be able to know. Socialist orders are inefficient and strangulating.

The error of statism, Communism and fascism from Hobbes till Franco is the belief that the sins of the human nature – the sins they see all-too-clearly – will not also infect the state, which is comprised of the same fallible human beings. The error of anarchism and libertarianism is the belief that the individuals, when given power, will not abuse it as does the state or in still worse ways to hurt fellow man. I posit that the way to minimize sins and errors of human condition, and to maximize human benefit, is to have an integrative, synergistic arrangement among entities bottom-up and top-down – an arrangement in which each knows itself and the legitimate parameters of its role, sees the virtue in the other and need for the other, and in an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding achieves the synergistic pareto-optimal equilibrium in which prospers the human being and humanity as a whole.

My friend David, who as a successful businessman in Eastern Europe runs into lots of red tape, spoke of battle between homo faber – the productive man – and homo fiscus – the bureaucrat. He asserts that the businessman is all right and bureaucrat is all wrong, to the point of stating that a businessman acquaintance of mine, who helped millionaires find loopholes to pay less taxes and then went home to horribly abuse his wife and children, must have been good simply because he was a businessman. I told David that in idolizing his profession he left himself open to treachery, corruption and violence from other businessmen, who as people are just as prone to sin as are the bureaucrats and, when unchecked, frequently use their financial power to grossly mistreat people. It is just as possible to abuse financial power as it is to abuse government power, and bottom-up entities, just like top-down entities, are capable of doing grave wrong. In order to minimize sin and maximize benefit, there need to be a synergistic, integrative equilibrium between private and public sectors – a system of economic checks-and-balances similar to the system of political checks-and-balances that exists in the US government, making sure that people don’t misuse their economic power to harm or to own other people – and that the government workers likewise don’t abuse their power to strangle enterprise.

The system of checks-and-balances works to achieve synergy when the parties fundamentally respect and understand each other while understanding also the parameters of their role – when they stand on their own two feet confident in themselves and extend themselves to understand the other side in the dialectic. It works to paralyze activity when the two parties do not possess such understanding. What I propose is not automatic. It takes effort of mind – a balancing act – to make to work. But when it does work, it produces results that are truly beautiful and that benefit the individual as well as the social whole.

An example of what I’m talking about is the architectural design of Washington, DC. Whenever a developer proposes to erect a building, the district government has to check if that building looks good and if it works well with the other buildings that are on the street. The result is a city whose buildings work well with each other and whose downtown is beautiful. This compares with Tysons Corner, an office park outside DC which is free of all such regulations; a place whose buildings, beautiful as some of them are in themselves, are jumbled and arrive at an ugly mishmash of traffic congestion and tastelessness. Some tasks require an organizing intelligence that different players in the market simply don’t have. They are provided by the government.

It is in fact true that there are certain tasks that the free market cannot provide for because they do not belong in the sphere of self-interested endeavor. More precisely, they do not involve the aspects of human beingness that are motivated by monetary terms. Privatizing law enforcement means corruption; privatizing science means lack of objective research; privatizing domestic abuse counseling means women staying in abusive relationships; privatizing roads means no road access for poor neighborhoods; privatizing schools means parents determining the curriculum for their children and excluding the facts and subjects they find unsuitable. These tasks belong in the sphere of collective endeavor, of the community and the government, of entities that provide for altruistic endeavor, in the same way as tasks such as agriculture and industry that have viable monetary rewards belong in the self-interested sphere of capitalism.

It has been said that the government lacks the accountability of the private sector and as such is prone to waste and abuse. In dealings with the Fairfax County government, I’ve found it to be at least as friendly and efficient as any private-sector organization for which I’ve worked or with which I had dealings. The American government has remodeled itself in the 90s into a well-run and consumer-friendly mechanism and discharges its obligations magnificently. I believe that further attempts at cutting the government would not cut the fat but the muscle and bone, and that the people who seek to destroy the government through tax cuts and deficit spending are people who seek to illicitly profit at the expense of their neighbor and generations to come.

Through achieving the benefit of both self and the group is achieved the beautiful outcome, an outcome that is an accord and a harmony, an outcome that is a consummation. An outcome, that is, that is an integration and a reconciliation of opposites and their high-minded fulfillment; beauty of Schiller, synthesis of Hegel, synergy of Covey and collective benefit of Nash. I say high-minded, because the high-minded logic involves seeing the higher benefit of all parties involved and using creative mind to lead toward it, making better product of both parties through knowing their potential than anything that has existed before. It is emphatically neither compromise nor sacrifice nor domination; far rather, it is the case of seeing the entire picture, seeing each part of the picture, and seeing how each could come to a higher state while also using its capabilities to improve the whole.

Part 7. Postmodernism and Cultural Renaissance

Which is why postmodernism is such an inadequate ideology. It sees as invalid the concept of the grand picture, with all the civilization’s grand narratives that unify people’s creative striving, from progress to Christianity, under attack. It claims that the absolute truth is unknowable, hence it denies objective justification for human rights and human dignity – for human values – thus eviscerating also the individual. Thus, it arrives at destruction of both the seeds and the pomegranate – both the individual and the collective. It results in evisceration of both the substructural and the superstructural levels of humanity.

Now if absolute truth is unknowable, then all ideas are equal, and the idea that absolute truth is unknowable is equally valid or not valid as any other idea. Postmodernism is thus self-refuting. Postmodernism is what Mortimer Adler called suicidal epistemologizing and psychologizing, or removing objective quality from human life and human experience and denying it the sanction of reason. As such, it is a degradation of the civilization – a degradation also of humanity. It is a case of failure to own up to the burden of consciousness.

Certainly it is possible to deconstruct everything to its fundamentals and to insult it. It is possible to name altruism low self-esteem, compassion weak ego boundaries, soulfulness self-absorption, sensitivity weakness, interest in the big picture egomania, abstruse interests insanity and love codependency. But that is not the intelligent sum of human endeavor. These qualities result in the best masterpieces that humanity has produced, and as such deserve respect and protection. Yes, we can deconstruct; we can also kill half the world’s species in a few decades and destroy the treasure that nature took the nature millions of years to produce. How much more worthy enterprise it is to construct – to create another species or resurrect ones we have driven into extinction, rather than slaughter ones that exist; to create genetic cures, rather than put out chemicals that cause genetic illnesses; to make space colonies, rather than overpopulate the Earth. Rather than using one’s will and one’s mind to self-eviscerate and turn into a shrew or a heckler, how much more noble it is to use one’s will and one’s mind to create something beautiful, out of the medium that is human existence, and give it nobility, dignity and strength.

It is said that the human being is entirely a natural being. I posit that the human being is a being both natural and supernatural; as a being that is natural to the extent that he follows patterns and a being uniquely human to the extent that he sets them according to his own volition – according to inspiration, reason and will. This quality – this supernatural quality – is our gift and our saving grace; our unit of the divine – that which makes man in God’s image. The existence in the mind of mechanisms that Freud, Adler and similar people described does not inhibit existence of will; it rather presents another part of the picture. The will is an existent. As such, it has its legitimate place. Its legitimate place is this: Create what has not existed before. Lead. Improve. Dignify. Integrate. The human prerogative is to exercise this supernatural quality to make the world better. To build on all of the natural to arrive at a consummation. To integrate, structure and recombine existents into a synthesis. To create and to shape. To – ennoble.

The monstrosity of materialistic psychology is its desire to destroy the supernatural in the human being and thus reduce the human being to a deterministic state. It of course uses the human being’s supernatural, pattern-making, mindful, quality in order to do that. Thus it is a misuse of an existent in order to destroy awareness of that existent in other people. It is an indulgence that fails to own up to the human being’s burden of volitional consciousness. It is a hypocrisy and it is a power trip that results in paralyzed minds, shriveled spirits and humanity castrated of its potency.

I do not consider man to be “a moral animal,” “a rational animal,” or a “social animal.” I consider man to be man – a craftsman; an artist; a shaper of his environment and of his personhood pursuant to his beliefs and ideals. When Ayn Rand says that civilization should be an improvement on nature and not a degradation, what she means is that man should use his talent, wisdom, inspiration and understanding of what is beautiful to craft for humanity a world that is as harmonious, as elegant, as rich and as splendid as the medium from which we come. This requires two things. This requires being able to feel the best of what nature has given us – sense of love, sense of passion, sense of tenderness, sense of interest in the good of the species and in making our world the most wonderful possible – and to use one’s mind to make these things come to life. It requires, in other words, a merger of Dionysian and Apollonian – of soul and mind – and craftsmanship by the mind upon the canvas of the soul, resulting in beautiful reifications of beautiful passions and fine aesthetics – in artistic product that sculpts emotion and nature into the most magnificent possible forms.

This results in a celebration of life; in a celebration of human condition and of the world that we have been given. It results in beautiful feelings, beautiful relationships and beautiful environments that we create. It results in ennoblement, an enrichment, of human existence – adding to it class, dignity, richness, inspiration and harmony.

Ennoblement is the process of enriching life with the supernatural quality in humanity. I call that process also humanization. The civilization is a process of evolution out of a less human state and toward a more human state – from a state that is deterministic, toward a state reflecting greater level of intelligent design; from a state in which we are limited by nature to a state reflecting greater mastery and liberty. When people can live a dignified existence – when people can be cultured, trusting, loving and free from economic and psychological limitation - that is an achievement, and it means that the civilization is working. When people are distrustful and hateful, brutish, fearful and nasty, the civilization is not working, and needs to have its sensibilities revitalized through a collective effort of mind and will. This effort of mind and will, directed cooperatively toward an ennoblement of life, is what is required in order that a moral civilization – a civilization based on something other than military or consumer coercion, with people living a life that is deliberate, dignified and fulfilling – be allowed to exist.

It could be said that we don’t have the resources to have a noble and beautiful existence. That is entirely untrue. With average income of $40000 a year, America can most certainly afford noble existence and noble attitudes – attitudes of generosity, greatness, compassion, artistic beauty and romantic love. It has been fashionable to attack the people who cultivate such attitudes as posers or snobs or pretentious. Much rather, they are people who exercise the main human prerogative – using their will and their mind to forge themselves into something noble; into something reflecting high-minded design; into something beautiful; into something reflecting the rational and the aesthetic striving and as such harboring the keys to happiness.

A code of ethics that makes it the worst crime to be arrogant or pretentious is a code of ethics that degrades humanity and robs it of its attainments. It is a code of ethics that makes the beautiful unattainable by making people mired in psychological mindset that removes it from all things of beauty, both outside and within; that prevents them from exercising the divine right to shape themselves and their environment into forms reflecting inspiration and will. It is a code of ethics that stifles innovation and ingenuity and attacks things that reflect the creative, inspired, forward-seeking design. It is a code of ethics that robs people of human prerogative and treats the natural-uniquely human being that is the human being as though it did not possess the uniquely human – and as though the natural component, refined as it has been over millions of years of evolution into a magnificent mechanism or else imparted by a truly marvelous Creator, was not a product of a statistical miracle. It claims to attack hubris, but it is in itself hubris of the worst in humanity – of a mind that has no imagination or creativity or original thought. Of a mind that, lacking these saving graces, can only conceive of apocalyptic outcomes – that attacks the very things that can save us because it cannot imagine the inspired patterns of thinking from which such solutions may spring.

Postmodernism seeks to deconstruct everything in the mind. That arrives at a devitalized, distorted, disfigured populace; a population of people who cannot justify their romantic attractions and cannot justify that which is their claim on life. I seek the opposite outcome. I seek to ennoble. I seek to enrich. I seek to give grace and splendor. I seek to ennoble life.

I seek to ennoble life.

And based on the unified ethic and aesthetic of ennobling life – based on a novel and yet old mechanism, a mechanism of using one’s will and one’s mind to enrich and create rather than to destroy and degrade – based on systems of thought that include this mechanism - I seek a cultural renaissance in America.

In every choice – in every action – there are two possibilities. One is that which leads toward ennobling – the forward-seeking. The other is what leads toward the degrading - the downward-pulling. One leads to an upper turn in a spiral; the other breaks it down to a lower state. The first seeks to succeed or to make another person successful; the second seeks to destroy another person’s success even if it means not being successful oneself. The first seeks to improve human condition; the second seeks to put people in their supposed places, nevermind that we are creators who are endowed with uniquely human quality – that of legitimately making our own place. The first works with what’s good in people to make them grow into fullness; the second drags them down for their supposed deficiencies. The first seeks progress; the second seeks similitude. Of these, only the first is capable of arriving at a world worthy of human habitation, and only the first is therefore moral.

Consider sex. It is possible to see it as an animal instinct and treat it with contempt. But being people capable of making the most of an experience, it is also possible to see it as a vehicle for bountiful emotional sharing and treat it as such. In both cases, the act is the same, but the experience differs. In the first, one shuts off the ethical and receives only the value of physical act; in the second, one uses the ethical and the mindful in conjunction with the natural, to arrive at the product that’s better than either of the components – at the maximum thing that the experience can be made using the human mind.

An integrated personality is known in psychology as a personality that has reconciled its opposites. It is known in psychology as a personality that has resolved its internal conflicts and acts as one. Right-wing intellectuals look down on people who are not integrated as lacking integrity; what they fail to consider is that integration of an open mind that is exposed to a million conflicting influences is a far more difficult task than is remaining what one has been defined to be by an authoritarian household and church. And yet it is the former integrity, the dynamic synthesis, that produces a product that truly and meaningfully integrates existents contained within the social universe – while the former integrity is essentially a case of never having stirred, of never having been mobile, of never having taken a step toward becoming a human being with a mind.

Part 8. From Society to Civilization

America’s greatest contribution to the history of mankind has been that of applying to the federal government the morality and the checks and balances that governments previously forced upon the individual. The government in America is prohibited from tyrannizing the people; an advancement that most of the Western civilization has since adopted with America’s guidance. The blindness of libertarianism and anarchism in America is that, in its single-minded attack on the government as representing oppression, it shifts power from the balanced-and-checked American government to unofficial organs of power that evolve spontaneously in the society, which organs of power do not possess the same constitutional ideals or checks and balances that inform Washington. This, in turn, takes power away from benign, noble organs of power in America and gives it to inferior usurpers; to people who have none of the advanced ideals informing American constitutional order, who grossly mistreat people in their communities, and who if left to their own devices would perform far worse abuses against American citizens than any that the federal government has ever perpetrated.

The existence of such entities in America – spontaneous organs of power that are not subject to constitutional checks-and-balances - necessitates the existence of the social ombudsman, who exercises the checks of reason and ethics on the bottom-up entities and individuals who have taken upon themselves to speak for society. It is the role of one who stands up to those in the community who seek to find people to demonize and bludgeon, and prevents them from violating their rights. It is the role that, should America live by its stated ideals, needs to be taken up by as many people as possible; a role that is dangerous and ungrateful, but that gives one the satisfaction of having done much to preserve human and civil rights in a land that has been designated at its founding as the last best hope for humanity.

If the ideal of the baby boom generation was the individual, the ideal of Generation X was society. The psychology of the two generations had utterly different flavors, with the first aiming at self-actualization and existential development and the second aiming at bringing about social adjustment at any cost. The latter resulted in gross abuses of people’s rights. When the ideal of a civilization becomes nothing more than smooth functioning as a society, it becomes immoral and atavistic; shorn of organizing objectives or noble principles; a lynch mob, a vicious prosecuting force that is not mindful of human or civil rights, or legitimate parameters of its own role in the interaction between the seeds and the pomegranate, or existence of any entities other than itself. In prosecution of sociopaths, was excused the most cruel and ignorant possible action against people who could be maliciously portrayed as being sociopaths – namely, anybody who did not fit in or had few social skills or had an original thought in his head. In prosecution of date rape and sexual harassment, were committed false accusations resulting in spurious destruction of careers and imprisonment, which false accusations, as National Confederation of Free Men study has shown, were more numerous than true accusations – and which, due to the media-fanned social climate of fear, resulted in false conviction, imprisonment, loss of careers, and repeated buggery and battery in prison of innocent men. In attacking anything that could offend anyone, was stifled all meaningful discourse – all thought that was in any respect controversial, hence all thought that had meaning and relevance to people’s lives.

When society is the ideal, then anything that is original, different or pioneering comes under attack for its distinctness in character from the historical accident that is the social norm of the times, and the best ideas that lead to creative solutions, artistic output and innovation are demolished. As is anyone, indeed, who has an idea in his or her mind that’s different from the mindset of the social hysteria. When the crust of the pomegranate becomes omnipotent, the reality of the seeds, like that of the air and the sun, is forgotten – and in a nation that has forbidden official tyranny, an unofficial tyranny grows up and destroys the lives of thousands of innocent people. The social norm becomes omnipotent, which it has no right to be, and destroys all potential pioneer seeds. And in this is stifled all potential for human improvement.

Yes, I am talking about the prosecution of personality disorders. I am talking about the phenomenon in which the worst of the sinners – people with no compassion or love or forbearance – deigned to define which people were fit to live, posing as protectors of public sanity and pretending as though the public as well as themselves did not possess these or related sins. With sociopathic cruelty, narcissistic lack of compassion, borderline manipulation and histrionic hysteria-mongering, the prosecutors of personality disorders abused, slandered and maligned people whom they could portray as possessing a personality disorder. They portrayed them as, essentially, wrongly made – which means that in effect they were playing God, accusing a subset of the population of being wrong by design and pretending as though in so labeling them and bringing on them a vicious treatment they and the ones that believed them were not committing a graver sin than the accused.

Needless to say, that is not consistent with the principles that founded America. That is not remotely consistent with the spirit of courage, innovation and liberty that have made this country great. The people who claim to speak for society did not create the individual, nor did they create planet Earth and the Sun. And yet they claim the right to define people as legitimate or not legitimate. As the government minded its principles of laissez-faire, the most vicious hysteria swept the country, leaving behind spuriously destroyed careers, people spuriously jailed and innocent people consigned to hells of confusion, self-abuse and despair. While the government minded its business, an unofficial tyranny grew up in the nation – a tyranny that deigned to define for itself what people had right and had no right to live, to love, to be successful and to consider themselves worthy of existence.

As the government in America applies to itself moral standards and subjects itself to checks-and-balances that prevent it from tyrannizing the population, so must the society of America likewise be subjected to checks-and-balances that prevent it from orchestrating an unofficial tyranny in the name of feminism or psychology. Rather than seeing itself as an end in and of itself, with power to define which citizen has right to live and to love, society must be seen instead as a tool – as a part in a greater, more noble and more inspired entity that is the civilization, an entity that understands and quantifies both the natural and the uniquely human quality of humanity, an entity that, in deference to this dual human nature, applies to the society as well as to its members an inspired moral standard of beautiful living, fair interaction, integrative synergistic collaboration between entities bottom-up and top-down, and artistic bounty and scientific progress that enhances the quality of the world in which we live and the lives of its members. From the degrading status of social animal whose sole purpose is to adjust in the artificial social universe regardless of moral quality of its influences, man must be elevated philosophically into a being both natural and supernatural, a being capable of exercising the human prerogative – the prerogative to use the uniquely human quality that is inspiration and will to make the best of himself and of his environment; to ennoble life. The crust of the pomegranate must be checked lest it destroy the seeds – and the entire fruit must be seen as a whole, as an entity combining the individual and society, as an entity that needs to be the best possible in itself and makes the most of its members while affording them, through a wise combination of their own efforts, the best possible existence.

Through seeing society as a tool toward making possible a civilization – an entity that makes the most of both individual and society, with individual and society united in balanced dynamic equilibrium, through interlocking patterns of competition and cooperation, toward making the best of each component and of the whole – is achieved the best of the social universe. Society stops being omnipotent and is checked to its legitimate parameters. Noble principles and ideals inform people’s behavior and make the most of people, elevating their interaction from paranoid nitpicking toward shared pursuit of the pareto-optimal world – a world that minds and honors both the natural and the supernatural; both the self-interested and the altruistic; both the artistic and the scientific; both the animal and the soul; both the competitive and the cooperative; and through the mechanism of high-minded synergistic interaction arrives at the best possible outcome for the individual and for mankind.

Part 9. Nature and Humanity

On the issue of environment and civilization, the Western society is torn between two lines of thought. One is the unconditional growth of the civilization, whatever the consequences for the planet and for the future generations. The other is a reaction against it: a return-to-the-roots hippie environmentalism that seeks to destroy the civilization and return to natural existence.

Right now, the two work together in what I consider the worst possible manner. The first group engages in reckless plunder, while the second group, being powerless to stop the plunder, instead attacks the good things that come from the civilization and the good things that civilization can achieve. Instead of keeping the first group from driving millions of species into extinction, it instead plays upon the culturally endemic fear of thought, innovation and human intelligence to fan hysterias about scientific advances, whether they consist of genetically modified corn or cloning or stem-cell research or the Human Genome Project.

I believe that both are doing grave wrong. Nature contains tremendous variety and richness, and to drive millions of species into extinction in a shortsighted pursuit of profit is to destroy what is irreplaceable to pay for temporary enrichment of the enterprise at the price of permanent destruction of riches the enterprise cannot possibly replace. Like suicide, it is a permanent solution to a temporary problem; and if it continues unchecked, the result will indeed be a permanent planetary suicide.

However, to stand in the way of research that can lead to more sustainable farming, cures for genetic illnesses, cures for paralysis and cancer, and synthesis of bacteria that can break down plastics and styrofoams with which the civilization has been poisoning the planet, is to do a still graver wrong: To deny humanity the tools it's been given to solve the problems that it has created, to make its life (and the life of the planet) rich and sustainable, and to create a civilization that is an improvement on nature and not a degradation.

The atavistic types shout about the scientific experimentation that seeks to create new life-forms or resurrect ones that people have driven into extinction. They did not shout when people used DDT and Agent Orange to poison everything around them, nor when people created enough nuclear weapons to kill the world seven times over, nor when Amazonian ranchers kill thousands of species of plants and animals every year. Why this grating, atavistic hypocrisy? Why is it OK to destroy but not to create, to pillage nature and not to improve on nature, to murder but not to heal and resurrect? It is my belief that this comes from the same place as the saying that "beauty is only skin-deep, but ugliness goes down to the bone" and that "to err is human" - from the cultural notion that evil in human beings is to be expected but good is to be suspected; that destructiveness, violence, stupidity and short-sightedness is a necessary part of the human makeup but thought, innovation and inspiration is not. It comes, I believe, from the fact that most people have never been taught to think creatively and inventively, and they can identify with ugliness and destructiveness in the human nature - the ugliness and destructiveness which they've known since taking their first breath - but cannot rise to embrace the human ability to understand, to envision, to create and to solve.

In dividing the human beings into the "leavers" who live as part of nature and "takers" who live in the face of nature, Daniel Quinn separated the two aspects of human being: A being that lives in nature and follows the laws of nature and a being that shapes and creates out of its will, intelligence and self-awareness. I believe that both the leavers and the takers are a necessary part of the human makeup, and that the beneficial outcome comes neither from return-to-the-soil atavism nor from turning the world into a giant strip mall. I believe that there is good in the leaver mentality and there is good in the taker mentality, and that the two need to work together in an integrative synthesis - in a synergy - that makes the best of both.

The good done in service of leaver mentality comes most starkly in form of Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan activist who risked her life many times to plant millions of trees in her country - an action that allowed Kenya to escape the fate of Haiti and other countries that had ignorantly driven their forests into extinction to pay for slash-and-burn farming and in so doing condemned themselves to sickness and poverty. To resurrect rainforest where it has been pillaged - to bring back natural richness to places in which it once has existed - is a prudent, inspired and ethical project that will preserve Planet Earth for future generations and for the life to come. The Reagan official who said, "If you've seen one tree, you've seen them all" can be answered quite simply, "If you've seen one Republican, you've seen them all." And to say out of that consideration that it is right to kill off thousands of species of trees, many containing useful medicinal qualities, is as damnable as to say that one should kill off all Republicans.

The good done in service of the taker mentality comes from innovators: From people who've created cars, airplanes, computers, spaceships, Internet, representative democracy, antibiotics and masterpieces such as the Sistine Chapel and the Empire State Building. It comes from people who use the unique inventive capacity in the human being to produce work that beautifies the world and improves people's lives. It comes from anyone who's ever had an original idea, anyone who's ever contributed something intelligent and creative, anyone who produced something good that has not existed before. Humanity has all it needs, not only to survive long-term, but also to manifest all the good things that live in the mind and psyche. To create a civilization that's an improvement on nature and not a degradation.

What am I proposing then? I propose taking the best of the Leaver mentality and the best of the Taker mentality and making them work together in an integrative synthesis. I propose preserving the planet for the future and repeating the feat of Wangari Maathai all over the world; and I propose using the human ingenuity to create a beautiful civilization - a civilization that builds upon nature, that improves upon nature, and that draws from the endless well of human ingenuity and intelligence to make our world the richest, most happy, most beautiful world it can be. It is to produce masterpieces - masterpieces artistic, scientific, medical, social and technological - that use the best in the human mind to create the best possible civilization. And, in synergy with the nature as it is kept from being mindlessly plundered, arrive at a planet that has the best of nature and the best of civilization, with nature in all its richness and color remaining alive and humanity building on top of it a civilization equal to all the richness, color and inspiration that has been imparted mankind.

Part 10. Utility of Art and Golden Age

The aesthetic product of the civilization constitutes its justification, consummation, and flowering. It is the thing from which the civilization derives its fame. A species of plants is shown in the botany books as its flower; it is the art of the civilization that goes in the museum thousands of years since its demise. The past civilizations we know exist to us through their artifacts and their writings; a Bible, a book of Plato or a Mayan pyramid is far more relevant to modern man than the commercial bosses of Judaic tribes, the generals who conducted Pelopponnessian Wars or the political history of the Mayas. Thus art and literature, far from being an impractical luxury, is rather the consummation of the endeavor of the civilization and its mark on the world. Artistic beauty conveys to future generation the mastery, elegance, talent, resources, vision and values that existed in the society. Art is the trace we leave behind in the world; our flowering, our consummation, our justification. And our architecture and engineering that we produce are also our mark both for the present and future generations, and as such they must be the most beautiful and tastefully designed possible, both for the sake of their inhabitants and for the sake of national pride. Beauty takes effort and talent to cultivate and as such deserves respect and protection; both in honor of the effort it took to produce it – because it is the flowering of the civilization – and because it has uplifting, enriching, ennobling effect on the inhabitants of the world; the effect of increasing the aesthetic in a manner congruent with the ethical, and thus increasing the area of intersection of ethical and aesthetic – increasing the chances for happiness.

The people who believe artistic beauty to be impractical are people who have abdicated the human prerogative – the human will’s role in shaping the world in which we live. Artistic beauty becomes practical when people value beauty and make concerted effort to make their environment beautiful and to adopt beauty as an existent within their lives, in the same way that happy relationships become practical when people’s likes and values are in accord and reflected in the partner. Artistic beauty is practical enough in Paris and San Francisco, whose inhabitants value beauty and produce architecture and artwork that reflects the best talent and striving of man and woman. And it is Paris and San Francisco, not Bologna or St. Louis, that people around the world travel to see and their civilizations recommend as their crowning glory. Art becomes practical and realistic, when people make a conscious effort to make art a part of the practical reality of their lives. And through cultivating inner beauty in people, artistic beauty creates an area of intersection in people’s minds between the ethical and the aesthetic, thus increasing their chances for happiness.

The sharing of this inner beauty becomes part of a most noble enterprise – that of formation of a happy and beautiful world. Through sharing of inner beauty, people arrive at beautiful relationships – relationships that endure with help of compassion and self-extension – with help of understanding of one’s own and other person’s inner reality and graciously accepting the other while demanding the best of oneself. As art cultivates inner beauty in people, there is more beauty inside to share and use to enrich the life of the other and enrich the relationship. The area of intersection between the ethical and the aesthetic becomes the centerpiece of the relationship; people share inner beauty and through that mechanism achieve for each other a beautiful world. Each love relationship then becomes a unit, a parcel, in formation of a beautiful civilization; a civilization in which love and beauty is a daily reality and in which people live happily.

There are ideologies that say love to be impractical or an escape from reality. Far rather, it is a result of sharing of real inner and outer beauty, using the reality of the human condition – the reality that we shape the world we inhabit – to make possible beautiful outcomes in reality of our lives. We are the shapers of the reality of our lives. Love becomes a reality of our lives when we choose to make it such – when we strive with our whole beings, the real will, the real mind, the real emotions, to make our lives reflect the reality of love. Love is a part of the reality of people’s lives, when they choose to make it a reality. The real mechanism is the sharing of inner and outer beauty; the real result is a beautiful world - a world that is also happy when the ethical and the aesthetic aspects of human condition find an area of intersection.

Through art, is achieved beautification of emotions – their ennoblement and their formation into shapes that are developed and accord with the best of human intelligence. Through sharing of this inner beauty in relationships, is achieved a beautiful world.

To the Darwinians who believe that life is all about survival, the response is: If that were true, life would never have evolved beyond the stage of the bacillus, the creature that can survive anywhere on Earth. Nature is brimming with creativity; with passion, with beauty, with inspiration, with thought, with imagination, with sensuousness, with love. Nature is a testimony that the creator of the Universe, if there is such a thing, is not a being solely of command and logic but rather a being that is also sensuous, a being that is also passionate, imaginative and inspired – and to those who do not believe in a creator, the response is: Nature is a testimony that passion, creativity and sensuousness is inextricable from the known universe. And thus development of passion, imagination and inspiration is a pious act, an act that is also realistic, an act that puts us in touch with the way the universe operates and makes it known to our hearts.

A side note on rationalism – the belief that the Universe is rational, and through rational method of inquiry we can arrive at universal truth - is that it is a philosophy that seeks to project upon the entire Universe the method of rational logic that is one function of human cognition – in much the same way as Hegel projects upon the Universe the dialectic that is another form of conducting inquiry. Both can therefore be seen to be an absurd case of hubris – of seeing the entire Universe to represent the way of cognition with which one is most familiar – until one asks whereby such functions exist in the human mind. For if the Creator of the Universe is as perfect as Bible states, then certainly He will place in His creatures the mechanisms of cognition with which they can understand His creation and approximate Him through analysis of Him as reflected within the creation – and in this case, both rationalism and dialectical systems, and also inspiration, insight, and romantic passion would be useful in apprehending the Universe, even if neither may do so completely. If we have evolved, then linear logic as well as the dialectic, and also passion and inspiration, are features of human species – ones that can be employed to its benefit or to its harm - but that are regardless in no way demonstrative of the truth of the Universe, merely of advantage of survival therein – unless, that is, the very process of evolution has allowed over time for the structure of the Universe to be built into the mechanism of the brain, with all its multifarious complexity creating different mechanisms which are congruent with different aspects of the universal whole and are useful for comprehending its different parts.

The contention of the second verse of Tao Te Ching that in conceiving of beauty we create a duality that manifests ugliness is manifestly false. Beauty is an axiomatic concept, one that exists in and of itself and neither requires its opposite to exist nor manifests in its opposite when thought about. A tiger is beautiful, regardless of whether or not there is an ugly animal in the ecosystem; nature produces beauty continuously without giving a second thought as to its opposite. And in human existence, beautiful environments like San Francisco and beautiful artifacts like Sistine Chapel are created by people deliberately striving to produce beauty; ugly environments like Beaumont, TX, Khartoum or Soviet-built cities consisting of 5-story mid-rises are created by people who do not care about beauty and concentrate solely on utility. The people who strive for beauty, produce beauty; they do not produce ugliness. Rather ugliness is a result of failure to include aesthetic consideration in our activities – a result of failure to strive to produce beauty.

The contention of Taoism – that the phenomenal world is a duality that consists of interaction of opposite forces, forces such as yin and yang or day and night – is an interesting ideology. However, the concept is perverted when the Westerner adds to these components the concept of good and evil. Quite simply, evil is not a legitimate force; it is an aberration, a case of something gone wrong. Same with ugliness; same with disease. A distinction has to be made between legitimate existents – existents such as reason and emotion, or competition and cooperation, or individual and society, which can work together toward creation of best products – and illegitimate existents such as disease and evil, existents that in no way improve the world in which we live. A legitimate synergy, or dialectic, is one between legitimate existents. Not all claimed existents are legitimate.

Integrationism is a reversal of Taoism. Whereas Taoism seeks to see through the duality to the true, non-dual, universal essence, integrationism gives the human being the role of craftsman and artisan, using the two aspects of the duality to craft and to integrate into ever-new, ever-more-interesting products. The parts of the duality are seen as raw materials from which man sculpts with his intelligence and his inspiration creations that are better than sum of their parts. Thus, reason and emotions are both given room to exist and then integrated into an artifact; nature and civilization are given room to exist side by side and then to together create a world that contains the best of both. Likewise in pursuance of integrationism, government and business, man and woman, humanities and science, individual and society, competition and cooperation, and all other aspects of human existence, are allowed to exist and then work together to create, using the mechanism of human craftsmanship, the product that is the best consummation of all.

It is said that beauty is only skin-deep, but ugliness goes down to the bone. That is entirely not the case; a woman who’s beautiful, loving, compassionate, soulful and artistic – who constantly finds beauty around her and portrays it in her artwork - is beautiful all the way through, while many people who look bad at one point in their life can look good at another, as has been the case with Yours Truly. The myth that beauty is shallow is a lie based on limited understanding; there is nothing shallow about Michelangelo’s work, nor about Yosemite Park, nor about Paris or Barcelona. True natural beauty is a flower of the universe; true manmade beauty is a flower of the civilization. Manmade beauty requires talent and effort and deserves the highest respect, in the same way as natural beauty deserves protection.

Through cultivation of inner and outer beauty with help of art, poetry and philosophy, and its ongoing sharing among people, is created a beautiful world for people to inhabit. A world in which art is as practical and formative as production is now; a world in which people live beautifully, think beautifully, interact beautifully and are beautiful inside and out. Sri Aurobindo’s ideal – that the substance of moral endeavor is to make one’s whole life beautiful – becomes enshrined in the lives of the people; and the goal of all moral science – to arrive at the merger of ethical and aesthetic, with the aesthetic informing the ethical into optimal shapes and the ethical informing the aesthetic into morally justifiable action – is thereby achieved, arriving at the integrity of the civilization and the practical happiness of its populace. And Baudellaire’s cry – “Make life beautiful, make life beautiful” – becomes formative of the civilization, motivating people into creating a life beautiful inside and out. Which, by increasing the area of intersection between the ethical and the aesthetic, leads to happiness.

Oscar Wilde said that we have been given a world which only our folly prevents from being a paradise. The paradise is achieved when one lives at the area of intersection of reason and emotion, or ethical and aesthetic – the area at which beauty in all its forms can be achieved and shared. The result is happiness and ongoing ecstasy. Which lasts for as long as people can make it last – sometimes a lifetime, sometimes a few months, sometimes a tracer that points to a world as it can be – and is never forgotten, motivating the person to either attempt to recreate it or wait for it in another lifetime.

The belief widespread in many of the world’s religions that the things that happen do so by the will of God, or that all power comes from God, is as easy to turn on its head as is postmodernism. If everything is done by the will of God, then the changes that the leader, or the revolutionary, or the influential figure whether or not approved by the religion, makes in the social order by exercising his mind and his will is also will of God. Which means that, with any changes made to the social order, the religious people will have to live because it is will of God. Deifying the status quo means that any status quo - even the one created by people who are not part of the religion - is divinely ordained, and governments such as those of Communist China or Mussolini’s Italy or Chavez’s Venezuela are there because God willed them to be there. Thus, the success by whatever means at getting the power means that God is on one’s side; a tenet that is at best Machiavellian and at worst sociopathic. The logical action, given such beliefs, is to take power by whatever means and keep it by whatever means – an action that, in places that exercise such beliefs, more than a few people took and were thereafter justified by religions as having taken.

The status quo at any given point in history is an amalgamation of influences, some good, some bad. The people who practice the aforementioned belief claim that spiritual advancement consists of accepting the world as is, whatever its influences. This kind of mentality negates man’s highest faculty – the faculty of moral choice. A human being has the moral prerogative to determine what influences are right and what influences are wrong. He accepts what is right and fights what he knows to be wrong. It is due to this process that has been achieved the best of the status quo, and it is through this process that a status quo worthy of human habitation can continue to be achieved.

The spiritual belief that ego or mind is something to be overcome is therefore a fallacy. It is in man’s ego and in man’s mind that moral choices are made, and it is man’s ego and man’s mind that motivate man to achieve and take risks and perform courageous, innovative action to benefit self and others. To eviscerate ego is to eviscerate man and to render him incapable of moral choice and constructive action that benefits the world. The Western civilization is a product of hundreds of millions of minds and egos striving courageously to create the best possible world; and to deny the ego and the mind is to deny the Western civilization.

If the theory of evolution is true, then rationalism - search for universal truth in reason - and romanticism - search for universal truth in emotions - are both legitimate enterprises, as both have evolved for the best outcome of the species. If people have been created by a perfect creator, the same holds true, as in both the reason and the emotion is the mark of the Creator. However, both rationalism and romanticism by themselves have been shown to produce garbage along the way. Rationalism by itself produces dry, heartless, hateful and mean people who have no wonder in their hearts or compassion for fellow man - people who think that machines are superior to human beings and that passion as well as compassion are manifestation of inferior functions; people who would willingly sacrifice the lives and the future of everyone in their vicinity in order to make a better gadget or serve eugenics. Romanticism by itself produces people who are moved by every emotion that they may have and lead chaotic lives. Both, however, have also produced great results as well: Rationalism, scientific and technological progress; romanticism, beautiful literature and art. And in the concept of universal consciousness, rationalism and romanticism merged to arrive at a conclusion discerned, from one side, by quantum mechanics, and from the other side by mysticism and literature: the conclusion of cosmic consciousness, that led to the belief that the new age was coming – but which new age has taken time to come.

I suggest a better model than the New Age. I suggest the model of synergy between the bottom-up and the top-down in the ultimate sense – the natural and supernatural in the human being; the integrative synthesis between animal and God; the dynamic harmony between man’s science and art and God’s revelation. The model of including both heaven and earth and applying both to achieve the best outcome of both levels of human existence, with the bottom-up result of human effort and the top-down revelation united in a synergy that understands, consummates, checks and extends itself to involve and make the most of both components and achieve the best synthetic products. The model of cultivating emotions with help of art and cultivating mind with help of science to create an understanding, both rational and emotional, that is true to the universe and that creates an area of intersection between the ethical and the aesthetic. The model of making our world a glory to God and to humanity, with the best qualities of each other working in dynamic synthesis with each other to achieve the outcome that is more than the sum of its parts – that is a product of man and God working together, with the invisible hand and the deliberate purposeful action balancing each other and making each other complete. Resulting in a dignified, ennobled, fully human and divinely inspired existence that allows people to be human beings and creatures of God at once, through their thought, inspiration, passion and revelation both competitively and cooperatively – both self-interestedly and altruistically – both individually and socially - both in business and in government – both in science and in art – both in worldly matters and in religion - making a Pareto-optimal situation that is the best world possible: the world of progress, beauty, goodness, nobility, mutual understanding and dynamic harmony leading in multidimensional synergy toward ever better outcomes for the universe and for mankind.

* “People who compromise what they believe in to satisfy their goals wind up dissatisfied with their accomplishments. If you do not believe yourself to be moral, satisfaction is unattainable” – The 100 Secrets of Happy People, David Niven


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