Long Answer to the Life Question

I’ll begin with an answer that, while provocative, is probably too obvious to answer.

How can there be only one way to live a successful life? Many people have asked this question, and there have been essays written, long books written, and even movies made on this subject. Typically, on reflection, most people will conclude that there can only be one way to live a successful life, and that is to devote one’s entire life to whatever it takes to achieve perpetual success. I find this question remarkable. Why do we anthropologists assume that man’s inherent nature is such that he must have only one destiny? Consider:

a) That all men are created in the image of God, each with a soul of a saint (a essentialist) or an animal (an integrist).

b) That the world’s a mess, and that man’s only hope for survival is to strive valiantly for peace (Anthropology + a new discipline).

c) That it is terribly important to promote rationality and good character in all people.

d) That religious belief is a block to progress. That all people are savages, and that a call to open the mind to the spiritual saviour is a euphemism for therapy.

The third answer is the most important. Life is a matter of intense energy. The burning desire within each human being for the love, respect, wealth, and happiness that are limited by physical forces is a passion that every human being should aspire to, and that each can achieve only as long as he accepts the realities of physical reality. Physical reality happens to be that there is always war, and hostile conflicts are everywhere. The only way to endure is to realize that we are all guinea pigs, and that it is our duty to learn how to make our way in this world of trouble.

To achieve this kind of peace, one needs resources: energy, willing bodies, and moral support. When these resources are available, man has the ability to discover, follow, and implement principles that lead to long-term psychological security and well-being.

Adam Smith (the father of modern economics and ethics), in the first of his treatises, called upon man to “diffuse the disorder” and to “subdue the enemy with skill and use what we have”. Smith believed that the economic philosophy followed by Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, was the best way to ensure that society would always have something desirable that it could recommend to its members. It was a guidance to live by.

Within the treatise that Smith wrote, he also laid the foundation for the modern economics and ethics of political economy. Before the arrival of the thirteen colonies, there was roughly ninety different forms of economy. Upon arrival in the Religious War, there were basically three kinds of economies existing in Europe;

a) Industrial economiesb) Agricultural economiesc) service economies

The divide between the growth industries and the service economies was approximately equal. It was only after the emergence of the industrial revolution and the calling of the so-called champions of industry and markets, that something rapidly changed. The industrial revolution was the catastrophic emergence of the machine age that would forever cast a vision on economics as the science of production and marketing.

The machine age was characterised by:

1. rapidity of innovation

2. size and scale of business

3. highly specialization and specialization

4. mass production

The machine age required for its culmination – the necessity for long-range planning, prophecy of future, anticipation of need, betterment of alternative products and services, and the development of administration, marketing and the statistics of production and demand – was decades away.

The economic impact of the scientific revolution

The scientific revolution, by virtue of which industry participants, scientists and technicians, themselves, became creative and inventive, had aificent rewards. However, while hardware accelerated, intellectual contentment, innovation and originality invariably took a back seat. The financial crisis of 1929, for instance, revealed that while hardware the market, there was no guarantee that science and technology would follow suit.

Today, we would say that the financial revolution had been a transformational period that had left the financial and economicmpire of industry essentially vacant. The term “incomprehension” best describes what the scientific revolution, qua technology, has done to the labour market, and to the means of production and distribution.

The scientific revolution’s most indispensable contribution has been toospels – scientific discoveries that are Canonical discoveries:

1. Canonical discoveries are isolated inventions that help fulfill a function in the world.

2. Canonical discoveries are not inventions.

3. Canonical discoveries are not research.

4. Are published results complete?

5. Are the results themselves uniform?