Beyond Separation: reframing concepts of capitalism 🗯️Sep 14, 2023
When people praise or criticize capitalism, I usually don’t know what they’re referring to. Is it a self-organizing system? A cabal of uber-wealthy conspirators out to oppress the less fortunate? The Randian alchemization of selfishness for the good of the whole? Crypto? The Gates and Buffets who pledged to donate their fortunes? A (perhaps immature) evolutionary unfolding to be transcluded in a post-scarcity future?
I don’t think this is just semantic; I think the use of words points to reality-carvings and act as projector-containers for what we haven’t yet been able to include in our wider identity. When I ask friends to clarify what they’re referring to if they ever use the word, they often raise really interesting points that lead to rich discussions.
What’s exciting me more though, is noticing how these conceptualizations rest on a fundamental premise of separation—a delineation between ‘us’ and 'them'—‘the systems’ like capitalism, government, or corporations, often seen as entities either coming to our rescue or leading to our doom. I’m still trying to articulate what feels a little untrue about this. It sure seems like a really useful mental move to separate ourselves from the systems we’re embedded in and co-created by; looking at something from the “outside” helps us see blindspots and come up with creative ways of moving towards more goodness.
Yet it also comes at the expense of recognizing interdependence, wholeness. Worse, it can simultaneously disempower us from changing things for the better and exonerate us from responsibility as members-holons of the thing we want to change.
Apart from philosophical non-duality where it’s all dream stuff arising in the one consciousness, when we point to these large social objects I want to see them as imprints of our collective dreams, fears, initiatives, and apathies. I’m inviting dialogues about “capitalism” to morph from discussions about external entities to conversations about "us," guiding us towards a future where we are not mere spectators but active, interdependent participants steering the course of our societal narrative.
With love, Jordan
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