Monday, February 28, 2011


Concepts that have proven useful in ordering things easily achieve such authority over us that we forget their earthly origins and accept them as unalterable givens.

Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed.

I believe in intuition and inspiration. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.

Einsten: The whole world is ours to observe, to see, and understand, and yet we still only understand a fraction of what there is to understand. Don’t you agree, my friend?

Interlocutor: I am not sure I do agree with you. Surely, when man has set foot on the Moon, split the atom, conquered the darkest regions of the Earth, we must b near to an almost com plete understanding of our world, it seems to me.

E: Yet look around you. Do not people die of starvation or illness related to malnutrition still in many parts of the world? How can you say in all seriousness that we are even close to understanding our world when minute by minute children die.

I: But they have always died, haven’t they?

E: Yes, they have, and we seem powerless to stop it.

I: I thought we were talking about what we understand, and yet you use the word ‘powerless’.

E: Well said, my friend. You are perfectly right. We may know how to stop the child dying, but we lack the ability – the power – to do it, more is the pity.

I: By why do we have the knowledge and yet not the ability? Surely if we know something, then we are able to use that knowledge to do something – in this case, prevent a child from dying.

E: There is a great deal of difference between knowledge and ability, and between having that ability and using it, I should say.

I: Do you not think that with the state of our advanced knowledge, and you must surely admit that we have such an advanced state of knowledge – surely with our advanced state of knowledge, we are in a position to prevent such things from happening.

E: Children die in Africa and elsewhere, not through a global lack of sustenance – food and water – but rather through a localized problem, in many cases.

Is it not true that countries in which children die of starvation and illness related to malnutrition, are invariably net exporters of food?

I: I have heard that to be true, yes. Is it not a terrible state of affairs?

E: Right away, I take issue with your words. You say that it is a terrible state of affairs.

I: You think terrible too weak a word. I agree.

E: One adjective will do just as well as another. It is with your phrase, ‘state of affairs’ that I dislike.

I: Why?

E: For the very simple reason that it implies a sort of inevitability – as though it is impossible to change – that is how the world is managed, it infers.

I: But is that not how the world is? Do children not die every day, whatever we call the conditions?

E: So they do, my friend, so they do. And yet we still accord the orthodoxies of economics as laws, in the same way that we talk of the law of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics, when in reality they are nothing of the sort.

I: If they are not laws, what are they?

E: They are synthesized theories made to look like laws, taught in our universities, by learned mean and women, as if they were laws, and then they are perpetuated in the world of trade and commerce as if they were just that, immutable laws, the going against of which is wholly illogical, and thus rendered incomprehensible.

I: I will go further and say that not only are they taught in our universities, a fact that gives them universal acceptability, but then successive Western governments of whatever political hue, are bound by their pretexts and their edicts until they assume the status of laws of a legal kind, on the statute books of Western liberal democracies.

If recent events in the financial world have taught us anything, they have taught us that the so called laws of economics, and the world run along the lines of liberal, free trade economics, called by us ‘ capitalism’ is indeed a sham of such gargantuan proportions that it has been responsible for the humbling of national European governments, dictated to by banking corporations, who, being ‘bailed out’ by elected bodies, then have the audacity to further confront all with their assumed invincibility by giving their directors incredibly, unbelievably high bonuses.

Working people across the United States of America, the wealthiest nation on Earth, have been forcibly evicted from their own home, driven out by those to whom they are in debt, finding themselves, in any case, put out of full time paid employment by the very laws the Western world holds up as paragons of virtue in an academic as well as a practical sense.

How can we say that capitalism is superior to any other economic system when it has been responsible for such calamity and catastrophe?

E: Let us not forget children dying, either.
Robert L. Fielding

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