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March 2006

That's life

So much of what humans have created ends up trapping us in the service of it.  It should be the other way around.  Let us consider governments and economies.  Weren't they created to serve us...to create order out of chaos, with the purpose of improving the life of the individual?

Humans create theories...sciences...as tools that help us understand the complexities of life.  I realized in graduate school that a person doesn't truly understand a theory or a model until a person identifies the limitations or failures.  Everything fails to some extent when it meets the real world.  Take, for example, the market economy.  The Free Market is the most natural way for humans to exist...it fits our evolutionary impulses...our human nature.  And yet some dogmatics go around acting as though it is a belief system.  How can it be a belief system?  I believe in eating when I'm hungry, but that isn't my belief system.  I believe people should talk to each other, but it isn't a belief system.  I believe people should walk upright, but it isn't a belief system.  It is just something we do.  We trade.  We own stuff.  So what?  Now what is our purpose?

Look at what happens when "Free Market Economics" becomes a dogma...a belief system.  It becomes impossible for followers to consider an idea that falls outside its parameters.  Even when the demands of life itself fall out of the parameters, life is ignored in favor of dogma.  Life is expected to serve the "hand of the market", and not the other way around.  Our wish for simplicity lobotomizes us from what is otherwise clear: life is complicated.  That's why we have the phrase "That's life"!

We must connect everything back to life!  The individual, the community, and even the non-human life around us!  What good are ideas, what good are institutions, what good are belief-systems, if they truly do not serve life and improve life?  What greater purpose is there than life itself?

Posted by Mark Manney.