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Stability and creativity



 

May you live in interesting times  . --- Chinese curse 

There is increasing evidence that evolution proceeds by what is called punctuated equilibrium  . For long stretches a species remains essentially unchanged and then, during a brief period, there is rapid development to a new species. The conditions for this may be the isolation of a part of the population or some new factor that affects the entire population.

Change is painful, disruptive and dangerous. Stability is pleasant and nourishing. We have suffered the curse of living through the most rapid and dramatic changes in history. It is extremely difficult to adapt to such rapid change. We have no choice. We crave stability but we cannot reach stability until we go through the disequilibrium of this time. The stability that we move towards must be more broadly based then our consciousness is today. Broadening consciousness in an individual is heroic difficult work. Doing the same in an entire nation or planet is heroic and difficult on a global scale. The work proceeds one individual at a time. The consciousness of a nation is invested in the consciousness of its people. Broadening are individual consciousness as part of a global broadening of consciousness is what nature and the times demand of us. If we are not up to the task the danger that we will self destruct as a species is quite real. Evolution will try again if it has to.

Intellect is leery of broadening consciousness for this requires methods and ideas that are beyond intellect's grasp. There is no prescription or formula for doing this. We must pay more attention to our inner nature. We must spend time in quiet thought  or a walk through the woods. We must read and let what we read soak in rather than just being understood. We need serious dialogue with others and with ourselves.

At the time when this is most needed external forces conspire to make it most difficult. Our jobs demand more time and concentration. The media  bombards us with empty entertainment and shallow ideas. What little leisure time  we have is devoted to carefully structured exercise or other organized activity. We are in a self destructive feedback  loop. The harder we try the worse things get because trying harder  is a big part of the problem.

We need to recognize the poisonous nature of these forces and we need to find ways to circumvent them. Money and power are at the root of these forces.  Wealth and power are essential. Without them we can do nothing. However the struggle for power  is becoming trivialized as a struggle for financial success. Money is the measure of all things. It is no longer just a tool. Politician talk about investment  as if all investment involved financing corporate activity. It is the ultimate absurdity that we cannot see the economic value in investing in the education, development and security of our children while we spend a fortune escalating without end on new prisons  .

This is intellect pushing past the point that it works. Money is a simple quantitative measure of success. It is a goal intellect can focus on, but it is an empty goal that leads nowhere. Without a religious sense of connectedness to something beyond one's individual existence nothing has an enduring meaning. Intellect has smashed all the fairy tales of religion  and is too narrow and blind to see past the fairy tales to the underlying truths. It has nothing to guide it but a calculation of net worth  .

A revival of religious values  is essential. This cannot be a regression to the old fairy tales. We must renew the eternal values with a vision of religious truth that is compatible with the achievements of modern science. That is perhaps the greatest value that can come from Jung's work.

Wealth is the collective product of a nation and mankind. Our wealth  in large measure is the legacy of knowledge and culture from those who came before us. Whatever an individual or generations adds to that is minute. That legacy belongs to every human being equally just as the right to breathe the air does. Of course there is a role for private property  , but that role is to provide the resources and motivation to contribute to our collective wealth  of culture and material goods. Property rights are always subordinate to human rights  . When private wealth goes past the point of providing needed resources or motivation for productive and creative activity it has no purpose. To see wealth itself as a measure of success or achievement is corrupt and destructive.

We should see the distribution of wealth  as an optimization problem. How do we structure an economy to maximize wealth in the broadest sense of that term? We should not look at it in terms of who is entitled to what. Wealth would not exist without society and nation and the distribution of wealth in those institutions has always been highly arbitrary. Of course one must respect the current state of affairs. What ever changes are made must evolve from the state we are at in a way that is not too disruptive.

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