Rational Religion

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Economics vs. “Moral Aesthetics”


JOHN CASSIDY, in an article on John Kenneth Galbraith, New Yorker, Nov. 30, 1998, mentioned that Galbraith's Affluent Society goes "well beyond orthodox economics, into...an altogether different discipline--moral aesthetics."


How very sad!


Since they are all human concepts, all disciplines are human.  They are all part of the same continuum.


I have already mentioned the indifferently successful attempt by non-religious thinkers to downplay the inherent conflict between belief/conviction and the processes of objective, innovative thought.


(Objective, innovative thinkers being in the profound minority, they often seek to mitigate their vulnerable position by maintaining that, for instance, Science and Religion do not really disagree because they don't have enough common ground to sustain the argument.  That is, they are separate mental processes, so they cannot agree or disagree.)


We establish "different disciplines" because our minds are puny and poorly organized to deal with the "broad picture."    It's easier to think in a constrained format, and it's much easier to teach in that compartmentalized fashion, so the poor, crippled process is self-perpetuating.


Our minds are so resistant to integrating disciplines that we tend to think of some integrations as patently ridiculous; the aforementioned Economics, for instance, and Music.  How could they possibly have anything meaningful to do with one another?


If they do not, why do the formulators of television advertising -- experts in the art of accomplishing the most in most economical fashion -- so often take the trouble, expense and precious moments of airtime to back their various pitches with melody?    The bridge, of course, is human emotion or mood, which music appeals to, directly; and which is therefore capable of influencing economic decisions on a subtle "nonintellectual" level. 


So, how sad that Economics and Moral Aesthetics are so blithely regarded as intellectually distinct!


Economics is the Business of the World.  Individual or nation, if our economy is healthy we have a greater chance of avoiding illness ourselves.  Our entire organism, from our mental state to our choice of political institutions, to whether we eat regularly, is inextricably tied to our economics.


The notion that none of this has anything to do with 'Moral Aesthetics"  - the basic theory of idealized human intercourse - is appalling!