Economics, Psychology, Philosophy and our Shared Selves

There is a certain childish wish-fulfilment in many ideological, economic and political descriptions (and their associated, self-inflected, experience) of reality. This is a simplicity sought in an order and a taxonomy or categorical differentiation, difference and the abstract “distance” of Other(ing) which seeks to impose structure where there rarely is any. Or at least there is no structure and order as simple or caricatured as would render many ideologically-fuelled economic narratives as true or accurate simulations of this shared psychological and material reality we inhabit.

The off-target ideological and political over-simplifications that economists more often find themselves seeking to appease are in fact (and in general) the source of those distributed cultural problems and dissonant geostrategic catastrophes to which their own ideology is always already a recursively perfect and prefabricated answer. In this way, we (all) create the self-propagating necessity and self-validation of our own grotesque misunderstandings of the nature of economic and social reality and find ourselves bound, enveloped and trapped in this Sisyphean perseveration. The distributed cultural or national forms of this are in no uncertain terms related to it by a direct microcosm/microcosm and particle/field duality.

Our cultural attention spans have become so diminished by the high frequency of stimuli – of accelerating rates of information entropy, novelty and change – that we rarely acknowledge the depths of history, the profound implications and consequences of a misapplied “science” of economics, or the extent to which we are all so easily caught up and swept away by the alluring simplicities of ideological master-narratives and models.

As Kierkegaard noted: “Life must be lived forwards but can only be understood backwards”; similarly, we would all do very well (indeed) to acknowledge that our shared psychological history (as culture) itself has a history. We find ourselves flung rapidly into a profound uncertainty and intractably complex future that economists can do little more than cultivate vague probabilistic forecasting for. That we are (all) so enthusiastic to hand over our futures to these (kinds of) framework is really just a return to an underlying anachronistic psychological symmetry through which we reflexively project a simplistic model of Self, of Other and of control and are willing to sacrifice the complex facts of a shared reality upon its altar.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.