Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Necessity for Faith - The Secret Sources of Wealth & Poverty

21st Century Sustainable Hybrid Organizations - another White Board by O'Steven

Economies are governed by thoughts and they reflect laws of the mind rather than the laws of nature. George Gilder, a techno sage and entrepreneurial innovator teaches that a crucial law of mind is that belief precedes knowledge.

He argues that new knowledge does not come without a leap of hypothesis, and a projection of the intuitive imagination. You can't fully see anything new from an old place and the old saw of "look before you leap" provides only for the continual elaborations and refinements of old ideas that comprise the bulk of scholarship.

Instead it is the...."leap, not the look, that generates the crucial information; the leap through time and space, beyond the swarm of observable fact, that opens up the vista of discovery."

Thus, creative thought necessitates an act of faith and the believer must trust her or his instincts, imagination and the spontaneous notions of the mind, enough to test them in the rough and tumble reality of the marketplace.

Crucial to this creative process is the sensitivity to others responses, which is another key aspect of love. Creative thought needs to be open to change and surprise and there must be a process of divorce and rejection. Unless wrong ideas can be abandoned, no one will risk commitment to them in an uncertain world, and progress will be halted.

The essential laws of creative thinking are summed up as faith, love, openness, conflict and falsifiability.

The essential laws of economic progress and innovation are faith, altruism, investment, competition, and bankruptcy which also happen to be the rules of capitalism. Capitalism is successful only as it laws accord with the laws of the mind. It is able to fulfill human needs when it is focused on giving, which depends on the sensitivity to the needs of others. It is open to faith and experiment because it is open to competition and bankruptcy. Wrestling in the marketplace capitalism accumulates the capital gains not only of its successes but also of its failures, capitalized in new knowledge.

"The dynamics of economic growth thus consist of the fundamental process of all growth and development in nature and thought: a largely spontaneous and mostly unpredictable flow of increasing diversity and differentiation and new products and modes of production."

"The key thing to notice about this process is that most of its motive activities take place beyond the view of the statistician. It is a personal and psychological drama that decides whether a person dares to borrow and take risks to carry out an innovative idea that all statistics show will probably - like two-thirds of all new businesses in America - fail within five years. Chance is the foundation of change and the vessel of the divine."

"Peirce has shown that chance not only is at the very center of human reality but also is the deepest source of reason and morality. In his posthumous volume, Chance, Love, and Logic, he wrote: 'The first step in evolution is putting sundry thoughts into situations in which they are free to play..The idea that chance begets order is the cornerstone of modern physics,' and, he might have added, biology as well. "

"Peirce argues, therefore, that both evolution and progress, whether in science or in society, are dependent on "a conceived identification of one's interests with those of an unlimited community: a recognition of the possibility of this interest being made supreme, and hope in the unlimited continuance of intellectual activity.....Logic is rooted in the social principle..." Pierce's mathematical doctrine of chances leads him to see that all human creativity and discovery require the transcendence of narrow rationality and an embrace of religious values."

"It interests me to notice," wrote this great logical philosopher, "that these sentiments seem to be pretty much the same as that famous trio of Charity, Faith, and Hope, which in the estimation of St. Paul, are the finest and greatest of spiritual gifts." They are the gifts that work together to free mankind from the bondage of power and the dead hand of the past and open us to the possibilities of the divine."

"Success is always unpredictable and thus an effect of faith and freedom. God is the foundation of all living knowledge; and the human mind, to the extent it can know anything beyond its own meager reach, partakes of the mind of God."

"A thinker who shrinks from paradox and conflict is nearly prohibited from innovation as problems and crises are in themselves the new frontier; are themselves the mandate for individual and corporate competition and creativity; are themselves the reason why we can't afford the consolations of planning and stasis."

"This belief will allow us to see the best way of helping the poor, the way to understand the truths of equality before God that can only come from freedom and diversity on earth. It leads us to abandon, above all, the idea that the human race can become self-sufficient, can separate itself from chance and fortune in a hubristic siege of rational resource management, income distribution, and futuristic planning. "

"Our greatest and only resource is the miracle of human creativity in a relation of openness to the divine. It is a resource that above all we should deny neither to the poor, who can be the most open of all to the future, nor to the rich or excellent of individuals, who can lend leadership, imagination, and wealth to the cause of beneficent change."

"The tale of human life is less the pageant of unfolding rationality and purpose envisaged by the Enlightenment than a saga of desert wanderings and brief bounty, the endless dialogue between mankind and God, between alienation and providence, as we search for the ever-rising and receding promised land, which we can see most clearly, with the most luminous logic, when we have the faith and courage to leave ourselves open to chance and fate. Reinhold Niebuhr summed up our predicament:"

Nothing worth doing is completed in one lifetime.
Therefore we must be save by hope.
Nothing true or beautiful makes complete sense in any context of history.
Therefore we must be saved by faith.
Nothing we do, no matter how virtuous, can be accomplished alone.
Therefore we are saved by love.

"These are the fundamental laws of economics, business, technology, and life. In them are the secret sources of wealth and poverty."

Wealth and Poverty by George Gilder

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