Desires drive the world, say
economists, without pausing to think what desires are. De gustibus non est disputandum ‒ tastes are not to be disputed ‒
recalled the Nobel Prize-winning economists Gary S. Becker and George J.
Stigler in a 1977 article, on the subject of “preferences”. Consumers know what
they want and that suffices, they argue, for due respect can then be given to
human liberty. Let people wish freely for what they will and decide how to
enjoy it. That will make them happiest, and will ensure the greatest bliss to
the most people in our common world (or technically speaking, maximise utility
at individual and social levels). It becomes ever clearer that this is not so
for several reasons.
Many academics fail to question what the nature of desires is and are little concerned with the myriad senses of happiness. We hang out the banner of freedom and leave mankind to flounder amidst the greatest undertaking in human life. By so doing we assume the two cornerstones of the system ‒ desires and the pleasure of fulfilling them ‒ as given without delving into them thoroughly. We have chosen cornerstones of a material whose composition is unknown to us. Does this not bring blind faith into building the house of civilization?
Continue reading Desires and happiness: the sacred and secret cornerstones of economics (excerpt from my forthcoming book)
At certain times in life, we feel that things are out of control. We have done all what we could, and yet, there is silence, there is no response, there is no awaited event or meeting or clear direction. We are waiting.
These spaces in-between tend to make up most of our life time, most of our being. Like the space between particles, or the space between the atoms, or the space between celestial bodies in the universe. Without space, no material would exist. These spaces, these waiting times are inherent part of our lives. They may feel like a vacuum, they may feel painful, but there is an immense freedom in them – as they are not filled with the “usual” stuff. We need to honour them, as we honour ourselves. We need to let go of wanting to control or wanting to fill this space. We need to be able to stay calmly in this freedom of emptiness, the freedom of not knowing yet. Our true freedom is to be at peace in these empty spaces. These spaces in between make us able to transform, to take a leap, to enter a new phase in our lives. Trusting and being and being well in ourselves is the best we can do. Just like a mother expecting a baby, one cannot rush, just honour the growth of (yet invisible) life inside. Be well in your space in-between! You are not “only” waiting, you are already living. This is your life.
What is your logo? What is your symbol, which truly expresses who you are now?
Mine was born partly out of my name: I love to sign my letters to close friends with a simple “O”. “O”, because of its shape, showing completeness, a circle which bonds individual dots, and because of the spaciousness in the middle. I always liked to ponder the beauty of the shape and appreciated that it was given to me as my initial. It led me to the “enso” sign in Zen Buddhism. The circle is hand drawn, and the brushstroke continues in space, entering a new dimension. A circle, which is also a spiral. Complete, whole, but still somewhat irregular, truly human in its implementation. Sacred imperfection, artistic and artful, ever rising.
What is YOUR logo?