Jun 222010

In response to http://www.zenit.org/article-29616?l=english

It is very important that the tendency of western capitalism to make commodities – of labor AND of consumers – be balanced by this sense of human dignity.

One of the long standing criticisms of capitalist societies has always been that capitalism needs “men who cooperate in large numbers to consume more and more and whose tastes can be standardized, easily influenced and anticipated.” To the extent that we are more influenced by marketing executives than we are by the Truth of who we are, this prediction shall come to pass. The celebrity worship we see creeping and creeping and creeping, deeper and deeper into our society, is evidence that even the self can be turned into a commodity to be bought and sold on the market, no different than any other object.

The outcome for such a man who has been turned into a commodity is that he experiences his life force as in investment which must bring him the maximum profit obtainable under existing market conditions – in my business the bosses and professional career makers and advisors all talk about the idea that you are a brand. Careerism in the entertainment industry is reduced to the pure objectification of the self as an absolute commodity. This is the ultimate goal of every news anchor and commentator on TV, whether they be on the evening news or American Idol.

The alienation that this inevitably leads to causes such a man to seek relief in constant amusement, which serves as a temporary distraction from his alienation from himself. This man becomes like the man described in Brave New World: “well fed, well clad, yet without self.” Happiness is thought to be found in “having fun,” which is also turned into a commodity to be marketed, and bought and sold on the free market. Such a person is truly lost to themselves, with no capacity to love – except perhaps in the false, sentimental, emotional kind of “love” promoted in romance novels and Hollywood stories. And he is unable to love simply because he has become completely lost to himself. Such a man spins around and around in the influencers’ whirlwind, unable to find secure footing because he is not grounded in Truth.

Inasmuch as I consider myself a capitalist for economic and moral reasons (it has unprecedented power to eradicate poverty in the world), I also see that it is NOT a system of morals, and therefore it must be complimented with the knowledge and practice of Love, which is both the awareness of Truth and acknowledgment of who Man is. As you pointed out in your homily, to answer Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am,” we must have first answered the question, “who do we say we are?” This question must be answered correctly if man is to retain any dignity whatsoever in this world.

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