Aug 14, 2023Liked by Seth Jordan

Seth Thomas Jordan - this essay calls to you:

Trial, Triumph, and the Art of the Possible: The Remarkable Story Behind Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”


It's dark, but I hear a lonesome train passing down the escarpment between me and the great lake called Erie. Above me, up the grape-filled slopes, deer browse between mown fields, gas extraction wells, and a verdant forest that fills the gorge beyond the ridge. I cannot be much further west and still in New York. A mile or two from here the water flows to Lake Chautauqua and the Gulf of Mexico.


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Thanks for sharing, Tad (the essay and a snapshot of where you're at, it sounds beautiful). I look forward to giving it a read! - Seth

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Jun 30, 2023Liked by Seth Jordan

Hi Seth,

Your comment about the impulse to fix what is broken in society gave me pause. It's usual to want to fix what is broken, but what caused it to break? Is the social function too weak to do what needs to be done? Is the form unsuited to what it's being asked to do? Might it be better to look at the function entirely (holistically) to see if another entire form would be more suitable. Think "Social Safety Net." I know there is something, many things, better.

Thanks for bringing forward the conversation that explores for the better things.

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Hey Nick - thanks for the comment. I think you're right that "the form is unsuited to what it's being asked to do." Our social forms have evolved over time - out of earlier social forms - but they haven't kept up with our soul evolution.

At the same time I'd also agree that "the social function is too weak" if by that you mean our social capacities are too weak, we haven't developed our social consciousness adequately. On the one hand, we haven't developed our ideals very deeply (we believe in freedom, but usually just for us and not our enemies), and we haven't developed a holistic picture, a picture of the whole (for instance, we don't usually see that fundamentally the economy is just people working for each other. So every time I get a "good deal" it means I give less, work less, for something, and someone else has to work more. We don't usually see that we're commanding other people's labor, forcing other people to work more for us).

But I'm not sure what you mean by an entirely different form. Some things are given. Social phenomena arise naturally in a way. So: we work, we think of a good idea to make our work more efficient, and that makes the economic process more profitable and in the process generates "extra" goods - capital. That happens naturally because we're intelligent beings and we'll figure out how to be more efficient and produce things better. But it then becomes a question of how we treat that new capital. Do I get to keep all of it? Or was my success made possible by others, by society at large? And is it best for society if I spend my extra money on luxury goods or lend to others who can turn it to good use? These are questions we have to deal with. If we had a stronger social sense and stronger ideals we would come to different conclusions and create different forms than the current ones, but instead we're working with old, clunky forms that don't really serve us. All that said, the forms still need to arise out of the phenomena - they need to have a direct relationship to it, and just suit it better then the current forms. Something like Universal Basic Income keeps the current “broken” system as it is, and then creates an (insufficient) work-around. But it’s not getting to the real problems, which are: how do we treat capital, how do we treat labor, and how do we distribute income in the first place? But I don’t know if I’m getting your point about "another entire form”... Let me know if I’m missing it :)

Thanks for your thoughts!

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