Culture

Our culture supports and guides us as we grow. Through politics, we connect to a broad world of concern. Through science and engineering, we are opened to a future of possibilities. Through the arts, we experience the refinement of joy and the resolution of sorrow.

But cultures can also repress. They themselves become blocked. Cultures can entrench prejudice and institutionalize dysfunction. They suppress diversity and reject the assimilation of foreign realities.

In our discussion of ethics, I observed that culture is an asset that we must manage. The concerns we must balance are complex. My apprehension at this time, however, is that our time must resolve two universal problems. The first is the "men are from Mars, women are from Venus" mantra. The second is the axiom of aggressive competition. I will defer the former, and address competition immediately.

The founding father of capitalist theory, Adam Smith, was a deeply moral man. He was troubled by the social imbalances of the coming corporate age, and believed that governments must assume responsibility for protecting the common and the rights of the worker. Unfortunately, governments cannot react to the rapid pace of change in the world of commerce, and are notoriously poor at picking winners. For those reasons, the tenets of beneficial self-service are what we have carried forward from Smith. In the '80s, when philosophy was distilled as bumper stickers, we were offered "Greed is Good" and "He who dies with the most toys wins".

Both statements justify an aggressive competition for control of material resources. In my analysis of competition and consensus, I have laid the theoretical basis for puncturing the mantra of the economic conservatives. Simply put, we can compete for the people we serve, as well as against those who would take their business away from us. From a practical standpoint, it might seem a semantic difference. In a spiritual context, however, competing for (in the name of, as well as for title to) customers creates good will. That good will, once we understand how to marshal it, generates tangible benefits.

It engages others in our dreaming.