/northlane – scarab
“The truth is, we all suffer.”
Life is pain, as the Buddhists say; that is in its intrinsic nature, and there is no escape. We are all continually under assault from the state, those that seek to run the lives of others, even those that most ostensibly benefit from such arrangements, due to their cumulative destruction of man’s abilities to coordinate means to ends, anarcho-capitalists say. Fulfillment in one’s life cannot come from the collective, but from within, the individualists say. No amount of force can overcome underlying realities, true laws of nature and those of our own human conditions, the Austrians say. Pain is just one’s inner reaction to an outside world that needn’t be heeded as it is, the stoics say. Life is just a complex swarm of ever-changing and impermanent states, Nagarjuna and Lachmann say. Hell is other people, Sartre says. Everything is within the realm of perception, and suffering comes from the desire to be in control of the external world; in this they find a common strand, and hopefully all of us someday understand a little better.
We all suffer under the state, just as stoics and Buddhists of all stripes argue that we all suffer by chasing after material and sensual pleasure, while those that swear off the satanic cult of statism at least recognize one of the problems, and can rest in solace knowing where much of our suffering comes from, while others falsely believe that worldly pleasures and the state can provide us fulfillment in life, and end up suffering more for it. Politicians, though in a privileged position in one aspect, still suffer the dearth of cultural and intellectual wealth that we all do, thanks to their false omniscience and mistaken omnipotence manipulating society for the worse… just as there are insurance agents that cry at night after having denied coverage to poor families involved in car accidents because they want a bigger bonus to feed their own impoverished families… though I am far less likely to be sympathetic to the former, obviously.
Find me a social justice warrior that finds more solace than a stoic or an Austrian. Find me a leftist that truly thinks that we ALL suffer, not just the oppressed “classes” under the thumb of the “capitalists.” Then again, find me a collectivist that doesn’t somehow mistakenly believe that producers and consumers are separable “groups” of people. Find me a feminist of the Marxist type that thinks men are just as screwed as women. Of course, such blind views of social interaction completely aggregate and thus obscure the underlying, infinitely complex variables of reality, themselves ever-changing and complex. WE ALL SUFFER. Sure, I have a well-paying job, and have a penis, and am white, at least mostly in terms of culture and race. I also have hallucinogen persisting perception disorder, which I have had my whole life and thus long before any use of psychedelia… the lateral geniculate nuclei are some fickle little tricky scumbags that may fuck you at birth, just like your sodium ion channels, or the integrity of your corpus callossum. As well, I have irritable bowel syndrome and have never spent a single day in my life without holding my stomach tight and wanting to scream until my throat pours blood, much less days not full of writhing in pain and wishing I could die from my body’s lack of ability to digest the very nourishing substance that sustains life for us as mammals, and more importantly, human entities. I have undoubtedly made more medically-advised attempts at employing antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, gastrointestinal medications, painkillers, and the like, than anyone I know, be they black, white, straight, gay, poor, rich, boring, exciting, fun, lazy, fat, skinny, tall, short, or whatever it is that social justice warriors think are the sole determinants of the receipt of pain that is human existence. We all suffer. Regardless of this inverse ad-hominem, we all suffer. There are rich white men with HIV, there are poor gay men in perfect health. There are transsexual women with great teeth, there are non-transsexual men with prostate cancer and renal failure. There are rich urbanites with dying sons; there are poor rednecks with dying daughters. We all have a cross to bear, as the Christians say explicitly, and the Buddhists say in other words. We all have a lot to be thankful for, especially our own dear precious lives themselves, as the stoics and optimists say. “Equilibrium never!” screams Lachmann, molotov in hand, charging at the tanks in Tienanmen Square.
Some of these opponents would not altogether deny that there is a sense in which the distribution of wealth is the cumulative result of the play of economic forces, but would hold that this cumulation operates in such a fashion as to make the present a slave of the past, a bygone an arbitrary factor in the present. Today’s income distribution is shaped by today’s distribution of wealth, and even though today’s wealth was partly accumulated yesterday, it was accumulated by processes reflecting the influence of the distribution of wealth on the day before yesterday. In the main this argument of the opponents of the market economy is based on the institution of inheritance to which, even in a progressive society, we are told, a majority of the owners owe their wealth.
ludwig lachmann, the market and the distribution of wealth
Lachmann is perhaps one of the only redeeming factors within the hermeneutic tradition, though I must admit that Weber made some (some) excellent contributions as well. Lachmann argues that everything we know is just the sum of our own deductions, experiences, and data that has been passed down to us through history. Really, our understandings of reality come from sensory interpretation. Seems fairly reasonable. Furthermore, he argues that everyone has different understandings of the material world, constantly varying in frequency and relative intensity. Such perceptions form this way because everyone has a different perception of reality that tend to coordinate in some instances, and not in others; it is thus no wonder that even expectations of the future themselves are subjective: nobody has perfect knowledge and everyone is swimming in a kaleidoscope.
You can see the borderline-nihilism really shine through here. This is where I’d like to compare Lachmannian interpretational decentralized capitalism with Nagarjunean nihilist antirealism, through the hermeneutic strand in their thoughts. Nagarjuna was essentially of the stoic/Lachmannian/Austrian/existentialist/etc vein, differing in other dimensions on topics like metaphysics, logic, epistemology, etc (which, really, they all differ in) but still in the same paradigm as kaleidism. Nagarjuna, like Lachmann, thought that we all suffer. Nagarjuna thought that we suffer because we think we (and other things) are distinct from the rest of reality and that we try and chase material happiness instead of finding inner peace. Lachmann thought that we suffer because our expectations are subjective, and thus cannot always be right. Guess what these have in common?
Anyway, I’m done, I won’t bore you, maybe I’ll append this in another article some other time. Now go have fun and get drunk or something.