Transformation of the West
Westerners are taught the philosophy of Adam Smith (1723-1790) was a Scottish philosopher and economist who is best known as the author of An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth Of Nations (1776), one of the most influential books ever written according to the Adam Smith Institute.
Amazon.com says: "Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations was recognized as a landmark of human thought upon its publication in 1776. As the first scientific argument for the principles of political economy, it is the point of departure for all subsequent economic thought. Smith's theories of capital accumulation, growth, and secular change, among others, continue to be influential in modern economics."
The Adam Smith Institute points out:
"The Wealth of Nations deeply influenced the politicians of the time and provided the intellectual foundation of the great nineteenth-century era of free trade and economic expansion.....Smith had a radical, fresh understanding of how human societies actually work. He realised that social harmony would emerge naturally as human beings struggled to find ways to live and work with each other. Freedom and self-interest need not produce chaos, but – as if guided by an ‘invisible hand’ – order and concord....The Wealth Of Nations was therefore not just a study of economics but a survey of human social psychology: about life, welfare, political institutions, the law, and morality."
Currents of Adam Smith run through the works by David Ricardo and Karl Marx in the 19th century, and by John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman in the 20th. Today Smith’s reputation rests on his explanation of how rational self-interest in a free-market economy leads to economic well-being. Smith said: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”
Smith felt that while someone earning money by his own labor benefits himself, unknowingly, he also benefits society, because to earn income on his labor in a competitive market, he must produce something others value. In Adam Smith’s lasting imagery, “By directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.”
Adam Smith's work has been (justly or not) interpreted to mean that the common good is best served by individuals acting in their own self interest. This ultimately leads to beliefs like the one expressed in the 1987 film Wall Street in which Gordon Gekko, a wealthy, unscrupulous corporate raider played by Michael Douglas, espoused the philosophy "Greed is Good!".
Adam Smith's philosophy is behind the concept of "Looking out for #1" and "You have to take care of yourself because no one else will". This leads to corruption as elected officials, looking out for themselves, sell out the public interest to the highest bidder. It leads to control of federal agencies like the FDA by BigPharma and Agribusiness as shown in the 2012 documentary War on Health -- resulting in a quiet genocide of the American people.
Smith's philosophy leads to a disregard of the rights of other peoples, other species, of the Earth -- and of life itself. A philosophy of unenlightened self-interest at the expense of everyone and everything else ultimately becomes a philosophy of destruction and death. A change of administrations or agencies, and more regulations, will not solve these life-threatening problems. What is needed is a fundamental shift in worldview. The best model to follow is that of traditional Native American cultures.
Consequences of Adam Smith
Learning From Native America
The US has let self interest run amok at the expense of the common good. The Soviet Union tried to force people to serve the collective at the expense of freedom. Native American cultures are the only ones that have achieved a perfect balance between the rights of the individual and the needs of society.
The West can learn life-saving lessons from traditional Native American cultures and create a more holistic, sustainable philosophy. We have been looking at life through the wrong lense of the telescope! Kurt Kaltrieder shows in American Indian Prophecies and American Indian Cultural Heroes and Teaching Tales that Native Americans traditionally have been raised to be free and independent -- but with a love of giving and a devotion to serving the common good.
This devotion to the whole is reflected in many ways in Native American cultures including in the Mohawk Thanksgivng Address, the Lakota prayer Mitakuye Oyasin, in the Gift Economy as described by Philip Arnold, and in the Great Law of Peace. These cultures have sophisticated languages that linquists and physicists say best express the concept of quantum physics. They developed architectural wonders like Machu Picchu, advanced medicine, and profound herbal knowledge.
In learning from Native America, the West can end the endless wars including the War on Terror, the War on Drugs, the War on Consciousness, and the War on Health. The Western crisis is a essentially a spiritual one caused by our disconnection from the transcendent, experiential knowledge provided by shamanic cultures. We lost access to this wisdom when the Europeans indigenous tribes and their temples were destroyed. A good first step now is that more and more Westerners are going to the Amazon to drink ayahuasca with shamans and to the Andes to study with Incan priests.
Trapped in Our Left Brains
Westerners were left imprisoned in the ego-based, fearful, materialistic world of their Left Brains by the destruction of the temples and the Inquistion -- continued today by the AMA and FDA in the War on Drugs. As we recover our Right Brains through transcendantal experiences (like Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor's Stroke of Insight, Near Death Experiences, in the Temporary Temples of Crop Circles, or through "entheogens" (plants like ayahuasca), we recover our authentic selves. We begin to see the magic and beauty of the world, rediscover our responsibility for maintaining life rather than explointing it, and reclaim our own identity and power.
Our hope now lies in recovering our full minds, our Right Brains. Native America is proving a valuable ally. The Left Brain is associated with the 3 lower Chakras. We need the Right Brain to access the 4 higher chakras that allow us to become enlightened.