Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

Some Questions

Posted by Jerry on August 6, 2007

If a capitalist nation like the United States did not exist in this world, who would China have as its biggest market to trade with? Who would pour in great amounts of wealth into India as investment and help it emerge from Socialist poverty?

Who would create jobs around the world to feed the consumerist demand? Who would be able to pour billions in aid and charity into Africa? Who would lead global charity donations in times of calamity? Which nation would produce the most inventions to advance our civilization?–the most drugs to cure our illnesses?–the most deep sea explorations to fuel our adventures and mobility?–the most technology to enhance our living experiences?

If a capitalist nation like the United States did not exist as it has throughout its history, where would the brilliants minds of Europe, like Einstein and Godel, flee to in search of liberty and security? Where would banned authors and artists with a sword hanging over their heads find protection under law?

If the United States did not exist as it does today, who would lead the fight against Islamic totalitarianism? Who would invest the lives of soldiers, the money, and the military in facing an ideological enemy of freedom? Who would challenge the rise of other ideological totalitarians and dictators? Who would be powerful enough? Who would be brave enough? Who would have the moral courage to do it and be vilified for it?

Imagine the history of our civilization without the rational minds of Greece, the democracy of Athens, and civilized administration of Rome. Imagine our world today without a capitalist nation like the United States. Then, imagine if all nations in the world were like Cuban, North Korean, Chinese, or Iranian style socialist, communistic, fascist, theocracies, or dictatorships.

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10 Responses to “Some Questions”

  1. krishashok said

    //Imagine the history of our civilization without the rational minds of Greece, the democracy of Athens, and civilized administration of Rome.
    And you forget the rational minds that came up with the zero? 🙂 Gun powder?
    One also recalls that the US was a supporter of Islamic fundamentalism when it suited them, but not when it gets in the way of their access to oil.
    Ofcourse, we are all better for it. Id prefer the US anyday over the Taliban, but I wouldnt quite put them on a moral high pedestal.

  2. Rambodoc said

    I really don’t have much to add beyond applauding this post. I am, however, sure, that this viewpoint falls on all but a few deaf ears. The current climate of opinion in much of the literate world is as anti-American as it ever was. It is really amazing that all US Governments have been such failures in projecting an upright and admirable image of that country.

  3. Priyank said

    I agree. The world runs at the cost of the US. That country, built on a model of individual freedom, has been a leader of the world… for last 150 years. Their power is well deserved.

    Sometimes I wonder. US is like the savior, the Christ of today’s civilization. Some (of my friends) have faith only and only in US. They are preaching about it, real missionary style.

    What do you think, Ergo?

  4. Ergo said

    Krishashok,

    I assume you mean the Indian maharishis (mystic thinkers) when you refer to the ones who came up with the zero. I actually find it amusing that they came up with the concept of zero; granted all its utmost necessity in our numerical system, I find it somehow very apt that *that* came from the mystics. We do have a culture of valuing nothingness–at least philosophically–reducing the mind the a state of blankness, achieving nirvana which is non-existence (free from the burdensome cycle of life and death), etc. In any case, yes, it’s a very important contribution.

    btw, didn’t the Chinese come up with gun powder?? I forget who did.

    Rambodoc,
    Thanks for differentiating the acts of the US Government from the essence of what Americanism is. I wanted to make that point explicit in my post by stating something to the effect of “the failures of the US governments and the recent trends notwithstanding…”, but I decided to rely on the better judgment and intelligence of my readers. I’m not disappointed.

    Priyank,
    I would argue that if you use Christ as the model of a savior, then the US comes off as being far more superior both in morality and in practice. The US (here I refer to the founding principles of the country) has literally “saved” more people in their lifetime on this Earth–for example, by facilitating the unbridled creation of wealth, protecting the freedom of the mind, rewarding the discovery of new drugs and vaccines, the eradication of many diseases, the invention of advanced medical and surgical technologies, etc. This is more than Christ, Christians, or the Christian doctrines ever did or can ever hope to achieve. The greatest legacy of Christendom is a dead man whose flesh and blood is symbolically consumed every so often by his followers.

  5. krishashok said

    🙂 No. You presume wrong. I am not sure which bearded dude (mystic or not) came up with the zero. Not sure it matters. All I refer to is that it is generally considered to be an Indian invention. And you got it right. It is the Chinese who came up with gun powder. And I think its also hard to ignore the Mesopotamians (ancient Iraqis 😉 ) and their contribution to civics. Hammurabi’s code is considered to be one of the first comprehensive compendium of laws in the history of the world.

    And oh, blankness of mind, as generally referred to in a mystical sense, is not a philosophical reduction of the mind. It is simply a metaphor to silence the noise from outside just so one can figure out what really lies inside one’s mind. Kind of like trying to listen to Pink Floyd but closing one’s doors and windows before one does that.

  6. Ergo said

    Krishashok, I think you have put a more modern–and diluted–spin on the traditional concept of nirvana. Every religion that has this concept of nothingness–from Hinduism, Jainism (a variant of Hinduism), Buddhism, and even the crazy Oshos believe that true nirvana, salvation, or enlightenment is in attaining the state of nothingness–where the self ceases to exist.

    Now, whether this is even possible while living is simply evaded by these religions. For some reason, our eastern mystics have been preoccupied with the notion of nothingness–its demarcation, its definition, its identity, etc. I think they find its enigmatic nature very appealing.

    Meditation of the kind you speak of is hardly anything more than introspection, or getting your mind in focus, a state of concentration, “in the zone”, etc. I’d like to think that the eastern mystics were aiming for something slightly more mystical than that! 🙂

  7. Priyank said

    I guess I learnt it different way. State of enlightenment or salvation is a state where the self becomes the supreme. Its so encompassing that you sense nothing but the self.

  8. Priyank said

    And it was interesting to note that you don’t refer Buddhism as a variant of Hinduism. IMHO it is just refined or defined Hinduism (which otherwise is open to infinite interpretations, hence abuses).

  9. Priyank you’re right about the way it is taught: a consciousness conscious of nothing but itself. However, even though many describe this as a state of enlightenment, it is actually a state of zero-consciousness. The underlying idea is that somehow the truth is intrinsic and known to each person in their “hearts”, and all they have to do is shut their eyes and contemplate. Actually, the consciousness is the way one understands the external world and it is nothing but plumbing without the content of that external world.

  10. mahendrap said

    Nice post. Like Krish Ashok said, there is a lot that other countries have contributed to the overall development of the civilized world, including India. But the spirit of what you’re saying Ergo, is undebatable.

    America has given the world much more than any other nation ever has, in the history of mankind. The problem today, is that most people take all of this for granted, so its nice to have questions like these!

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