10. Toward the Reconstruction of Society from His Ground Up — A New System of Thought at a Glance
The moral and institutional crisis which, it seems, is getting deeper with each passing day is in the end an intellectual crisis. We simply do not know where we are, where we came from, and how to get out of the abyss within which most of us feel society is falling. Progress seems no longer to be ahead of us.
There are very deep reasons for our current crisis.
Words in the current public discourse are disjointed and mean whatever the writer or speaker wants them to mean, because our culture has separated one intellectual discipline from the other. This article offers a synthetic view of an ongoing program of interdisciplinary research and publication that I have carried out over the last fifty years. Assisted by some of the best minds of the age, while keeping each discipline distinct and separate from the others, I have been putting everything in technical and organic relationship with everything else.
The new system of thought—which I call Concordianism, Somism, or Relationalism depending on the point of view from which it is observed—was born in 1965 when, after a summer of intense intellectual struggle with The General Theory, I changed one equation in Keynes’ model of the economic system and was plunged into an entirely new intellectual world. Mathematical reasoning soon yielded a new model. But mathematics alone was insufficient to convince economists of the validity of the new model. For that I was to recur to a long series of disciplines, commencing with logic and gradually moving onto philosophy, political science, jurisprudence, history, religion, and nonlinear mathematics.
Many splendid things happened along this journey. While I found corroboration of the validity of the new economic model in each discipline I encountered, I also found that, in the process, I was developing a new methodology. This new methodology of science was mostly based on three ancient principles of logic: identity, non-contradiction, and equivalence. These principles are well known, not only to logicians, but philosophers and mathematicians alike. Hence, they automatically bridge the “two cultures.” Consistently applied, they have transformed the very nature of the disciplines I have researched while looking for assistance to perform my immediate task of proving the validity of the revision of Keyes’ model.
These disciplines were gradually related one to the other. As they now stand, their central concern, and their point of contact, is morality. Morality can be defined as the law of freedom: morality intervenes only when there is freedom. Hence morality can be studied as the law of or the product of creativity. Morality is concerned with relationships: relationships between I and I, and I and Thou. The Thou stretches from You, Nature, and God.
To my unending surprise, in 2006 I discovered that the new equation I used to transform Keynes’ model, the equation on which the entire new system of thought is built, namely Investment = Income – Hoarding, is nothing but the mathematical expression of the Parable of the Talents.
This is the fundamental reason why I like to believe that the new system of thought is built from His ground up.
Once (a) the Parable of the Talents is inserted into the structure of Keynes’ model of the economic system, (b) the dictates of age-old principle of logic are faithfully applied, and (c) this methodology is extended to cover other mental disciplines, the result is a new intellectual apparatus uniquely apt to solve the moral and institutional crisis from which we are suffering and which is threatening to engulf every aspect of our lives.
A Synthetic Presentation
For reasons to become apparent as we proceed, this is going to be a synthetic presentation of the new system of thought and the presentation cannot be gradual and linear. That would essentially be a historical presentation; it would be too long and too personal. Hence the reader is left to plunge into the heart of the new system cold, so to speak: No explanation of the steps that lead to those conclusions, and no explanation of the many consequences of those conclusions is given here. These details are contained in the papers cited after each figure given below. The linkage between one discipline and another is also left to the immediate cultural understanding of the reader. Cultural relativism is thus changed into a panorama of cultural relations.
A Series of Equivalence Relations
For ease of exposition as well as to emphasize the self-similarity of the inner structure of the various disciplines, in the following paragraphs the equivalence relations composing the core of each discipline are recast into a common geometric format. Using established protocols, one obtains the following diagrammatic representation of each segment of the new system of thought: To repeat, fuller explanations can be found in the corresponding works cited at the foot of each figure; these are works that have been published by the writer in a great variety of sources.
On the transformation of mathematics into a relational discipline
If zero, one, and infinity are no longer seen as separate entities placed on a long line, but are conceived as key participants in an equivalence relation, they become inextricably related to each other, as in the following notations: 0 = 1 = ∞; or alternatively 0 ↔ 1 ↔ ∞. Each entity escapes the confines of mathematics and acquires a life of its own.
As can be seen from Figure 1, the equivalence relation allows us to observe the mathematical reality from three points of view; we thus obtain a triple check on our observations and reasoning, and obtain a deeper understanding of each entity composing the equivalence relation. The entire field of mathematics, from a linear structure, is transformed into a relational discipline—internally as well as externally: Mathematical infinity, zero, and one can then be related to infinity, zero, and one as understood in philosophy and religion.
Figure 1. Mathematical Reality
See “On the Transformation of Mathematics from a Linear to a Relational Discipline – Toward the Reunification of the Physical and the Social Sciences,” International Journal of Mathematics, Game Theory and Algebra, 2010, vol. 19, issue 4, pp. 235-244.
More important still, perhaps, mathematicians and practitioners of other “hard” sciences will have to admit that they can measure but one third of the mathematical reality; and even that one third is hardly reached. Numbers do not go from one to infinity. Mathematicians, with their use of the “limit”, know all too well that numbers go from one to almost infinity.
On the transformation of physics into a relational discipline
Equally, if they are part of an equivalence relation, as is commonly asserted, matter and energy have to be related to a third entity. Excluding all other plausible entities, one must conclude that the third entity is spirit. One thus establishes the equivalence of matter to energy and to spirit. Then everything changes in the social and the physical sciences—as well as in the relations between the “two cultures.”
Figure 2. Whole Reality
See “On the Equivalence of Matter to Energy and to Spirit,” Transactions on Advanced Research, July 2007 | Volume 3 | Number 2 | ISSN 1820 – 4511: 40-45. Available at http://internetjournals.net/journals/tar/TAR2007july.pdf
Ecologists, physicists, and chemists will have to admit that Mother Nature is sacred because every speck of it contains an entity, spirit, which is well known and has been the subject of intense study by many disciplines literally for many millennia.
On the transformation of economics into a relational discipline
By the same token, production, distribution, and consumption, the fundamental building blocks of economics are no longer studied by themselves but are related to each other. Mainstream economics then becomes Concordian economics. Concordian economics is a seamless web that ties economic theory, policy, and practice together.
Concordian economic theory is outlined in the following Figure 3, and Concordian economic policy is outlined in the next Figure 4. Due to its inherent messiness and complexity, it is impossible to reduce Concordian economic practice to a streamlined geometric figure. The interested reader will have to go to the texts mentioned at the bottom of Figure 3.
See “A Revision of Keynes’ Model: The Escape Route toward Concordian Economics” (1974 ). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/author=856905.
See also “The Economics of Jubilation – Blinking Adam’s Fallacy Away,” in Albert Tavidze, ed., Progress in Economic Research, 2010, vol. 19, ch. 1. New York: Nova Science Publishers. Also available at http://ssrn.com/author=856905 (2009 ).
See also “Concordian Economics: Tools to Return Relevance to Economics,” Forum for Social Economics, 2009, vol. 38, issue 1, pages 53-69. Available online in cyber format at www.somist.org and in soft cover at www.createspace.com/3350635.
And also The Economic Process: An Instantaneous Non-Newtonian Picture, Lanham, Md. and Oxford: University Press of America, 2010. An expanded edition.
Figure 3 reads as follows. When all the products and services produced during one unit of time pass to consumers, and financial instruments pass from consumers to producers, then one cycle of the economic process is completed. For these transactions to occur, both producers and consumers must be the legitimate owners of the resources they exchange.
Economists—economists adherents to every stripe of economics—will have to admit that fixing their eyes on the study of The Market they limit their view to only one instant in time, and thus one point, the point that records one exchange. And they know it: they know that the economic system for them is a “black box.” They know what goes in and what comes out of it; but the understanding of the system as a whole eludes them. With Concordian economics the splendor of the whole economic process falls now within our purview.
On the completion of the theory of economic justice
A major consequence of Concordian economic theory is the immediate effect it has on the theory of economic justice. To be completed, the doctrine of economic justice requires the dynamics of participative justice. In order not to be marginalized, as Pope John Paul II forcefully emphasized, people have to become full participants in the process of creation of wealth. Only on this basis can people be assured of a fair distribution of income.
See “Toward the Definition of Economic Rights,” The Journal of Markets and Morality, Spring 1999, II (1) 88-101.
This Figure reads as follows. Human beings have a natural right to create all the wealth they need. Once this right is exercised and is associated with the responsibility to expend all the effort necessary to create that wealth, one heightens the chance that there is a fair apportionment in the distribution of the values of the wealth thus created among all participants in that creation as well as a fair exchange in the values of the effort and relative compensation. The most common case of fair exchange—the “commutation”—in values is in the purchase and sale of assets, physical as well as financial assets that occurs at each instant in the economic process.
With the return to the preoccupations concerning economic justice, Adam’s Fallacy is blinked away and the economic discourse is reconnected with the millenarian tradition that ran from Moses and Aristotle all the way to John Locke. The Enlightenment, with Adam Smith—the “Adam” in Adam’s Fallacy—at the head of the parade, broke with this tradition. Starting with Luther, of course—and actually going back much further, even to Pico della Mirandola and the Renaissance—the Enlightenment rejected the authority of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church in favor of a spectator internal to man’s conscience. The amount of self-deceit is appalling: Who is this “internal spectator”? It is, of course, lui meme—man himself!
The past is important. We can build the future only on a safe knowledge of the past. The future is more important. The completion of the theory of economic justice gives our politicians a safe rudder with which to run the ship of state: not a third way beyond Capitalism and Socialism/Communism, but the just way—The Way of Justice.
On the transformation of sociology into a relational discipline
Clearly, these major changes in economics and the law need to be integrated into sociology and political science. In these two fields, as well, an essential transformation will have to occur.
It will have to be realized that neither the individual nor society can be seen as sufficient to describe the social reality. One is compelled to add the relationship between these two entities. A new word explains this relationship: Somism, the study of men and women in the social context, the study of the theory and practices of the civilized person.
Figure 5. Social Reality
See “To Become a Somist,” Gloucester Daily Times,February 29, 1984, p. A10.
The transformation of the very roots of political science and sociology that is suggested by the integration of individualism and collectivism will offer us the opportunity to get away from the inane pursuit of a supposed purity of thought and get us down and dirty into the task of determining what are the tasks that are better left to the individual human being and what are the tasks that are better performed by any of the various levels of social organizations from the family through social clubs to local and regional political organizations and, finally, the state.
On the transformation of political science into a relational discipline
Concordian economics and Somism, when inserted into the political reality, will help us establish the escape route from the strictures of both Capitalism and Communism (with the many varieties of Socialism) into the embrace of Concordianism.
See “Somism: Beyond Individualism and Collectivism—Toward a World of Peace and Justice.” Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1696013.
Concordianism goes beyond both Communism and Capitalism: it is not a third way, but the right way. The economy and society, in accordance with ancient injunctions, have to be run to the tune of justice. This revelation is not a repetition of the discourse about the theory of economic justice, rather it is the attempt to be serious about the pursuit of economic justice. The splendid millenarian construction of economic justice cannot be held in the abstract; rather, it has to be rooted in the hard reality of the institutions that affect our daily life. In the end it is only the power of politics that will determine whether Concordian economics is translated into daily action or not.
On the transformation of ontology into a relational discipline
The ancient call to justice will become part of the daily reality only if it becomes an integral part of daily culture—culture as related to agriculture. To achieve this high aim, as Pope Benedict XVI has pointed out, we must regain the feeling for the sacred. Certainly the integration of matter, energy, and spirit, is one way. Another is the integration of Being, Becoming, and Existence: then will we realize that we exist only in relation to Being.
See “Toward Relational Ontology: From Matter to Spirit Through Physics and Metaphysics,” December 2009. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1695809.
For the last few millennia philosophers have insisted on analyzing their field of study with the help of only one term: Being, which at most is extended into not-Being—another single term. And they have made their field so hopelessly contorted that the mind these days refuses to get involved in it any longer. Philosophy is perhaps the most disheartened of all mental disciplines. Perhaps the integration of its three fundational stones brought forward by relational ontology might rejuvenate this all important field of study.
On the reaffirmation of religion as a relational discipline
The reaffirmation of religion as a relational discipline is the task, not only of philosophy, but also of religion. It might appear to be a simple task since for religion, at least in all monotheistic religions, this is a natural calling. Yet, to be clearly and forcefully manifest, the religious belief system has to be clearly understood as the integration of God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Figure 8. Relational Theology
See “The Equivalence of the Three Persons of the Triune God,” December 2009. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1695823.
When that is achieved, a basic commonality of the three monotheistic faiths will be automatically realized: They share the same inner structure. Whatever animosity exists among these religions today will disappear once the discussion rises to their common ground. Interestingly, the late Father Raimon Panikkar discovered the Messiah in a number of religious belief systems.
A Special Note on the Messiah. Jesus is the absolute singularity. Science cannot deal with singularities; hence, Jesus remains forever outside the field of observation of scientists.
That is not an end, but a beginning. Jesus, as Pope Benedict XVI has pleaded, remains also outside the vision of theologians who fail to comprehend Him as the third person of the Triune God.
A conclusion unfolds that leads to the question: If Jesus is certainly the Messiah, what remains to discuss among Jews, Christians, and Muslims? The answer is this: The discussion will have to shift on to the meaning of the Messiah. For Christians, the answer is simple. The historic Jesus is the Messiah. A more complex question follows: Has the Spiritual Jesus entered the soul of Christians?
If the Spiritual Jesus is still to arise, then Christians and Jews are on the same plateau of belief. Indeed, they are also on the same realm of belief as Muslims. Muslims, too, await the true Messiah. They await the coming of Vali Asr, the revered Hidden Imam, whose appearance, someday, Shiite Muslims believe, will establish the perfect Islamic political community.
Men and women can understand The Reality, which when understood as Ultimate Reality is generally denoted as God, not through reason alone, but mainly through mystical union with either one of these entities. This effort is rational and feasible, because God is the absolute spirit and men and women are made, not of matter and energy only; they are also made of spirit. Mystical union with God is the ultimate grace granted by the infinite God.
This is work in progress. I have been blessed with the experience of a mystical union with God a few times in my life. I hope and pray I can partake of this bliss more consistently and more extensively as I carry out my daily chores. As a Third Order Carmelite, I know by training and experience that this bliss is open to everyone.
A mystical union with God is indeed the most personal experience one can ever conceive of, and yet it is not its private and personal aspect that is its most intellectually challenging part. The challenge comes forward from another observation. The mystical union with the physical and spiritual reality in which we are immersed is a totally natural and universal call for human beings. Who is not in touch with this physical and spiritual reality? What is open to discussion is only the degree of awareness about this experience.
Some Closing Comments
More than emphasizing the transcendent reality of mysticism or indeed any other single aspect of the chain of thought we have pursued, I would rather like to close this article by trying to tie together the various threads we have been examining so far. By transforming both mathematics and physics from linear into relational disciplines, we have been able to open for the students of both disciplines a view over a much vaster field than they generally observe. We have been able to link both disciplines to One, Infinity, and Spirit. In other words, while preserving the individuality and the integrity of each discipline we have created a commonality of interest among mathematicians, physicists, philosophers, theologians, and mystics. They should find much to talk about together, not in an undisciplined way as it has been most common in the past, but ideally in a very disciplined way.
Before linking these disciplines together it was necessary to observe the commonality of interests that weave social, economic, legal, and political sciences together. In real life, these disciplines exist not so much one next to the other, as truly one into the other. Take any piece of legislation apart and you are liable to find in it an amalgam of sociology and law and politics, but also much economics. If this is an arguable case, let us take a much simpler one: let us take a walk in the streets. I submit that you find the very same issues one tangled into the other: the neighborhood has a definite sociological composition; you are also liable to meet rules and regulations such as you cannot disturb the quietude of the neighborhood after a certain hour; law and politics envelop us whether we are aware of them or not. Ah, did I forget economics? Try to get into the streets naked. There you have it; to get clothes on your back, you need to have some money to exchange with the clothing merchant.
Sociology, economics, law, and politics are disciplines that are generally assumed to be indifferent to what goes on in mathematics, and physics, and philosophy and theology, and even mysticism. But that is simply a shortsighted view of reality. The social sciences cannot do without what goes on in the hard sciences. The relationships with math and physics appear in plain view as soon as one gives them even fleeting attention. Math and economics are tied at the hip; make the wrong calculations and see what happens to your business plans. Ecology today makes the relationships between the social and the hard sciences most evident. Try to live without food, or water, or clean air.
OK. But where do ontology, and religion, and mysticism come into the practical life? Philosophy, with its ancillary wings of logic and epistemology, helps us either to reason constructively or forever spin our wheels in place.
Religion, surely it has been used and misused for a zillion unspeakable reasons. Yet, it is religion—not philosophy, nor physics—that has given us an understanding of the theological virtues: hope, faith, and love. Without hope, faith, and love, human beings cannot live. To say the least, they cannot live in peace with themselves and others.
Without hope, faith, and love you cannot have a well-ordered society.
You cannot even grant or receive economic justice without hope, faith, and love.