Monday, November 1, 2010

New Math

New Math I: Multiplication

 “Greed eats love.”   (local graffiti wisdom)

Sometimes it seems that everything in our society is multiplied by our one true American cultural imperative: greed. (Except love. Greed eats love, it does not multiply it.)

 Therefore consider the following verifiable mathematical truths from the bizarre world of supercharged capitalism:

If:     work=gain
And:     gain=profit
Then:     work=profit
If technology is a multiplier, then it follows:      

work x technology= greater profit

(This equation explains why we can’t seem to believe Wendell Berry when he says: “faster and easier is not better,” and we see no activity as true work if it makes no money. Of course, however, meaningful work is not the same thing as profit, but we routinely do our math as if it were when we use these words in capitalist terms.)

Further, if:     science x profit =technology,

And if we allow that in the capitalist system, there is a drive to make profit=∞,

And since greed is boundless as well, then:     greed = ∞,

It then follows that:     profit=infinite greed,
it also follows:  technology x greed=profit.

Considering that infinite greed stops at nothing, not even the preservation of life, then it also follows that:
technology x greed = death

We can see how, then, by following capitalist methodologies with profitable (and thereby ostensibly positive) results, we end up instead at the cosmic “Game Over” sign of our individual and our collective deaths, including the slow death of the planet itself.

It does not need to be this way, but these calculations do seem to inform a lot of our communal thinking about our society. In spite of all the explicit rallying cries in favor of greed as a positive motivating force, and the subliminal mathematics that underlies our language, Greed is not good. It eats love, which is the force that can save us.

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