Monday, October 19, 2009

Guilt and Death (Death and Taxes)

I think existentialism is due for a revival, especially in a "financial" variant. Roughly speaking, existentialism taught us to face the fact that we're all going to die. We "must not be afraid" of it (as it says somewhere in Nausea.) We must, rather, be "resolute and anxious" about it, as Heidegger puts it. Existentialism also taught us to distinguish between our ontological "guilt" and our merely ontic "debts". (There are really interesting etymologies at work here.)

In my opinion, the whole Western-democratic model of statecraft, which distinguishes sharply between monetary and fiscal policy, is to blame for our alienation from existence, our inauthenticity, ultimately our enslavement. Everything that is wrong with our culture traces back to the sense that we owe something and that we must not, whatever happens, die. If everyone resolved only to feel indebted in the ordinary sense, and accepted the fact that they will one day die, a great deal of needless insurance, mortgaging, and pension planning would be avoided. This would, of course, undermine the basic fabric of the society that is today being run by a financial oligarchy.

This is obviously a basically Poundian position.

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