The Oxymoron of our times


From the heart of all matter
Comes the anguished cry
Wake, wake, great Siva,
Our body grows weary
Of its law-fixed path,
Give us new form
Sing our destruction,
That we gain new life…

                                                                                             Rabindranath Tagore

               (Translated from the Bengali original)

The media remains flush with dire tidings. About persisitent US unemployment. About the Euro zone crisis. About faltering growths in the BRIC economies. On screen debates and coffee table discussions waft around how to get back to the old ways of Capitalism fuelled growth.

We remain witness to cycles. The boom and bust. The shortening of product and business cycles. The rapid changes of technology and society. As I muse, I visualise the ebb and flow of human endeavour. Of our  knowledge and  creativity. Of our  follies and emotions. I see the movement, at once intuitive and playful, of the flowing curves and trends. I see economic and social aspirations as energy, unfolding and folding within itself. I see oscillations between  active and dormant states. I start to see Creation and Destruction….

I think of Creative Destruction, a concept by Joseph Schumpeter that has often resonated with me. Schumpeter saw human advance as a “perennial gale of creative destruction”. He likened it to the Darwinian natural selection to secure the “survival of the fittest”. What Schumpeter envisioned was the economy and society constantly regenerating from within by shedding old and failing businesses and social structures as it reallocates resources to newer, more productive ones.

I do see the path that Creative Destruction has taken in times gone by. As steam powered factories and looms closed down to give way to those with electric power. As did the horse drawn carriage give way to the automobile on the roads. And more recently, how the digital revolution squeezed out the traditional photography and music industries.

A machine perennially ON, creating that which is ‘new’ as it destroys what is ‘old.’ Like Lord Siva’s Rudra Tandava ( Dance of destruction) in Hindu mythology. Like the proverbial phoenix, rising from the ashes of that which no longer serves. And as it rises, it creates new Capital, new Thought, new Man. I see unstoppable movement. To stop would mean stopping change, evolution, progress. To stop would mean the inevitable decline.

But as I muse, I start seeing how Creative Destruction is failing today, just as it succeeded in centuries gone past.

As the old “debris” is destroyed, the ground needs to be cleared for the new to arise in a sweeping upward motion. This of course presupposes that both creation and destruction take place within the same society, winners and losers standing close and people gaining in other ways as they lose in some.

The grandeur of those great American auto towns in Detroit and the tens of thousands who worked in and around have surely gone with the wind, not to return. But as these jobs got destroyed in that area, many other value added and differentiated opportunities did arise, if not within the state, at least within the US itself. So Creative Destruction did work…….but this was last century.

Cut forward to our era of Globalisation and we see the Information and Technology outsourcing leading to near elimination of that industry in many parts of the world. Jobs destroyed in fact get created somewhere half way round the world, never to return. And with this we have been witness to the near destruction of the very communities from which they emanated

Whole countries and regions are becoming long term losers through destruction versus others becoming winners through creation. In this globalised age, the integrity of the oxymoron ‘Creative Destruction’ is being torn apart, way beyond what Schumpeter could have visualised.

And so I come back to the aspect of how the current global crisis looks through the lens of Creative Destruction. Are governments the world over in fact doing all the wrong things through politics? As they bail out top-heavy banks. As they subsidise inefficient businesses. As they prevent natural job losses. By doing these, has the world willy nilly shortchanged creation itself? And sowed the seeds of Capitalism’s own destruction?

In learning…..

Acknowledgement: Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction    by Thomas K. McCraw, 2007.

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40 thoughts on “The Oxymoron of our times

  1. Shakti, this one is powerful – all summed up in your last words capitalism & the seeds of destruction of itself. EXCELLENT post, Shakti.

    I love going back, because especially at posts like this you can see how things have changed/if – or how it went compared to how it was all in your face at the time. I actually don’t know if it has got much better. I think a little, but still there is a lot of struggling to get by these days I absolutely know.

    Your posts are quality, Shakti!

    • Thank you. I feel humbled by your powerful appreciation.

      Yes, it is sometimes enlightening to ‘go back’ as you say as our awareness of the current can allow new perspectives. That is what learning is all about I suppose.

      I appreciate you.

      Shakti

  2. “Give us new form
    Sing our destruction,
    That we gain new life…” Everyday, we seek to change for the good, or hoped that we will. We should always fight to express our creative self and not what others want us to believe is what is beautiful in this world. It is so easy to be blinded by today’s materialistic world. Great post!

  3. I see things in there simplicity.. We have as you expressed earlier In one of your posts I commented upon Shakti, come to the highest point, and now its time the cycle of our progression shifts its balance.. We Mirror many things, as the Earth Mother also within the consciousness we create mirrors I feel many of our own imbalances…. For we are One..
    We cannot possibly carry on in the same way as we have been doing.. Fear is being generated around the world. Fear is a means to an end in many political circle of those of the powers that be.. As the Media plays out the dramas and emphasises the crisis points so that individuals are caught up within their game plan. This has happened in the last great depression and to come out of it was war.. which again generated back wealth.. but I do not want to even think along those lines. But I know it is still within a game plan of some..
    While I live in a modern age of technology and all those mod-cons of gadgetry which I enjoy in this physical and material world I have come to experience.. We have to take stock of what we lost at the expense of all of this so called progression.. We as Human Beings have lost sight of caring.. as we walk over each other to obtain possessions and wealth, as Greed takes over ..
    Towers will crumble and lives will change.. Balance will be addressed .. Cycles come full circle… But we have to stop living in Fear!… and start to live in LOVE and Unity… for we are all of us in this Together..

  4. Capitalism and creative destruction has always created losers, those who goes down for others to go up. I cannot accept this as a working mechanism for a society. When greed takes over as a driving force it leaves only fear and destruction. A balance is needed and that’s where regulations come in. The deregulated market is only good for those at the top of the pyramid.

    • Right you are Sir. A balance is indeed needed.But there is much to be said about unbridled Capitalism just as there is much to detract from what has been evidenced about Socialism and its regulation aspects. I guess the jury is still out about what sould be the optimal Governance and Economic model about today’s world.

      Thank you for your visit and comments.

      Shakti

  5. Changes is good , but I think we people need to balance everything , I am still hopeful for the better future ahead of us in spite of everything happening around us, this article dig the consciousness and proper reasoning whoever reads it, great post Shakti…

    • To balance everything, as you say, is indeed the right way but is doable? Yes, it is through consciousness that we can move forward.

      Thank you for your comments.

      Shakti

  6. Shakti, I respect you’re right to express your belief, but cannot agree. I think you give the created too much, and the Creator too little. No created being has ever made a tree, a star, set the sun in the morning sky, or provided light in the darkness. You and I, as all created beings, serve a purpose, and who are we to question when or why our purpose will be revealed. Just as a piece of pottery can’t tell the potter whether it wants to be a bowl or a spoon or where to place it on the table, nor can we do so. We may decide our place and function in the reality of what we know, but we do not get to decide that in the reality of what we don’t. We look at the streetlights above and call them light, and fail to notice the billions of stars stretching away into the heavens…. Good night to you, Shakti.

    • I love your expanded awareness and perspective. I guess we can only ‘create’ based on what and the way we percieve.And I presume, this perception is a function of how we have been created ourselves. If we were to see it in this way, we can see the thread and the connectivity between the Creator and our actions to create.
      What could be the other way forward?

      I appreciate your thought.

      Shakti

  7. I think that history goes in cycles, without too much social progress. We individuals are here on earh for so little time though, so I believe we must just make the best of what we have, but also always have a positive hope for the future.

  8. Wonderful thought provoker as always Shakti….It all must fall and rise anew but that can only come about by a raising of human consciousness. Until that happens closed minds will hold onto the old ways out of fear. We must grow our consciousness to where we realize all must fall to create the new and there is no need for fear. This time it is not just cars or trains that must change, but everything! Can we do it is the $64,000 dollar question….Blessings…VK

    • VK,

      You have said it.To step out of the comfort of our old, known ways and into the unknown of new ways is a path fraught with fears and doubt. The jury would thus continue to be out on your $64K question. But Rise and Fall is intrinsic to nature. And the more we resist, the more we would go out of equilibrium. Need for consciousness? Yes…But beyond that we need to also foster inspirational and visionary mindsets.

      Thank you for your presence, I appreciate you.

      Shakti

  9. The question is whether regeneration will take place in spite of those in power. Whether regeneration is inevitable, or will it follow complete devastation? Wish I could feel more hopeful, especially for our subcontinent.

    • Hi Madhu,

      Appreciate your thoughts. I guess regeneration is so intrinsic to all that we know in this Universe that it would always occur. But whether it can only follow complete devastation is not so certain. I suppose,change could be gradual. Just as we see new leaves sprout while the old decays….

      And yes, we need to inculcate the positivity and energy of hope rather than give up. After all, we are all that we have as prime movers of change.

      Cheers

      Shakti

  10. Great article, Shakti. I appreciate the response given by Bela. I, too, have been fortunate in not being far from Nature.

    The world’s wealth has fallen into the hands of a small number of people. Their dastardly influences have been ignored except by those who tapped in and see benefit to their larders, pockets or lifestyles. If David Wilcock’s sources are valid, there will be major steps taken in the next few days to dislodge that power base. I pray his sources are valid and know what they are talking about because it would mean plucking one very big weed from this planet so it can begin to rejuvenate itself.

    I believe ordinary people sincerely want rejuvenation. Unfortunately it often takes a “teachable event” to ignite that determination. Too often there’s fear that less means diminished freedom. In fact, it’s the opposite.

    Tagore spoke deeply to me today, thanks, Shakti. “Our body grows weary
    Of its law-fixed path,”

    I’d welcome “new form”!

      • Amy, the top picture is from a play depicting Siva’s Dance of destruction. The lower one is copied from the net. Not sure which set you are referring to.

        Cheers

        Shakti

      • Thanks, Shakti – It was the top one – Siva’s Dance of Destruction. I’ll have to check that play on the internet.

      • Once you do that, I would love to get your views.
        Incidentally, you had mentioned Tagore in your earlier comment. His prolific writings, plays, verses and music is so vast that it is difficult o go through in one lifetime! 🙂

    • Amy,

      You are right. Unfortunately the economic development in the world continues to be aggrandised by the few. Worse, technology and outsourcing allows for even higher discrimination and disparity. The societal bubble containing the Haves and the Have-nots has got so stretched that there is a serious danger of it breaking. As and when History has seen this happening in the past, we have witnessed revolutions. But is this behaviour not aligned to the intrinsic selfishness of Man? And this remains also the premise on which the capitalistic model has been built.

      Question thus remains, “Where do we go from here?” Thanks to your blog-site, I did get the opportunity to read David Wilcock.Frankly, I could never form any lasting opinion or faith in what he predicts.Without a clarity regarding his sources and arguments,I find it difficult to judge.Nothing against the Man or his predictions.I do seek your kind understanding on this.

      I appreciate you and your presence Amy.

      Cheers and God Bless.

      Shakti

      • I need to see some corrective action, Shakti. I want to believe him because the apparent motive and drive behind all his uncovering all those findings seem legitimate and good. The warning bell for me is the ego that is evident.

      • Not sure of the Ego stepping in but I somehow get the impression of ” delusion.” Come to think of it, this gives me a worm of an idea for a future post!!

  11. ‘I see unstoppable movement. To stop would mean stopping change, evolution, progress. To stop would mean the inevitable decline.” Absolutely agreed.

    In a word, SUSTAINABILITY.

    America set up a capitalist model which now much of the world wishes to emulate – be it prompted by media, dreams, aspirations – whatever. But if the whole world lived as we do, it would spell disaster for the planet. The environment. And so time for a change – and Americans are loathe to let their lifestyles ‘decline.’ Change is frightening to most people, I find.

    I cannot begin to convey to you the entitlement inherent in The American Dream we all grow up with. I remember a few years back seeing the writing on the wall. I asked myself, Could you live with less? Would you be willing to live like the average Chinese person? Filipino? Indian? And while the answer to that is more complex, basically I spent 32 years of my young life in the Maine woods. Raised my 2 kids without running water in winter – in summer we drew it from the lake. We bathed in a Finnish sauna, built by my Finnish husband. I drove a beat-up old Subaru with rotting floorboards. I hiked down 1/2 mile of road (in winter) to bring in groceries, packed on my back. I raised a big garden and put food in the freezer for winter. I baked all our bread; made all our meals from scratch.

    This being said, I had a job. A car. Food. Food! Water. Water! My kids had a good education. I myself had a good education. And so even what most Americans would consider ‘hardship’ also comes with a bit of entitlement. This was a lifesyle I CHOSE. I didn’t HAVE to live that way.

    I, like Margarita, embrace the Oneness in all life. I want technology to help others in the world to suffer less. And if that means a few years of inconvenience while change is taking place, that’s simply what it’s going to take. I only hope greed takes more and more of a back seat to getting us on track for a sustainable world community.

    “You may say I’m a dreamer, but i’m not the only one.” ~ John Lennon

    Great post as always, Shakti. Thank you.

    • Bela,

      Your comments are always so thought provoking and intense, you make my day! Thank you.

      As more and more of us in the world gain the consciousness to “embrace the oneness in all life”, humanity would make the right moves. I remain hopeful.Deep down I know that we have been created for a much higher purpose.Sustainability would remain a step in the right direction. Beyond that would come aspects of equitableness and Dignity. And yes, John Lennon was indeed a visionary ahead of his times.

      Cheers and God Bless

      Shakti

  12. I’ve been fascinated to read similar warnings from past presidents such as President Abraham Lincoln and General/President Dwight Eisenhower. Essentially, they said that we have to be wary of wealth falling into the hands of so few. That goes back to your comment about government bailouts and whether that’s really the best for the economy in the long run.

    • You are so right. As I see the whole set of actions initiated the world over to somehow “stem the rot”, I feel the unease that the foundations are getting weakened. Would they be able to take another shock? I remain unsure.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Shakti

  13. Yes, through politics governments are, indeed, contributing to the inhibition of regeneration. The politics are regionally protectionist, on so many levels. Yet, we are all One, and live on this one planet. When we remember that again, regeneration will resume…we’re getting there. The road is hard and the passage is slow.

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