Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Conversations to Convict

It's true that we define social, political, economic and faith systems in the way we want to project its benefits or evils. Take these definitions for capitalism. I like the urban dictionary best.


Jubilee Center: The economic system that seeks to maximise the financial return on investments above all other criteria.

Google result: An economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.

Merriam-Wester: a way of organizing an economy so that the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) are owned by individual people and companies rather than by the government

The Free Dictionary: An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market.

Wikipedia: an economic system in which trade, industry and the means of production are controlled by private owners with the goal of making profits in a market economy

World Socialist Movement: Capitalism is the social system which now exists in all countries of the world. Under this system, the means for producing and distributing goods (the land, factories, technology, transport system etc) are owned by a small minority of people. We refer to this group of people as the capitalist class. The majority of people must sell their ability to work in return for a wage or salary (who we refer to as the working class.)

Capitalism.org: Capitalism is a social system based on the principle of individual rights.

Urban Dictionary: An economic system based on private ownership of the means of production, in which personal bling can be acquired through investment of capital and employment of peeps.

It is useful to compare these with definitions for a stone (or rock):

Definitions for stone (or rock):

Wikipedia: In geology, a rock is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of one or more minerals or mineraloids.

Stone age people: Material widely used to make implements with a sharp edge, a point, or a percussion surface.

Builders: longest lasting building material available, and is usually readily available

Violent protesters: Useful missile to aim at

See where I'm getting at. Capitalism is an economic system. We tend to give it social, political and religious slants. A faith like Christianity (or a variant of it like Evangelicalism) is just that- a faith system. We broaden it by calling it a worldview, but smuggle in politics and economics into it, as it may suit our opinions. Politics enters into economics as a handmaiden but does not replace its function. Capitalism is given an area of jurisdiction depending on the political system that oversees it.

But this is how people arrive at personal convictions- by talking, sometimes irrationally, stepping out of lines. Whether we are intellectuals talking about the meaning of life, or bakers talking about the texture of cake, our conversations are meant to seek, reinforce or very rarely, question, our personal convictions. Often we tend to avoid talking, or in some cases, forbid certain topics for conversations, for fear that it may rock the boat- any boat, whether the boat of family allegiances or that of political or social expediency or any other. When we do that, this basic human need remains malnourished.

Sometimes, however, we mistake the purpose of conversation for being a way to continually keeping questioning without actually seeking. This ensures that we aren't nourished at all. The ideas concourse through us and never leave anything of value behind- because we don't want to commit to anything. A personal conviction is important. Without it our conversations are hollow. 

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