How is it that we come to fall in love? Scientists have figured out the chemical reaction and psychologists, perhaps with anthropological help, have explained the necessity of a bonding attraction for the survival of the species. What does this ancient bonding technique mean today with neo-liberal, hyper capitalist professional classes turning mall swamped suburbanites into commodities themselves? Commodities as commodity shoppers? Has it come to this? Here we are, men and women, preening and primping, getting credentialed for the big job, all ready to put ourselves on the shelf, so to speak, as competing commodities, so we can get somewhere, anywhere but in our own skins; our own minds. So much for love – it’s all about commerce.
Hyper-capitalism has killed the possibility of romantic love. I say so, in part because the era of triumphalist capitalism that we live in, needs to eliminate undesirable emotions. We have become measurer’s of what someone may give us; calculators of how to get what we want with the least output. The argument that the market will decide everything from war making policy to the price of toothpaste is, by necessity, an emotion negating machine. Our commodity obsessed society has only one function for capitalism to be enabled: to react – to a marketing campaign for instance, and then buy. The only emotion the market cares about is fear. Wants, needs; or threats are created with research and marketing, as surely as a car is created with steel and plastic. Too many of us live in fear of not having enough, not being good enough, not being successful enough, not looking successful enough. Fear stifles the ability to trust; to let go of the need to control.
Fear kills trust, love, compassion, and the need for companionship. So we fill the need for some thing to make us feel whole by buying something – each other if need be. Relationships themselves are commodities produced in a dream factory where women look for a knight in shining armour who will make life right somehow, or provide some temporary relief from the banality of it all. And men? Lost. Our mentors or role models are gigantic, walking egos in $1000 suits running the world, armies, corporations or religious empires.
Love and compassion are emotions that get the creativity going, the juices flowing, the thinking going. The kind of thinking that asks what if, and how come and when will this change, how can I make change happen? In short, serene and courageous curiosity. Spiritual and emotional growth will lead us to self knowledge instead of market knowledge. That is the kind of thinking that can make neo-liberal hyper capitalism a laughing stock. Spiritual, intellectual and emotional growth are whole new ways of looking at the world and pondering our true place in it.