Marx’s error and our own

Final days in Appalachia. Reminder of Marx’s error, of ours since Francis Bacon.

Tao Te Ching 29 (Feng and English translation): ‘Do you think you can conquer the universe and improve it? / I do not believe this can be done.’ The second stanza unearths the source of our error. ‘The universe is sacred. / You cannot improve it. / If you try to change it, you will ruin it. / If you try to hold on to it, you will lose it.’ Sacred, in a deflationary sense, meaning: be gentle, follow along.

Recollection of Craig’s The Mind of God, The Works of Man. Once the highest form of life was that of contemplation. Since the seventeenth century, it has been a life of action. Since Marx, the end has been social transformation. A longstanding error. A better word for this is folly.

(Corollary of the change from the contemplative life to the life of action: rise of philanthropy and the end of patronage. See esp. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.)

Withdraw from this. The world is not here to be changed, to be figured out or re-designed, rewired, saved. Withdraw into quietude. Say neither yes nor no to Silicon Valley. Say nothing.

The birds are up. The peonies, garish, hot pink, are nearly up. Tomorrow.