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The Romantics argued that at the core of being there is an authentic self that is pure in nature, although corruptible by society. What made the Romantic era unique within the context of the evolutionary history of empathic consciousness is the great stress placed on what Rousseau, and later Wordsworth and Whitman, called the “Sentiment of Being.”

1755 In “Discourse on the Origins and Foundations of Inequality among Men” Rousseau argued that the noble savage man, alienated from others was more authentic than the hypocritical, servile social man who tells people what they want to hear. Kant developed the concept of the “enlarged mentality” – the ability to exercise empathy, to “stand up in the mind of others”.

“the savage lives within himself; the social man lives always outside himself; he knows how to live only in the opinion of others, it is, so to speak from their judgment along that he derives the sense of his own existence.”

The social man is someone who cares only about appearances. Rousseau abandoned Paris (and the modern age) for rural isolation claiming that even the politeness of the city promoted corruption. He concluded that,

“We have only a deceptive and frivolous outward appearance, honour without virtue, reason without wisdom, and pleasure without happiness. It suffices for me to to have proved that this is not the original state of man, and that it is only the spirit of society and the inequality it engenders which thus transform and corrupt all our natural inclinations.”

Rousseau sees human history as beginning with the struggle for mutual recognition that Hegel analyzed as the master-slave dialectic. Rousseau’s Sentiment of Being.”

1762 Rousseau’s self-help book on proper parenting entitled Emile was published.

1790s Rousseau’s self-help book on proper parenting entitled Emile rose in popularity at the dawn of the Romantic period. Romantics were attracted to Rousseau’s emphasis on nurturing the child’s natural instincts in direct opposition to John Locke’s assertion that children are born a tabula rasa, a blank slate. Rousseau argued that children who are naturally inclined towards the good and that childhood is a time for parents to honour and nurture their children so their naturally good instincts will develop (See Rifkin EC:354).

1790s Jane Austin introduced the two sisters Elinor and Marianne in her satire of dominant currents of the later 18th century entitled Sense and Sensibility (published in 1811). The reliable, predictable Elinor, who is the voice of reason, has a deep sense of responsibility, keeps her emotions in check, fulfills her social responsibilities but ultimately finds happiness when she discovers her inner sensibility and finally marries her true love. The overly emotional, romantic, Marianne is spontaneous to the point of being irresponsible represents the bleeding heart liberal governed entirely by passions and desires. She finds happiness when she balances her exercises more sense and reason in her decision-making and actions. keywords: ideological thinking. See Rifkin (EC:320).

1805 In The Prelude begun in his twenties by Romantic poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850)’s semi-autobiographical poem of his lifelong spiritual journey. early years spiritual autobiography, he associated the experience of beauty as transcending rational thought: Wordsworth’s “Sentiment of Being.” See Trilling 1972 Sincerity and Authenticity.

The song would speak
          Of that interminable building reared
          By observation of affinities
          In objects where no brotherhood exists
          To passive minds. My seventeenth year was come
          And, whether from this habit rooted now
          So deeply in my mind, or from excess
          In the great social principle of life
          Coercing all things into sympathy,                         390
          To unorganic natures were transferred
          My own enjoyments; or the power of truth
          Coming in revelation, did converse
          With things that really are; I, at this time,
          Saw blessings spread around me like a sea.
          Thus while the days flew by, and years passed on,
          From Nature and her overflowing soul,
          I had received so much, that all my thoughts
          Were steeped in feeling; I was only then
          Contented, when with bliss ineffable                       400
          I felt the sentiment of Being spread
          O'er all that moves and all that seemeth still;
          O'er all that, lost beyond the reach of thought
          And human knowledge, to the human eye
          Invisible, yet liveth to the heart;
          O'er all that leaps and runs, and shouts and sings,
          Or beats the gladsome air; o'er all that glides
          Beneath the wave, yea, in the wave itself,
          And mighty depth of waters. Wonder not
          If high the transport, great the joy I felt,               410
          Communing in this sort through earth and heaven
          With every form of creature, as it looked
          Towards the Uncreated with a countenance
          Of adoration, with an eye of love.
          One song they sang, and it was audible,
          Most audible, then, when the fleshly ear,
          O'ercome by humblest prelude of that strain
          Forgot her functions, and slept undisturbed.

Whitman “Sentiment of Being.”

1807 G.W.F. Hegel major philosophical work entitled  Phänomenologie des Geistes [Phenomenology of Mind, Phenomenology of Spirit] was published. Hegel traced the evolution of consciousness distinguishing between lower and higher levels of consciousness. In the section entitled “Self Consciousness > A: Independence and Dependence of Self-Consciousness > Lordship and Bondage” Hegel developed the Master-slave dialectic.

1870 In “St. Paul and Protestantism” Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) wrote,

Below the surface stream, shallow and light,
Of what we say and feel — below the stream,
As light, of what we think we feel, there flows
With noiseless current, strong, obscure and deep,
The central stream of what we feel indeed.

Trilling cited this in Sincerity and Authenticity (1972).

1968 Student uprisings at Columbia University, Trilling’s academic intellectuals community. The adversary culture, the cruder form of liberalism, asserted itself. Complex arena of mental struggles were forced into the arena of simple political struggles. Moral, psychological, social selves that we imagined ourselves possessing were split and fragmented and a “dissociation of sensibility” took over. Wordsworth and Rousseau are crucial to Trlling in Sincerity and Authenticity.

1972 Trilling, Lionel. 1969-70. Sincerity and Authenticity. Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard published in 1972. “It comprises a history of the elaborate development of mind and self since Shakespeare, a brief consideration of certain literary texts he sees as central, a polemical refutation of some prophets of our time, and an authorial credo that conceals hope about literature while it counsels stoic resignation about life. And as his last argument with the forceful reality of death, it is also Trilling’s attempt to discover a means by which estrangement of self from self might at last be resolved. Trilling’s authentic authenticity is perhaps best embodied in Conrad of Heart of Darkness. Lesser authenticities Chace, William M. Lionel Trilling, criticism and politics. Lionel Trilling makes the point that authenticity is not to be confused with sincerity, which is being true to one’s social self. Authenticity runs deeper-it is, in the words of Trilling, a “primitive” strength that is continually compromised by society. Maintaining one’s core authenticity, for Rousseau and the Romantics, required a life of personal suffering and constant attention and sympathy to the plight of others. Only the alientated could enter into this world (Rifkin EC:350).

Sartre, the French existential philosopher of the mid-twentieth century, defined the sentiment of being as the place where

“each of us finds himself as well as the others. The common place belongs to me; in me, it

 

 

1990 Kenneth D. Bailey defined social entropy  as “a measure of social system structure, having both theoretical and statistical interpretations, i.e. society (macrosocietal variables) measured in terms of how the individual functions in society (microsocietal variables); also related to social equilibrium” in his publication entitled Social Entropy Theory. (State University of New York Press).

1999 In their publication entitled A Primer of Jungian Psychology  , (New York: Meridian), Calvin S. Hall and J. Vernon described “psychological entropy as the distribution of energy in the psyche, which tends to seek equilibrium or balance among all the structures of the psyche.”

Robinson, Jeffrey Cane. The current of romantic passion.


Circumtomato

Economist Milton Friedman, propagated 18th century values in the Post-WWII global economy. Like Adam Smith he preached the gospel of minimal government, laissez-faire. The triad, Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom (1944), Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (1957), and Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom (1962) pit economic efficiency against social justice.

“It is standard doctrine, at least among American economists and in much of the business community, that firms should maximize the stock market value (Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2007. “What is the Role of the State?” in Escaping the Resource Curse. supra note 154, at 3, 28-29).” Under U.S. corporate law, for example, a corporation’s board of directors must make decisions that reflect the profit motivations of shareholders or risk liability for a breach of fiduciary duty.” (The Yale Journal of International Law. Vol.36:167:184).


A Circumtomato Globe: Devouring the Earth, Extremes of Wealth and Poverty

I compiled this digitized collage, inspired by Deborah Barndt’s Tangled Routes: Women, Work and Globalization on the Tomato Trail on November 16, 2006. I used a Google earth generated globe to situate as a kind of circumtomato globe. I developed the concept of John Elkington’s Cannibals with Forks for the image of a world being devoured by those who choose to make decisions based on only one bottom line.


In its Oxford style debate 2.0 on sustainability and corporate responsibility, The Economist set forth the proposition for debate, “Without outside pressure, corporations will not take meaningful action on sustainability.” The final vote count was: Pro 73% / Con 27%.


Henry C K Liu, chairman of the New York-based Liu Investment Group wrote this in his article (2003) about Hong Kong’s benign colonialism that seduced Milton Friedman.

Love is blind and infatuation disguises faults as virtues. As Rudyard Kipling fell in love with the pageantry of colonialism and saw racial exploitation as the “White Man’s Burden”, Milton Friedman, Nobel economist, fell in love with colonial Hong Kong, seduced by the wine-and-dine hospitality of its colonial masters and elite compradores. Friedman mistook Hong Kong’s colonial economic system as a free market, despite Hong Kong’s highly orchestrated colonial command economy.

The violence of extremes of wealth and poverty is the moral dilemma of the 21st century, not the acquisition of wealth by individuals, corporations and nation-states. The use of that wealth to convince civil society through mass media of a fair redistribution of wealth is unconscionable. In his book entitled The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Times, Harvard Economist, Jeffrey D. Sachs (2005) reveals the gaping chasm between the real and the perceptions of the real in terms of the ways in which the world’s wealthiest share their wealth with the world’s most vulnerable, at-risk populations. Based on OECD statistics and his own research Sachs claims that the extremes of poverty could be overcome in 25 years if wealthy nations devoted just 0.7% of their GNP (instead of the 0.33% currently provided) official development assistance (ODA) in developing countries. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported that Canada’s official development assistance (ODA) was 0.28% of gross national income (GNI) up from an all time low of 0.22% in 2001. In 2005 the world’s most powerful, wealth nation, the United States devoted just 0.22% of its GNP to foreign aid.

Public perceptions reflect support for higher levels of aid. When asked what percentage of the federal budget they think goes to foreign aid, Americans’ median estimate is 25% of the budget, more than 25 times the actual level. Only 2% of Americans give a correct estimate of 1% of the budget or less. When asked how much of the budget should go to foreign aid, the median response is 10%. Only 13% of Americans believe that the percentage should be 1% or less. Over 60% of Americans believe that contributing 0.7% of national income to meet the Millennium Development Goals is the right thing to do (Sachs 2005).

In an article published in The Economist in 2005 entitled “The Biggest Contract” (in reference to Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s concept of social contract), Ian Davis challenged Anglo-Saxon corporate management to revisit, redefine, re-articulate and reinforce with greater subtlety their relationship with society as an implicit social contract that acknowledges obligations, opportunities and mutual advantage for both sides.” Corporate management needs to recast this debate and recapture the intellectual and moral high ground from their critics.” Davis argued that like the political leaders in Rousseau’s 18th century, corporate management in the 21st century will lose legitimacy if they refuse to serve the public good. Davis rejects the nonproductive binary oppositional environment of public debate on economic efficiency vs social justice. The strongly held belief in Anglo-Saxon economies [1] that the “business of business is business” (to create shareholder value) is as outworn, ideology-based and caricature-driven as is the extreme version of Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR).

Davis argued that an informed, educated and engaged [2] CEOs and upper-level management should map-out long term options and responses to relevant, evolving, overarching, broad, carefully researched social pressures and issues as an implicit and integral (not merely peripheral) part of corporate strategy rather than depending exclusively on lower-level public-relations tacticians operating with a knee-jerk, defensive, narrow, reactionary, rebuttal stance to individual, local and immediate (at times, ill-defined) laws, (political, ideological, etc) tensions and (environmental, sustainability, NGO) concerns. “Large companies need to build social issues into strategy in a way which reflects their actual business importance.” The CEOs should blend and harmonize their supporting efforts, such as trade regimes, with sophisticated, sensitive and successful approaches to risk management, social and economic development issues, access to social services particularly for the most vulnerable populations and resolutions of regional geopolitical conflicts. See The Economist premium content.

“Since 2006 investors have flocked to sign the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) but now find themselves in the firing line for ‘greenwashing’, as many fail to fulfill their promise to fully integrate and report progress on environmental, social and governance factors. Most Australia-based UNPRI signatory super funds contacted by Ethical Investor admit there is still much work to be done to fully integrate Environmental, Social Governance (ESG) into its investment analysis and decision-making (Wagg and Taylor 2009-05-31).”

Notes

1. The Anglo-Saxon shareholder-value model has increasingly taken on global significance.

2. Davis argued that executive managers must introduce explicit processes which include the development of resources such as broad metrics, summaries and analysis of relevant social issues in order to systematically “educate and engage their boards of directors.

For more on this topic see also papergirls.wordpress.com

Selected Bibliography

Wagg, Oliver; Taylor, Nicholas. 2009-05-31. “UNPRI: Greenwash or Green Fix? Ethical Investor.

Barndt, Deborah (2001) Tangled Routes: Women, Work and Globalization on the Tomato Trail, Aurora, ON, Garamond Press.

Davis, Ian. 2005. “The biggest contract: By building social issues into strategy, big business can recast the debate about its role, argues Ian Davis.” The Economist. May 28.

Elkington, John (1997) Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business, New Society Publishers, Limited.

Elkington, John (2003) Chrysalis Economy: How Citizen CEOs and Corporations Can Fuse Values and Value Creation, Wiley, John and Sons, Incorporated.

Friedman, Milton. 1970. “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits”, The New York Times Magazine, September 13, 1970. Copyright @ 1970 by The New York Times Company.

Liu, Henry C. K., 2003, “China: a Case of Self-Delusion, from colonialism to confusion,” Asia Times, May 14, 2003.

Sachs, Jeffrey D. 2005. “Facts on International Aid.” The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Times.

Sachs, Jeffrey D. “The Strategic Significance of Global Inequality.”