GETTING ONE'S WAY IS MORE THAN JUST WILL
I have observed that, as there is an equal and opposite reaction to applied force in Physics, there appears to be an equal and opposite reaction to the application of Economic Force.
Economic Force (aka Economic Violence) is any situation in which any economic actor is prevented from trading freely by laws and statutes, who is not themselves committing fraud, deception, or violence.
Examples of this include:
- Welfare systems that redistribute wealth, whilst simultaneously damaging local infrastructure, and preventing the most vulnerable from entering the workforce.
- Charities that give away goods, such as shoes, can destroy domestic markets and thereby leave those receiving aid in an even worse position overall.
- Price restrictions on goods that are in short supply simply cause those goods to disappear (into underground markets, where risk of doing business increases prices further), and thereby can even engineer famine.
- Prohibition of controlled substances that force people all parties involved into a dangerous underground lifestyle of inferior quality transactions that lead to a spiral of ill effects, and turn honest citizens into criminals in cages, all in the name of protecting the people.
This is not simple 'blowback', or unintended consequences. There is something more to it – I suspect, but cannot yet prove, that there is an underlying universal principle.
I declare that there appears to be a law within the mechanics of complex systems. Watson's Law, if I may be so very bold:
"The initiation of force (violence, theft, or fraud) with the intention of improving a situation, always leads to a worse eventual outcome, given a sufficiently detailed observation."
Social problems cannot be resolved by violence.
This is also why we cannot simply hope to shackle intelligent machines.
Bearing this in mind, how ought one to behave in order to ensure a net benefit from one's actions? How is one to effect Eupraxosophy (Good Action)?
There is a concept in ancient Taoist tradition called Wu Wei. It may be translated as 'action without governance', 'doing without controlling', or 'action without wilful effort'.
I submit that applying Wu Wei (to matters economic and personal) may be one way to effect greatness in the world, or at least one virtue worth cultivating.
Wu Wei is the dance of life. You do this in small ways every day; when you wait for traffic to pass to cross the road, instead of stopping the flow, when you weave amongst the crowd in tune with its motion instead of pushing and excusing.
The opposite, is to smash one's might and willpower against the world and its inhabitants. To get one's own way in a zero-sum game of winners and losers.
One may liken these two essences of being as like curling one's hand into a fist, or choosing to have it blossom in an open palm.
The Fist is violence, hoarding, snatching, sleight-of-hand. The fist is ugly and un-original, limited in its brutish utility. The fist denies, then threatens, then wounds.
But that same human paw may be applied in another, different way.
To be one with the Open Palm is to give, as well as receive, freely and honestly.
It is the touch of an artisan - a tinkle, a tickle, a tinkering, a subtle influence that can manifest great change if leveraged with finesse.
It is an invitation - to hail, to trade, and to dance.
To Dance is co-create the next great wave, and surf it right as it begins to take form. It is not to be found in the surly Fist that tries to grab onto it after it happens.
To Dance with an Open Palm means movement in harmony with the swirling eddies of our world.
May the flow of your gentle-minded terpsichory lead you onward along your path. :)