Reinventing Capitalism: Putting Soul into the Machine
The Holy War of militant Islam against the West and the current crisis of confidence in the American economy have hit the citizens of the Western World with a challenge of an unprecedented kind. They have given you and me–readers, culture-makers, publishers, editors, journalists, pundits, and thinkers–what may be our greatest opportunity and our greatest responsibility since the Depression and the Nazis threatened to topple the Western Way of Life in 1933.
There’s a void in our sense of meaning. We have come to regard “the Western System” as one in which the rich stoke artificial needs to suck money, blood, and spirit from the rest of us. We’ve been told that the barons of industry work overtime to turn us from sensitive humans into consumers—mindless buyers listlessly watching TV while growing obese on the hydrogenated fats, artificial flavors, chemical preservatives, and the cheap sugars of junk food. And some of that is true Replicas Inflatable Cemento.
Anti-capitalism poster by the early Marxist/Leninist artist Victor Deni, 1919. The vocabulary of Marx subtly dominates the way we see The Western System. This Marxist legacy unwittingly encourages a capitalist error–greed
But the problem does not lie in the pistons of the Western Way of Life—it does not lie in industrialism, capitalism, modernism, pluralism, free speech, unfettered information exchange, and democracy. The problem lies in us—in you and me. It also lies in our bosses, in our corporate CEOs, in our intellectual elite, in our super-rich, and in our political leaders. We fail to see what’s under our nose—a set of moral imperatives and of heroic demands that are implicit in The Western Way of Being. We fail to see our magic, our gifts, and our utopian capacities.
The engines of the Western System lie in the emotional core of you and me.
We are saviors who must wake up to our powers. We have to grab the rush of satisfaction that comes from liberating other human beings. We have to see the line of Holy Grails that we’re achieving. And we have to see the spires and the cliffs between idealism and greed.
Self-revelation can make leaders liberators of their fellow human beings.
Howard Bloom’s Reinventing Capitalism: Putting Soul In The Machine shares something in common with his two previous critically-acclaimed books, The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History and Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind From The Big Bang to the 21st Century. Reinventing Capitalism is what author Leon Uris called, “An act of astonishing intellectual courage.” It is what leading business author Dr. Alexander Elder called, “A brilliant, thrilling book on the human condition.” It is what Gear Magazine Publisher Bob Guccione, Jr called, “an epoch-making and culture-defining treatise.” It is what self-help author Kevin Hogan called, “The Bible…a monumental work…that has instant application in the world.” And it’s what reviewer Michael B. Leach called “nothing less than a reinterpretation of the history of civilization.” Reinventing Capitalism offers a perceptual lens with which to view our culture and our values in new ways.
Howard Bloom’s The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History and Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from The Big Bang to the 21st Century.
Business, commerce, and exchange, Bloom says, are at the heart of Western Civilization. We spend more time at work than at any other activity. Capitalism is what we do each day. But capitalism is not at all what we think.
Bloom’s Soul In The Machine: Reinventing Capitalism reveals a deeper meaning beneath what we’ve been told is crass materialism. It shows how profoundly our obsessive making and exchanging of goods and services has upgraded the nature of our species, has given it new powers, has endowed it with the equivalent of new arms, legs, ears, eyes, and brains. Reinventing Capitalism reveals the ethics, the morality, and the ideals implicit in what we think of as demeaning—in our labors and in our ways of selling them. It shows why what we have is worth living and dying for and why what we do will continue to ennoble the human race. Reinventing Capitalism explains why The Western System nurtures visions far more sublime than those of its enemies, whether those enemies are the global forces of militant Islam, the cynics who use capitalism to cheat, the postmodern anti-Globalist anti-Capitalists, the local Maoist guerrillas of Nepal, the Che-Guevarist guerrillas of Colombia, or the Neo-Indigenous-Culture Revolutionaries of Zapatista Mexico.
Reinventing Capitalism reveals an implicit code by which we live—a code that demands that we uplift each other. Though we don’t know it, capitalism condemns those who use it criminally. Capitalism punishes its thieves and charlatans—those like the wheeler-dealers of Enron who stuffed their pockets but failed to make the contribution they were paid to make.
Capitalism calls for heroism…a fact we must learn to perceive.
Reinventing Capitalism tells the story of the rise of civilization in a way you’ve never imagined before. It stresses new concepts:
Reinventing Capitalism shows the vigor in what we’ve seen as dull. It glistens with new ways to perceive the power hiding in the everyday.
“Anything you conceive and believe you can achieve.” This quote from singer/preacher Al Green expresses a basic Western imperative.
Who is this book at aimed? It is aimed at you and me.
It is a how-to and a manifesto for readers, for rebels, for thinkers, for office workers, and for CEOs…for executives, for managers, for investors, for dreamers, and for everyone who works or contributes to the lives of others—or who wishes
Reinventing Capitalism is designed to generate spinoffs that will continue to sell the book long into the future. It is designed to provide the core message for CEO-coaching sessions, for business seminars, and for motivational seminars directed at individuals.
Michael Clauss, CEO of a joint venture for business consulting through Howard Bloom
and The Clauss Group
Barbara Annis, Founder and President of Barbara Annis & Associates, Inc.
Randy Revell, Founder and President of Context Associated.
Jeffrey Gitomer—President of BuyGitomer, Inc.
Lynn Johnson—President of Solutions Consulting Group, Inc.
Ahmed Yehia, Chairman and CEO, and Laurie Yehia, President Quantum Leadership Solutions, LLC
Neil McEvoy — Founder and CEO, Genesis Forum
James Santagata, Founder and CEO, Tribal Noise!
Reinventing Capitalism lets you in on a secret Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and today’s mainstream economists, eco-critics, and business pundits never dreamed—forget greed and dedicate yourself to your own passions, to your ideals, and to others’ needs and you’ll unleash the power hidden in our civilization, a power that can make you a shaper of meaning, a maker of warmth, a creator of new wonders and abilities, and can offer you a new way to succeed.
A Sample of
Soul In the Machine
The Western World is in a new war, a war for its heart, a war for its head, a war for its values, a war for its identity, and a war for its very right to be. This is not a war of bombs, munitions and military might. It is a War of Faith & Culture. A slew of separate Fundamentalist Islamic movements have come together with a common aim—to displace the U.S., Western Civilization, and Global Capitalism. These are the modern Jihadists, the makers of Holy War, Jihad. The warriors of Jihad are winning hearts and minds. They’re setting fire to the passions of adolescents and of young adults thirsting for something to believe in, for something to live and die for, for purity, faith, and ideals. Meanwhile we are in danger of defeating ourselves. We don’t know who we are and what we stand for. We fail to have a vision of our future possibilities.
This Holy War of competing faiths and cultures is not one we can fight with the old-time American strategy of walling ourselves off behind the Atlantic and Pacific Seas. The Jihadists are using our own infrastructure against us-bombing us with our passenger jets and our Rider Rent-a-Trucks, using our Constitutional freedoms to infiltrate our prisons, our slums, our middle-class districts, our universities, and our very minds. We’re facing the prospect of random terrorist body blows at the very time when the fundamental tenets of American-led Global Capitalism are experiencing a crisis of faith. Key corporations from Enron and WorldCom to Arthur Andersen are falling for a reason few perceive. America is being undone by those best able to save it, betrayed by the lack of something vital in its leadership elite.
Cultures live and die by where they choose to live their emotional lives. Dying cultures dream of the glories of the past and yearn to travel backwards, reclaiming the safety of a mythical golden age. Living cultures look forward to building futures better than any past they’ve ever seen. Our first choice after 9/11 and the corporate crash of the early 21st Century was to look backward. We feared the next bit of bad news and asked the wrong questions-who’s accountable, who’s to blame, who can we pin our woes on, and who can we cast out and shame.
A new frontier that we’ve abandoned but to which we must return. Chesley Bonestell painted a future he longed for in 1944, 25 years before the first man walked on the moon.
We should have asked what lessons can we learn, what can we invent, what can we upgrade and create? What new twists of culture, of technology, of insight and technique will help us leapfrog over our assailants and carry us forward toward new ways of being? How can we take the values of our Founding Fathers to even higher peaks? How can we loft the best that’s in us into the next two centuries?
The answer lies in giving capitalism a heart and a soul. More specifically it lies in giving all of us something only saints have previously been required to possess—something Bloom calls “tuned empathy.”
Discover the desires you’ve never dared express. Then make their achievement possible—for others and for yourself.
There’s a new form of capitalism struggling to be born among us. In reality it’s been here all along, but we’ve failed to see it. It’s Emotional Capitalism, a capitalism vibrant with the power of something that has to seize the heart of every boardroom meeting—the power to care, the power to feel the emotions of the people you serve, and the power to feel your own emotions in new ways.
The true businessman is a seer and servant. He is not trafficking in inanimate goods sold to anonymous “consumers.” He nourishes human souls. When he helps those souls catch fire, money flows. Those who look deep into their passions can anticipate the needs of others. A bone-deep love for others’ needs is the secret to personal growth, to profits, and to prosperity.
The capitalism of passion demands that we tap a power only saints have been asked to achieve. Bloom calls it “tuned empathy.”
If given a choice between earthly goods and emotional nourishment, humans will tighten their belts and go for emotional meat. Capitalism offers more things to believe in than any system that has ever come before. Capitalism lifts the poor and the oppressed and helps them live their dreams.
French painter Jacques-Louis David’s portrait of his wealthy sister-in-law—Emilie Seriziat. The year was 1795—shortly before the invention of the power loom
Samuel F. B. Morse’s first telegraph, 1832. Telegraph lines. Telegraph boys. The telegraph system dramatically upgraded the distance-crunching power of our species.
Mankind has been transformed by its machinery. Canyon-crossing took days when we relied on the transport mechanism evolution gave us—legs.
Every one of these capitalist leaps changed the nature of being human. And every one of them set new forces of emotion and of imagination free. But without leaders
It’s time for all of us—for those in our offices and our homes, and for culture-leaders in boardrooms, universities, and editorial headquarters–to wake up and see that humans are nourished by perception, nourished by passion, nourished by feeling. It’s time for us to see the emotional substance in what we’ve mistakenly labeled with a dehumanized vocabulary, the language of clods, lumps, stones, and numbers—the language of “materialism,” “commodification,” “consumerism,” “derivatives,” “transfer agents,” “utility maximization,” “quarterly profits,” “products,” “markets,” and “supply and demand.”
Norman Rockwell’s art was despised by the intellectual elite while he was alive.
People are the ones who demand. We do it because we desire, we hanker, we hunger, we’re eager, we’re roused. Or we’re deadened, we’re hurt, we’re unsatisfied, we need. Wanting is an emotional thing. Value is emotionality. So is price. And so is profit. Coin is massed attention. Cash is emotional need.
The task of the capitalist is to feel and to fill others’ unspoken needs.
It’s not the plastic or the silicon in what we make that counts. It’s the passion, stupid! It’s the emotional boost, the emotional satisfaction, the emotional soar, the emotional swiftness, the emotional whisper, the emotional roar, and
We desperately need a reinvention and a re-perception of the system that has given Western Civilization its long-term strength and its recent weaknesses. We need the Capitalism of Passion. Those who struck us on 9/11 peddle passion brilliantly. They feed the hunger for meaning with the junk food of emotion—violence and righteous fury. Reinventing Capitalism: Putting Soul In the Machine reveals how The Capitalism of Passion offers those of us who are emotionally starved a more solid meal—the
The Knife At Our Throat
Evolution has given us the legacy of war. It has also given us the capacity to compete creatively.
Here’s the Death-of-Western-Civilization Report as of early 2003. Islam’s been crusading against Dar El Harb, the Land of the Unbeliever, since the first Mohammedan armies swept from the Arab Peninsula in roughly 634 A.D. Those conquering forces took Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Spain, Syria, Turkey, Greece, the Balkans, India, Afghanistan, the Western edge of China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Central Asia, Somalia, the Sudan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. For most of that time, Islam had the Western world penned in—keeping Europeans out of the vast Islamic Imperium, ruling Spain and Portugal, seizing control of Sicily, Sardinia, and entire regions of Italy, raiding England, Ireland, and the Caucasus Mountains for slaves, conquering lands in Bosnia, Sarajevo, and Albania, and repeatedly attacking Vienna.
Osama bin Laden, in nearly every speech, laments the day in 1922 when the West dissolved the Moslem Empire of the Turks and took Islam’s power to attack away. It is the fondest dream of Osama and of those who follow in his wake to return Islam to the offensive, but this time to do it with Western technology. 9/11 was sent as the merest foretaste of future deeds.
A proud symbol of the ancient Islamic empire: a Turkish harem guard…probably a slave seized in Africa and castrated to eliminate his interest in the women he helped imprison.
The Osamaites are something new doing something very old. They are wireless warriors, masters of the World Wide Web and of the Internet. They are the flower of modern Islam—its rich and privileged kids, its top university students, and its growing middle class. With laptops and airline tickets, they’ve invented a new World War—a global, cyber-based Jihad—one in which the attacking army can hide in the central cities of its enemies. The approach is a parallel-distributed conspiracy. It hangs together not because a central leader has command. It percolates independently in nooks and crannies, held together by common beliefs.
The Jihadists—the preachers of Holy War—want everything. The world! As Osama sees it, the boundaries of Islam’s nation-states are dividing lines that Westerners contrived to weaken the Ummah—the vast family of Islam. It is time, says Osama, for a global caliphate.
Mujahed (Holy Warrior) with rocket propelled grenade.
Can Jihadists win this new world war? You bet. Jihadist Islam has been winning for more than 1,350 years. It’s won an empire that spans the 10,000 miles from the Philippines to Nigeria.
A book sold on the website of the Islamic Society of North America, which brags about early Islam’s 7th Century “defeat of the most powerful empires of the era.”
It’s won a third of the population of Africa. It’s won all up and down central Asia. Its biggest wins have been in three huge states—India (where Islam has held sway periodically from the 11th Century on), Indonesia, and Malaysia. Islam’s won more than fifty nations and is infiltrating Europe furiously. Islam is the second-biggest religion in Britain. There are six million Moslems in France, and many of them are kicking up a fuss. There are Islamic communities and Islamic terror centers in Belgium, Holland, Spain, Germany, and Denmark. And they’re growing rapidly. 1.2 billion Moslems are spread around the world. They are urged by a mass of worldwide Islamic websites to perform Dawa—to resist assimilation and to convert you and me—peacefully with words if possible, otherwise violently.
The logos of a World Wide Website that promotes violent Jihad. Jama’at ud Da’wa explains to the world’s Moslems that there is no choice in the matter. “ Allah made it binding on the Muslims to fight in His way. Warfare is ordained for you, though you dislike it. ”
One of Jama’at ud Da’wa’s many web pages is titled “Dr. Mohsin Farooqi takes a look at the history of Muslim rule in Europe to remind the Muslim Ummah of its glorious past.” Dr. Farooqi crows about the days when, “Muslims from North Africa ravaged the coasts of Spain, Italy and France and even occasionally of England and Ireland devastating the cities and villages and carrying away booty and captives.
Many of the Moslems in the West are peaceful and productive. Some of them are not. Do the militants among those in Europe and America want to eradicate the Western way of life? You bet. Do some of those militants see the Moslem communities of
So what do we have to lose? Everything. The current crisis of capitalism isn’t just a normal economic rise and fall. It’s part of a bigger picture. We are fighting for our very way of life.
What Do We Stand For?
The deconstructionist and postmodernist view of capitalism.
But is our way of life worth fighting for? The deconstructionists, post-modernists, post-colonialists, and anti-capitalists say no. Capitalism is a game in which the rich manipulate the rest. Capitalism steals the very soul and replaces it with artificial needs. Capitalism thrives on sucking lifeblood. Capitalism, say these thinkers, is the enemy.
And guess what? This segment of the intellectual elite has framed the terms of the debate. We use their language and buy into their tale of capitalism’s history.
The story the anti-capitalists tell is WRONG. Since its first beginnings, capitalism has been a non-stop liberator, an emotional-upgrader, and a full-speed-ahead creator of new forms of empowerment, new frontiers of human possibility.
Indications are that the production of goods and services—and their trade—began two million years ago in Africa. In those early days humans bartered lumps of slate and of obsidian, the stuff from which the best stone tools were made. A system of trade from tribe to tribe to tribe carried stone from areas where it was common-as-dirt to territories where it was coveted as luxury.
Stone Age obsidian arrowhead.
That’s something trade has always done—taken one man’s boring overflow and passed it to those who hungered for it dearly. In modern terms we hide this human element behind words like arbitrage. But trade that seeks out surpluses and satisfies deep physical and emotional needs is one of the capitalism’s unspoken central creeds.
Trades are emotional exchanges. They’ve always been. You can get a sense of the earliest swap meets on this globe from the primitive tribes scrutinized by anthropologists in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Sheer eagerness drove every man, woman, and child in a tribe to trek 200 miles or more so they could trade their everyday possessions for the rare things of their neighbors.
Ancient Mayan marketplace in Mexico before Columbus discovered the Americas. The Mayans rain of plenty came from commerce and from trade.
Modern Mexican marketplace in Guadalajara…a phantasmagoria of delights.
Eagerness and exaltation must have flowed like manna two million years ago when a man or woman could abandon a clumsy, blunt hammer made from a local stone and could chip at imported flint or obsidian to make a blade. What new horizons were opened to humanity by the ability to use a sharpened edge to cut! Homo sapiens with their stubby teeth could not bite and squeeze the body of a beast to liberate its treasure trove, its meat. Humans armed with cutting stones could slice a carcass into steaks and chops, skin the pelt in a single piece and use it for clothing, carrying bags, baby slings, tents, and huts.
A human with a chipped stone tool was no longer a weakly-muscled upright fool. He was a radically different beast—one who had made his own fangs and claws.
Acheulian stone axe from Algeria made by Homo erectus.
The human upgrade—the home built of mammoth tusks, mammoth ribs, and mammoth hide. The mammoth-bone-and-hide hut on the right was built roughly 15,000 years ago.
Was there joy in this new ability? Was there celebration of this newfound mastery? Were there games to see who could make the best stone blades and who could skin the fastest? Did fans and clans feel passion as they urged their champions on? The tools remain. The cheers are gone. But I suspect they happened.
One thing we know for sure. The ability to predict your destiny and to control it changes hormone flows in the body and the brain. It ups the level of immune system activity, hikes the level of health, tweaks the ability to see and think, and makes humans stand up straighter. Stone tools were humanity’s first handmade hormone boosters. They were also the first form of Capital.
Let’s take a minute out to rewrite Adam Smith and the potent but outmoded concepts with which he helped found economics in 1776. Capital has traditionally meant machines, buildings, tools, shafts, hafts, instruments, plans, savings, and the training that we use to make things that others wish for. Smith called capital stored labor. And he was right. But he picked up just one piece of the puzzle and left the others scattered on the floor. Breakthroughs come from more than just the work of those who carry out another’s intention. Every piece of capital begins as a new invention.
Capital is stored imagination. Capital is stored stress, stored vision, stored diligence to persist, and stored ability to inspire others to complete a task that seems impossible or frivolous. Capital is stored passion! The Acheulian hand axe of 1.5 million b.c. was a stone tool humans used for over a million years. It owed its existence to a mob of innovators and creators—
In 110,000 B.C. the first totally emotional industry sprang up. This one catered to human vanity. In Spain, early humans developed makeup—complete with a palette of 70 shades—all of them red. We don’t know whether this ochre rouge was used to improve the natural pink that makes a woman seductive or to highlight the bright red that accompanies a mano a mano battle. The many shades hint to those of us in the evolutionary sciences that humans used this skin-paint to fill another basic emotional craving—the desire to both blend in and to stand out—the need to show that I’m a part of this group, I’m one of you, but I’m also someone special you must pay attention to, I’m me. The markings of fashion and of makeup serve these same emotional needs today.
Emotions are the heart of capital and trade.
Late Stone Age Natufians 11,000 years ago. The Natufians lived in caves in the Near East and gathered the seeds of wild grasses with a new invention, the sickle—a curved blade made of flint set in a handle made of bone.
Twelve thousand years ago the Ice Age ended, the glaciers melted, and the Near East became a paradise. Its seas of grass were top-heavy with delectable seeds. Its meadows were grazed by armies of roastable, stewable red deer and of the nine-foot-high, bakeable wild bull Bos taurus. Nature had granted humans a new summertime, and the living was easy. But even in the laziest of days humans thrive on challenge, on creating new opportunities, new ways. Emotional brain-centers like the nucleus accumbens and the mossy fibers of the hippocampus drive us to seek and to create new novelties.
Ten thousand years ago, in the late Stone Age tribes of hunters contrived a new civilization-knitter. This culture-weaving forward leap satisfied the human need to meet, to greet, to clump, and to cluster. It also slaked the thirst for new amazements. It did it with capital–with stored imagination and stored emotion. It took capitalism to new levels of the impossible…to what Dallas CEO coach O. Woodward Buckner—who helped inspire this book–calls “unreasonable future outcomes,” inconceivable utopian realities.
Excavation of another radical invention.
The inspiration that gave birth to the first city—Jericho–10,000 years ago was the notion of shaping stones bigger than a giant’s torso. For a hundred thousand years, boulders had been obstacles men and women had tripped on, had walked around, had hidden behind, or had leaned against when it came time to sit. Boulders were nature’s cast-offs, overgrown pebbles too big for any use. The first human who thought of employing them for a grander purpose was a prophetic leader, a redeemer to the nth degree. Think of all the impossible steps he had to foresee:
The result was a masterpiece of capital–of stored inspiration, stored imagination, stored leadership, stored persistence, stored labor, and stored organization. It was a radically new way of housing humans in something better than a cave. It was a new way to gain control over where your homes were placed. It was a new way to protect you from more than cold and rain. It was a new way to defend yourself when your rivals came to raid. It was a new way to gather many tribes in one common place. It was a new way to lead lives…a way in which you could pick and choose your calling, your career, your specialty.
And it was a new way to upgrade the art of trade. This masterpiece of stored emotion, stored vision, and stored promotion was a form of capital we mistakenly take for granted–the stone wall, the stone building…and the entire stone city.
The creation of stone walls had an unintended consequence—it led to the lifestyle breakthrough called city living.
A notion like this must have seemed a manic, raving dream. It must have felt insane even to the man or woman who first daydreamed it.
We humans don’t take kindly to insanities. Wild ideas scare us, they fill us with anxiety. They make us fear we’re losing it, straying grotesquely from the beaten path we call reality. Grandiose ideas riddle us with doubt, a feeling that sets our body churning in a frenzy—filling it with self-destructive hormones—glucocorticoids. To have an idea so long-term and so complex, to stick with it, to preach it with such fervor that you make others see it too, to recruit a team, to teach them, to organize them, to evangelize them, to reaffirm the goal in their emotions day after seemingly-useless day and year after year seemingly-useless year with nothing to show for the sweat and pain–that is what CEO-coach Buckner calls “leadership beyond reason, leading from the future,” beckoning from a vision so vividly that you can make others taste a paradise they’ve never seen. Jericho required seeing an absurd goal so intensely that you can take it from mere daydream into being. This is what leadership at its truest means—leading from the future toward unreasonable expectations, leading past the impossible to the point of victory.
It’s the passion, stupid! Jericho was a treasure trove of human emotionality. Its mortarless boulder walls provided a feeling for which the human soul cries out—security.
Norman Rockwell’s visual statment on the importance of security.
These Stone Age hi-tech fortifications were 6.5-feet thick and four times the height of a man. They were surrounded by a trench nine-feet deep and 27-feet wide, and protected by lookout towers.
The citizens of Jericho were the first humans to be freed from the narrow limitations of living in a tribe. They could exult in strolling down the street to meet and greet the folks of other clans, swapping knowledge, skills, arts, crafts, beads, pottery, and, in all probability, stories, song, and poetry. This was capitalism’s gift—empowerment—taken to the nth degree.
Jericho looked for other dreams and found them. It was built on the site of an oasis, so it had a monopoly on the local water supply. Jericho turned itself into a rest-stop, a paradise on a trail that traders followed. The capitalists of Jericho invented inns and transformed their town into the grand hotelier of its time, offering new forms of relaxation and haven in the midst of travel.
The mere existence of Jericho upscaled the ambitions of the human enterprise. There’s a good chance that Jericho’s presence inspired the traditional hunter-gatherer groups in its vicinity—the Natufians–to stop harvesting seeds at random and to deliberately plant them, thus inventing farming. Agriculture fed more than the stomach—it satisfied the human need to know where your next meal was coming from. Capital did what it does today—it raised the level of desire. It empowered mightily.
We take the bounty given us by the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago for granted. We should never be blind to basic satisfactions.
Within two thousand years, other cities had sprung up. Catal Huyuk, 1,500 miles from Jericho in today’s Turkey, was based on another act of unbelievable imagination. Take mud. Yes, mud, that irritating stuff that slows you down when you walk the fields in the rainy season, that stuff that wells up to your ankles and leaves its track wherever you put your feet.
Here’s a little secret evolution used long before the first human arrived. Where others see garbage, you must see gold. Where others see an irritant, you must see an opportunity. Why? So you can delight, satisfy, and upgrade your fellow humans’
The inventors of Catal Huyuk took mud and shaped it in rectangles of a standard size and shape. Then they left these geometric lumps in the sun to dry. Catal Huyuk’s inventors inspired many of their clan-mates and acquaintances to do the same. Like the wall-builders
A neighborhood in one of the first brick cities, Catal Huyuk, founded roughly 8,500 years ago.
Oh, how the place was made to satisfy. Each family had an apartment of three rooms—one for sleeping, one for cooking and for eating, and one for storage. Every apartment came complete with a carefully crafted hole in the eating room floor–a built-in hearth and oven. This first garden-apartment development catered to feeling—to the need not just for security from marauders, but for a place to sleep, for a roof over your head, and for a place to call your own. For the first time ever, it guaranteed a nuclear family’s privacy. Once again, capitalism had upgraded the range of human possibility. It had made the unreasonable an everyday mundanity. Capitalism had given a frontier of new empowerments to humankind.
Interior decoration in Catal Huyuk 8,000 years ago—5,000 years before the rise of Greece’s city-states.
When humans upgrade their powers, they upgrade their species. Thanks to emotional exchange, by 8,000 years ago, when Catal Huyuk’s first brick was cast, humanity had outpaced biology and put itself through three radical upgrades. It had gone from Homo sapiens sapiens—man equipped by nature with a brain that could store and create new knowledge—to Homo silex fabrica—man the stone trader and manufacturer–to yet another incarnation, what some in evolutionary science would call another extended phenotype—Homo urbanis–man reinvented by his own invention, the city.
New technologies, new abilities, and new forms of teamwork generate new dreams. Yes,
One of mankind’s perpetual aspirations—The Garden of Allah. The creator of this illustration was a contemporary of Chesley Bonestell’s–Maxfield
there is a soul, a passion, inside of the economic machine. Our most personal desires and schemes sometimes scare us with their strangeness, with their lunacy. But some dare make them public—just as the first stone-chipper, the first stone-wall builder, the first brick-maker, and the first brick-city-planner did. Some risk looking foolish with the tales, the songs, and the fantasies they share. Others stare with wonder—they see their own unspoken feelings, their chaotic longings, echoed in a mirror there. Then we and our allies recruit, we proselytize. We make the masses see what we have seen. We organize believers to throw themselves with idealism, passion, commitment, and deep faith, into creating something that this cosmos has never previously seen. We organize others so they can make a reality of what is now shared fantasy, shared lunacy, a communal and a corporate dream. And we do it all to tickle and to please that wisp, that ghost, emotionality. We do it to satisfy, to excite, to cause the human spirit to ignite. That is the essence of leadership, and it’s the process to which capitalism gives flight.
A dream we’ve begun to turn into reality. An illustration by Chesley Bonestell, who longed for the new frontier of space in the 1930s, 1940s, and early 1950s, when rockets had not yet reached the fringes of space.
Capitalism at its best saves souls by elevating them. It makes one generation’s fantasies the next’s launch platform, the next’s ho-hum realities. Capitalism empowers generations down the line to search for new excitements, for new futures from which to pull new powers and new upgrades for humankind. Capitalists who know their mission lead from their dreams of a future and make the unreasonable happen in our time. Capitalism at its best’s a wonder-drive. Capital is imagination. Capital is emotion solidified. Long may we, the Capitalists of Passion, thrive.
Thanks to the invention of the Rogallo wing, we humans can now fly. Hang-gliding over Paris.
Table of Contents
Maxfield Parrish caught the spirit of Emotional Capitalism when he used Prometheus—the Greek god who stole fire and brought it to man—to advertise Thomas Alva Edison’s new invention, the light bulb (1919).
Moses Before The Burning Bush, by Domenico Feti 1613.
The silent scream of History