Monday, February 6, 2012

Thought of the Day: Capitalism Elevates Mere Life Over the Good Life

Aristotle distinguished between mere life, activity with the purpose of meeting basic needs for survival and sustenance, and the good life, when those needs are met so one can focus on higher, more purposive intellectual, artistic, and social pursuits.
Capitalism elevates mere life over the good life.  It turns the making and consuming of material possessions into the purpose of nearly all a society’s activity.  It transforms the need for goods like a home or set of clothing -- which can still be beautiful and elegant even when honest, simple, and sufficient -- into a destructive drive for status-seeking and wasteful indulgence through ornament and ostentation. 
Capitalism elevates mere life over the good life.  Hence it's philistinism and anti-intellectualism, its elevation of commercial values over all other values, and its cancerous colonization of intellectual and artistic life. 

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