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Why thinking about economics is bad for you

JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matterNetherlands Veteran

I was considering the brahmavihara and the luminosity of the mind in enlightenment, which I think I have gotten a few tiny glimpses of in meditation, and it occurs to me that in order to really have faith in the luminous things which brighten the endless existence we must be careful where we place our certainties.

Now, economics is often called the “dreary science” because it deals with projections and monetary matters to as great a measure of certainty as it can manage. It leads you to make plans for your life such as “I will be in this job for 20 years and then I will retire on such-and-such a pension” which often turns into a self fulfilling prophecy. But it’s not certain, and to call it certain would be to impose on yourself a straitjacket which extinguishes a lot of hope and positivity.

So I would suggest thinking as little as possible about economics — projections, plans, how the future might run — and instead keeping one’s thinking smaller and closer to who you are now, so that you can take joy in life and celebrate what is worth celebrating.


  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited April 2019

    My guess is, that people can manage to do both, without either detracting from the other. I think it's good to chart a course, and aim to improve oneself and one's circumstances, as long as one doesn't get too attached to the outcome. As you point out, there's no guarantee that the goal will come to fruition, so we don't want to set ourselves up for disappointment. Also, there's something to be said for being open to serendipity; taking an opportunity or an unexpected path, when a fork appears in the road.

    I came across an essay somewhere recently, about the Buddha's views on building wealth. Apparently, he encouraged it, as long as one shared the bounty with others, and with the spiritual community, because that way, everyone would benefit. Unfortunately, I have no recollection how/where I found that piece, but if I remember, I'll post a link.

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