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Occasionally I wandered in where I was not wanted and gave truthful answers.
Sometimes I even did it deliberately. A little disruption now can prevent disaster later.

Creative destruction

This is a page from the third version of Technopagan Yearnings. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at www.neowayland.com/C1325529963/E20071204041438

Economics, magick, and life

Over the weekend I ran across this article discussing a book on the economist Joseph Schumpeter. Don't feel bad if you haven't heard of him, I had to go look him up myself. But the central idea of the book, that I remembered from an econ class or two.

Schumpeter contributed two really important ideas to economics. Let me quote here.

...Previous first-rank economists (with the partial exception of Marx) had concentrated on situations of equilibrium. In that model, development is a gradual process, in which competition keeps goods high-quality and affordable, and the abstemious owners of capital await the long-term rewards of deferred gratification.

Schumpeter pointed out that that wasn't how market economies really worked. The essence of capitalist economies was, as Marx had recognized before him, the entrepreneur and the innovator: the risk taker who sets in motion new and more-efficient ways of making old or new products, and so produces an economy in constant change. Marx saw that the coming of capitalist economies destroyed all feudal, traditional, and patriarchal relationships and orders. Schumpeter saw farther: that market capitalism destroys its own earlier generations. There is, he wrote, a constant "process of industrial mutation — if I may use that biological term — that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism. It is what capitalism consists in, and what every capitalist concern has got to live in.
This isn't the first time I've dragged in economics to cover a point on magickal theory, and it probably won't be the last. After all, economics studies human activity. But I want to draw special attention to two points here. First that the important stuff doesn't happen in equilibrium but in a state of contrasting tensions. My own phrase for that state is dynamic balance, something I stole from a physics text. At any given moment, many forces act at once. Reduce one and the result is not a resting place, but rather a point where all the forces exactly counter each other again. Constant motion = dynamic, counter point = balance. We never stop moving. It's one of the roots of my WebTree lore, a small one, but still important.

But the more important point here is that phrase creative destruction. Again, it's not unique to economics, it's very much a part of nature. There are species of trees that can't release their seeds except in a forest fire. Some insects lay their eggs in the body of another, still living insect so the larvae have something to eat. A decomposing body putting nutrients back into the soil. Circle of life.

It's in mythology too. Odin casting down Ymir to create the Earth, the phoenix reborn in the flames, not to mention that little thing about a Jewish carpenter sacrificing himself. And that is just in the Western traditions.

If it's really a process and you are not going to end up where you started, you have to change things along the way. Rip up a few plants, kick some rocks, drink from a couple of streams, relieve yourself here and there. You're going to leave pieces of yourself along the way and move the landscape where you were.

In other words, a Journey.

One of those things where you get to step into the abyss again with your eyes closed and no idea of the next stop along the way. You can't wear your old skin, it doesn't fit anymore. That's okay, it was getting a little stretched anyway. An old way of doing gets consumed in discovering and using a new way. Life goes on, the wheel turns. You can't go back.

Change is the constant.

Posted: Tue - December 4, 2007 at 04:44 AM

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