Friday, November 14, 2014

Money Wisdom #308

In the last instance, representation rests on a utopian faith. Modern values are supported not by nature or reason but by nothing less than a secular theology, Theological questions may be reintroduced as soon as one places representation - that which abstracts from time - back within time. Saving time forms the essence of the modern project of emancipation. Only when one is liberated from the constraints of natural necessity that may foreshorten our life spans, and one is liberated from the constraints of social obligation that occupy our time, does one have the freedom to become what one wishes to be, The aspiration is for a condition of atheism where on is finally unconditioned by God or nature. Economic rationality depends on a symbolization of time so that a calculation can be performed that minimizes relative expenditure while maximizing control over nature through technology and maximizing control over social obligation through money. The certainty that attaches to economic rationality derives from its proofs in practice: technological invention and acquisition of wealth.  Yet the knowledge power and wealth acquired are always local and partial. Projecting a future when liberation will be complete, economic reasoning is faith seeking understanding. In this total future, abstract symbols of time will effectively represent time as open, empty, and undetermined in a glorious, heavenly future where the passage of time is no longer constrained by natural necessity or social obligation. Trust in the transcendent will vanish only when one finally attains the complete repeatability and universality required for scientific certainty, and when all knowledge is grounded on evidence. Only as such will the secular sphere be constituted, the sphere of the present age untrammeled by obligation to repeat the past or anxious expectation of the judgments of the future, where all causes are mediated to their consequence by knowledge.

Philip Goodchild Theology of Money (2009) p.53-54

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