In the modern era, Economic Man has had his heart ripped out. He doesn’t need it anymore.
Economic Man is supposed to be a perfectly rational creature. The culture has declared God to be dead. It’s ridiculed sacrificial love and religion and faith. Devotion to family is frowned upon. Economic Man has nothing left to believe in other than production and efficiency and acquisition.
Economic Man isn’t supposed to have feelings. He certainly has no soul. He can deal only in the emotions his brain can process without having to feel. He can be angry. He can be jealous. He can covet what someone else has. He can hate.
But Economic Man is not supposed to feel deeply. He’s not supposed to feel the painful joy of true love. He’s not supposed to feel the prick of a heart that has been pierced by joyful feelings which can make him cry.
Did you even notice when the culture ripped out your heart and taught you not to feel? Did you notice when you were stripped of your humanity and turned you into a rational robot focused on production and efficiency?
Is it any wonder that life seems more and more empty to Economic Man?
We’ve torn down God and religion. Even family is a shadow of what it used to be. Family is just people who live in the same house, passing one another on their separate paths toward their own goals. There’s little striving together toward the common good.
Your value to the family is measured by the money you bring home. Nothing more.
Anybody who cares for anything beyond money and success is a sucker. Economic Man knows better. He doesn’t believe in anything other than Federal Reserve Notes. His faith is in the Almighty Dollar, that god from which all true worth flows.
The culture is increasingly nihilistic and empty and cold. We are people who are searching for meaning — or who have given up that search entirely and turned life into a hedonistic search for ever-more pleasure.
There’s nothing wrong with money or success or pleasure, but if those are your preeminent values, you will live an empty life and teach your children the same emptiness that afflicts you.
Life doesn’t have to be this way, but modern culture has taught you that there is no other way to success. There is no way to be loved and accepted other than producing more, achieving more, and accumulating more.
When is the last time you cried tears of joy which flowed from the still-beating heart which your culture doesn’t want you to acknowledge? When have you allowed yourself to follow a path which others wouldn’t understand, but which your heart knows is right for you? When is the last time you set aside financial considerations and pursued the love and acceptance which your heart ached to find?
The things which make life worth living don’t come with dollar signs attached.
When I experience the painful joy of the celestial light show known as a sunset, nobody sends me a bill — but my heart swells and hurts with the pain of pure joy.
When my dog or one of my cats is happy with the life I help them experience — when a cat purrs at my touch or when Lucy joyously runs around the back yard with me — there is no price tag attached, but my heart aches with happiness to know these small creatures are happy with what I’ve given them.
Earlier this year, when someone sent me pictures of a little girl whose face I hadn’t seen since she was a baby, it made my heart warm and joyful and it filled my eyes with tears of happiness. There was no value in such an experience to Economic Man, but it was a value which my heart understood.
You and I grew up in a technical culture which values things which humanity never thought to value until the last couple of hundred years. We grew up in a culture which taught us to be skeptical of feeling deeply and joyfully. We grew up in a culture which taught us to be obedient and rational robots obeying the directives of our programming.
I am not Economic Man.
I once thought that way. I once measured myself that way. I once had my values rooted deeply in the ideas of economic calculus. In many ways, I had lost my humanity. I had lost my heart.
I don’t reject money. I don’t reject success. I don’t reject production.
But I do reject the notion that those things are the most important things in life. I reject the idea that those things can take precedence over love, over family, over living life as a decent human being.
You have a choice to make. There is no middle ground. You can either live by the values of an economic culture or you can reclaim the values of historic humanity. You cannot have both.
On the day you’re on your deathbed, you’re not going to beg to look at the printouts of your wealth one more time. You’re not going to ask to be carried to your fancy car to be impressed one more time. You’re not going to ask everybody you know whether you have finally impressed them.
You are going to want to be loved. You are going to want to be with people who share your values. You are going to want to know that you have given every bit of love you were capable of.
Love is what will matter then. Why not throw aside the nihilistic values that your culture has taught you? Why not learn again how to be human? Why not live for love now — while you still can?