“AN INSIDIOUS IDOL”
Meister Eckart wrote this piece, which you may find captures the ills of modern capitalism, and an idolisation of money.
Many people today point to modern capitalism as the source of all our present societal problems, and it is no doubt connected.
But Eckart wrote this poem in the 1200s or 1300s: long before the term capitalism was even coined; long before Bezos, Reagan, Friedman, Rockefeller, Austrian Economics, the Founding Fathers, the first Limited Liability Corporation, the Atlantic Slave Trade, The Conquistadors, or even economics as a field of study.
What then was it that Eckart was referring to, which clearly continues to this day? What is its source? Where does it emerge from?
We cannot correct what we have no correctly defined.
AN INSIDIOUS IDOLMeister Eckart (1260-1328)
“Commerce is supported by keeping the individual at odds with himself and others, by making us want more than we need, and offering credit to buy what refined senses do not want.
The masses become shackled; I see how their eyes weep and are desperate — of course they feel desperate — for something, for some remedy that a poor soul then feels needs to be bought.
I find nothing more offensive than a god who could condemn human instincts in us that time in all its wonder have made perfect.
I find nothing more destructive to the well-being of life than to support a god that makes you feel unworthy and in debt to it.
I imagine erecting churches to such a strange god will assure endless wars that commerce loves.
A god that could frighten is not a god — but an insidious idol and a weapon in the hands of the insane.
A god who talks of sin is worshipped by the infirm;
I was once spiritually infirm — we all pass through that — but one day the intelligence in my soul cured that.”
Meister Eckhart ( 1260-1328 )