The sound of music

I.

General axiology is not a get-rich-quick scheme. But it implies one.

That I allude at increasing frequency to its (generically!) infinite possibilities plays a structural role not in theory but in the development of theory. The secret of theory is not that truth can’t be told (this is common wisdom to all philosophical traditions), but rather that theory itself isn’t produced — it is not made to appear. On the contrary, theory operates by seduction. Like in the old joke about how statistics resemble bikinis, what theory shows can be sensational, but what it hides is the objet petit a.

That I keep saying that I don’t have a working theory of general axiology yet, and that a conspiracy is needed to produce it fulfills a triple role: (a) it’s the kind of honest disclaimer by which we allow ourselves to fail completely (b) it performs a kind of dance-of-the-seven-veils that aludes (again, in full honesty) to the structural role of seduction in how theory is performed in public and (c) it tries to seduce the reader to join the conspiracy (itself a “conspiracy-rain”, a surrender to ambient conditions of concert).

Of course, that this all has some performative content does not elude anyone used to philosophical gobbledygook. But the reader that trusts that there’s something consistent to what we’re doing may be inclined to believe that the get-rich-quick stuff [frame axioms] is an application of general axiology, when it’s actually in the stuff of general axiology. Given that no axiology is larger than general axiology, it would indeed be less inaccurate (but still bizarre) to say that general axiology is an application [frame axiom] of the get-rich-quick scheme.

The core of Hindu monism (Advaita Vedanta), at least selon Alan Watts, is that Atman is Brahman, that the jewel within the True Self is one and the same with the universal principle of expansion my intellectual friends like to worship as Reality. This is also our limiting claim: larger ethics subsumes chrematistics and is subsumed by… red balloons all the way up to general axiology.

II.

Common (small-ish, perhaps within the reach of a functional hypomanic) axiology is more or less divided in self-justified tiny, (left or right) half axiologies. The surface tension between these “micrologies” is the origin of larger axiologies: at one level economics and ethics are at odds; the next level therefore carries a (left/intensional) theory of the ethical means of valuing things by economics. But left-half axiologies are toothless; a larger axiology is stabilized by a strong (right-half) extensional means of production, such as the Law.

There’s enough material for a seminar on the origins of the Law (seen as a construct of the axiology machine) in the surface tension between left and right half-axiologies. But we want to talk instead about chrematistics, which is to say, the valuable (consonant to a suitably large axiology) means of obtaining great wealth. The subject is rarely broached in polite (theory) circles; this is partly explained by the availability of economics as a (left-half/intensive) theory where ten million bucks is worth ten times as much as a million bucks and certain works of art may be worth even more.

The overwhelming technical success of economics has made bogus squabbles (such as usury) disappear in sufficiently large axiologies, while making others blurry (which can be empirically verified at art auctions). But it didn’t explain away (1) what is great wealth and (2) how to obtain it. Marx, an early economist, saw this problem on the horizon, answering: (1) labor-time and (2) surplus value and exploitation. The technical problem with this system is that both “labor” and “time” in “labor-time” are too heterogeneous; the resulting practical problem is that this reduces the creation of value to the extraction of stockpiles of time and therefore the obtainment of wealth to its acquisition. Therefore all wealth is the exploitation of finite time, and there’s no valuable path to great wealth — no chrematistics.

(A hypothetical question: didn’t some people at least get rich doing this? Actually they didn’t do it by pure time-theft; they had to provide civilization –some large enough axiology that supports “exploitative” economics. There is a “White Man’s burden” even in rapacious oppression.)

III.

It’s probably clear by now that we have to define great wealth if we are to speak the discourse of infinity.  Several real/quable-life preconditions apply: you should already be on speaking terms with your desire  — you’re truly fucked if you’re stuck dreaming the dreams of others. You should also strive to become increasingly mindful of your Pink Panther,

What might need  insistent and progressive clarification is that the discourse of infinity is a structural affair. If we weren’t so ill-disposed towards abusing mathematical metaphor, we could suggest it’s an algebraic affair. On its apparent quable merits, general axiology is a geodesical dome, a very large yet lightweight structure that spans a surprising volume. Desire (notice singular form; not “desires”) that is structurally compatible with a suitable general axiology is in almost every aspect already fulfilled, met, extinct; general axiologies that fit our desire structure by definition make us infinite — the problem is obtaining one.

The word”chrematistics” stems from the Ancient Greek term for the art of acquiring great material wealth. That there are several small-ish chrematistics whose means for obtaining value are not valuable means has not escaped the Ancients. This is not to say that “axiologistics” has thus disappeared from the theory-making landscape; large axiologies of power and legitimacy has often interfaced with the smaller axiology of war — a form of chrematistics that is submissive to higher-goal is rediscovered there under the soubriquet of “strategy”. But increasingly (for example, in corporate boards) the “why” finds itself as  the core theme of “strategy”-making, whereby fitting strategy to ambient conditions of truth-market-war has the pseudoalgebraic structural role of fitting the desire structure to the general axiology.

A conspiracy — even if just a conspiracy to understand, to figure out if Jair is getting impeached soon or the Supreme Court will be successful in initiating the coup d’état it just announced — needs to go through the work of general axiology. And, at the risk of repeating ourselves, desire satisfaction is key to uncovering general axiologies and working forward towards the theory of generic structure.

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