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On Capitalism, Democracy, Economists, Politicians, Citizens, and Me
Mark A. Goldman         June 29, 2014                        


I'm not going to describe capitalism for you.  You can, if you wish, review the accumulated works of Adam Smith, Ludwig von Mises, Milton Friedman, Karl Marx, John Kenneth Galbraith, and/or many other economists you may or may not have heard of.  They all have something to say.  If you want to know what they have to say the internet is a good place to start.

But what I'm going to tell you now is what I think is the most important thing for you to know about capitalism or any economic system: A lot of people are critical of capitalism.  Practically no one is critical of democracy.  What I want you to know is that nowhere on the planet today is capitalism practiced.  And, as far as I can tell, nowhere on the planet is democracy practiced either, at least not as it is theoretically postulated.  If capitalism and democracy were practiced as conceived, we wouldn't experience all the war, poverty, misallocation of resources, ecological destruction, and other atrocities that we find so prevalent today.

Capitalism is an economic system, democracy is a political system.  To the extent that a critical mass of ordinary citizens are not ethical, responsible, and brave, the economic and political systems under which they live will never work as theoretically imagined.  It's as simple as that.  Capitalism does not theoretically postulate or consider that people who are successful in business will use the profits they earn to bribe elected officials or promote attitudes in the media designed to increase economic activity at the expense of ecological sustainability or basic human rights.  It does not postulate that corporations will increase their profits by offloading their production waste into public waterways or the atmosphere.  A working democracy would invent appropriate rules that would dictate what political parties and corporations can and cannot do to sustainably protect the rights and interests of people everywhere.  The success of any system, political or economic, depends on all participants valuing truth, honor, dignity, compassion, courage and love.  Wherever there is a lack of integrity, wisdom, honor, or a lack of transparency, there's a pretty good chance that some people will try to use that void in human consciousness to corrupt those systems for personal gain, often with severe consequences for the planet and its people.

As a people--all people--we are facing unprecedented problems right now, including not just economic collapse but the possible extinction of the human species.  We have all the answers we need to solve these problems.  By "we," I mean the sum total of humanity's accumulated scientific and social understanding and wisdom.  What is keeping us from achieving universal peace, justice, happiness, and well-being is identifiable and quantifiable.  So what's keeping us from achieving our full potential?  We are steeped in myth, caught up in pain, resentment, frustration, greed, anger, ignorance, stubbornness, and failure all being expressed as resistance to aligning ourselves with humanity's accumulated wisdom.

I think I might be able to offer some assistance if you're interested.

God introduced himself to me somewhere around 1980 and has been my teacher and mentor ever since.  By introduced, I mean He spoke to me.  I heard his voice.  He spoke to me for perhaps two minutes.  In that time, what he said to me reduced me to a puddle of tears.  He said he loved me.  I had been a participant in various consciousness raising groups and He told me that I didn't need to do that anymore. And He then said the only thing He wanted for me (and that is the only thing He ever asked of me), He said He wanted me to be happy.

Over time I told a few people about it, but I didn't tell them everything.  I also alluded to it in some of my writings.  I don't remember anyone really being interested in knowing more about it.  I assume they all thought it was some kind of illusion, para-normal experience, or fantasy of mine.  Maybe a touch of insanity.  No one really ever told me what they thought about it.  They just never seemed to be that interested.  Frankly, that surprised me.  Well, now that I think about it, when it happened I tried not to make anything of it either even though it was the most profound moment of my life.  I put it out of my mind.  At least for awhile.

In fact, not long after God spoke to me, I went to another consciousness raising group and spent a good deal of time there.  And as for being happy.  Well, I can't say that I really know what that means.  I know what it feels like not to be happy.  When I look at other people, some seem happier than I am.  I would like to honor God's request, but to tell the truth, I'm not sure how.

That wasn't the last I heard from God.  God taught me this much:  that if God wants to prove to you that He exists He is smart enough to do that no matter how much of a skeptic you are.  And for me that two minutes was not enough. I later experienced things I cannot describe.   I know now that God is not some mythical creature that made Himself known to a few people two to five thousand years ago, referenced it in a book, and then decided to retire.  You would think that just knowing that would be enough to make me quite happy.  Sometimes I'm a bit ashamed that it didn't. Maybe I really am happy and this is what happiness is.  On the other hand, I think if I were really happy I would know it for sure.

At the time this first experience happened I was firmly an agnostic.  I had spent a good part of my teen years reading everything I could on the subject to see if I could prove to myself that God either did or did not exist.  I finally came to the conclusion that there was no way I was ever going to be able to prove the existence or non-existence of God and that the only honest thing I could say is that "I just don't know."  I decided that whether or not one believes in God was simply a matter of faith.  I wasn't into faith.

It's been over thirty years now and I experience God being with me every moment of every day.  I read somewhere that Jesus once said, "God is closer to you than your own breath."  That's how I experience God.  Closer to me than my own breath.  In some ways, more real to me than anything else.

I'm pretty sure that my life looks a lot like, and in many ways feels a lot like, yours.  I am as imperfect as anyone else.  I have had some successes as well as significant failures and defeats over the years.  God believes in freedom.  He never asked me to do anything or be anything except happy.  He allowed me to learn just like anyone else and I found that it is not possible to learn without making "mistakes."  Why?  Because when we approach or confront new situations in life we are forced to make choices about what we're going to do in spite of our relative ignorance and limited experience.  When we act on insufficient information we are bound to make "mistakes" or "fail" at what we were trying to do.  Learning is often a process of trial and error.  In that sense, there are no mistakes.  There's the process of learning and we only call part of that process "mistakes" because the process is not always pleasant.

To know something is not the same thing as to believe something.  Personal experience can sometimes distinguish between the two.  Unfortunately personal experience sometimes leads us to hold and affirm beliefs that are not universally true and it takes new experience to make the correction.

My experience over these last 30 years has often looked like a series of disillusionments, one after another... each one erasing some myth or false belief I had accepted earlier in my life.  One by one a great many  illusions or misperceptions dissolved away, sometimes accompanied by sadness, other times with deep gratitude.

The important news that I have for you is simply that God is real and not a myth.  I've said that in my writing numerous times.  I know what I'm talking about.  My experience is not your experience and I can't  prove anything I tell you.  But I think the truth, when examined closely, makes a lot more sense than the myths and illusions most people carry with them throughout their entire lives even though the truth is more powerful than lies and illusions.  I'm no longer interested in holding onto pleasant illusions steeped in naïveté in order to avoid uncomfortable truths that help me understand what's really going on.

I have failed and quit so many times I can't remember or count them.  But then again, I eventually always picked myself up and tried again.  And that's what I'm doing right here right now.  Whenever I fell and thought I couldn't get up, there was someone or something there that helped me get up.  I am not alone and neither are you.  I've never been sure that God wanted me to say in public anything about my relationship with Him.  I was prepared to die without saying anything more about it.  But recently, when I contemplate the state of the world as I see it, it occurred to me that perhaps it would unfair for me to take what I know to the grave.  And so I decided to try one more time. What I never told anyone before is that when God spoke to me, the first thing He said was, "You are my beloved son.  I made the moon and stars for you."  He said a lot of other things too, most of which I can't even remember.

Please.  I do not think of myself as a reincarnation of Jesus.  I believe that we are all children of God.  In fact, we are all one with one another each expressing humanity in a unique form and expression.  Maybe those are the words that God said to Jesus too.  And if Jesus told others, I think there were assumptions made that led to a misunderstanding.

When I think of where I once was and what I believed, it's kind of amazing to contemplate the journey I've been on.  I used to think that I was an enlightened being.  I didn't realize that just around the corner there was always going to be a deeper understanding that was even more real and more profound than what I already thought was real and profound.  I now believe that there will always be more for me to understand and therefore more change, more enlightenment, deeper understanding to come.  I think there is such a thing as enlightenment, but it's also a never ending process.  I'm not sure even God knows everything.  He believes in freedom and so He will let each of us make our own choices and live with the consequences in order to learn.  I don't think He judges us.  He loves us.  I'm not sure He already knows what we're going to do next.  I know I don't.  I've often been surprised at what some people do and also what some people do not do.  Maybe He is surprised that I am doing this.

I am not who I once was, at least in terms of what I believed or thought was true.  The core of who I am is the same, but for the most part that's probably the only thing that hasn't changed.  Anyway, for what it's worth, I've written quite a bit over time, some of it quite mundane, some not so mundane.  I'm not sure everything I wrote is the ultimate truth, but I'm sure God helped me write it.  Sometimes I think He allows me to take paths that end up as dead ends just to teach me a lesson.  For the most part, I am happy with most of what I wrote and I don't think God believes He wasted His time with me.  I hope I haven't wasted your time either.  I love you.


"...and if you haven't the courage to tell the truth, or the consciousness to honor the truth, or the love to love the truth, then one day you will not have the truth to tell, and soon thereafter you will not live in a place that will acknowledge the truth when it is told, and not long after that the truth will not be told, for it will no longer be allowed.  You cannot hope to be a traitor to life, and then expect to live in a free and just society."

From "The Answer"
By Mark A. Goldman

“Liberty lies in the hearts and minds of men and women;
when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it;
 no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it…

                                                      —Judge Learned Hand

The Thrive Movement Movie
(perhaps a good summary of how things work)

 Starting Over - A book by Mark A. Goldman
Download Free as a PDF file.

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