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Awareness Capitalism is the practice of Capitalism based on Spiritual Awareness. Spiritual Awareness is a harmonic state that a self is in perfect synchronization with all that are not the self. Since a self plus all that are not the self equals to all beings, a person in Spiritual Awareness naturally pursues the benefits of all beings.
Acknowledging Capitalism, an Awareness Capitalist considers capital as the main quantified measurement of any contribution to the benefits of all.
Why Spiritual Awareness
Unconditional happiness before economic activities
The fundamental problem of economics is the unbounded desires with limited resource. Therefore, if we condition our happiness on getting some results from resource utilization, we will often feel unhappy given the resource limitation.
Spiritual Awareness, also termed Spiritual Enlightenment, is a state with unconditional happiness. In Spiritual Awareness we perfectly synchronize ourselves with all that are not ourselves, which is a state of oneness (or a non-dualistic state of consciousness). Thus, we only crave for things that are natural to the world as a whole. The world is just there, changing but always manifest novel phenomena. So in the synchronization as oneness with the world, we feel perfectly complete, self-sufficient, and playfully abundant. This is how unconditional happiness comes from. Under such oneness-synchronization, we’re first satisfied with being here and now, and then we perform economic activities with the changing world. Due to unconditional happiness before economic activities, Spiritual Awareness practitioners can reduce wastes and consumption to the minimum.
Spiritual Awareness is not an all or none state. The more we’re close to Spiritual Awareness, the less conditioning of happiness we have.
To achieve Spiritual Awareness requires meditation, mindfulness, and some intellectual training. In short, all of the methods are trainings which can sharpen our minds to be aware of the associations all our minds can observe. Also, to be aware of the shifting of those associations. In turn, we can further synchronize with what is happening in the world. Equivalent methods with different naming should also exist.
Sense of responsibility
Responsibility is a sense of autonomy. Many people are suffering in many ways. However, only if a person stop seeing himself or herself as a victim can that person improve the contribution to selves’ and others’ benefits. Otherwise, the person won’t stop demanding resource input no matter what his or her condition is. On the contrary, when a person takes responsibility for selves’ and others’ financial and emotional statuses, resource inputs can have positive effects through the active functioning of that person.
Taking responsibility doesn’t mean anyone’s fault. What we have is autonomy that we can help each other better.
Meditation and mindfulness can train our mind to maintain the sense of autonomy rather than getting lost in the mindset of being a victim. For people with more resources, meditation and mindfulness ease their fear of insufficiency and lessen their egos. After such training, they will utilize resources to benefit more people.
Distributed price system is an anti-ego quantification system
One of the most evil behaviors is to impose one’s ideal to others. What we think benevolent may be actually wastes of resources or even harmful. Thus, we have to make sure our actions are not merely self-satisfaction.
The global free market, or at least being a global semi-free market, is a distributed price system with diverse values and price preferences. By charging your clients or consumers for products or services, you know you contribute to what they want. In comparison, free products, services, and donations that are unsustainable will encourage wastes of productivity. We can’t do that. We need the price system and people with wisdom. As long as people are becoming more and more wise to judge what they really want, the capitalist markets will form a positive cycle. In the positive cycle, people contribute to each other directly or indirectly. Then, there won’t be ineffective jobs feeding our egos.
Based on such distributed price system and people with wisdom, the goal of capital accumulation of Capitalism will further optimize global benefits.
Not reinventing another peer-to-peer dynamically weighted quantification system
Whenever we want to design a peer-to-peer quantification system with peer-to-peer dynamical weighting, we have chances to get a Capitalism resemblance. That is, capital of course can be the common quantification to avoid redundancy.
Imagine you’re designing a quantification system for calculating social contributions. To keep away from any fixed or opinionated standard, you leave measurements and weights of those measurements to peer-to-peer activities.
- Let every individual or entity be able to assign a numerical addition of social contribution to others at any moment.
- Let the sum of the assignments to be the social contribution score of an individual or an entity.
- Let how much you can assign to others to be the social contribution score you have at the moment.
(This makes the weighting of your method of measurement decided by peers)
- When you assign to others any numerical addition of social contribution to others, you get an equal subtraction from your social contribution score.
See, we get a market. In this market, we “buy” when we get a service which is benevolent. Similarly, we “invest” in activities that have the potential to reach social good. After some time, the result of the “investment” will feedback to update the weighting of ourselves’ opinions on social contribution.
In conclusion, human beings have had an existing peer-to-peer system to quantify social contribution. All we have to do is attending Capitalism and transforming it.
How Spiritual Awareness Transforms Capitalism into Awareness Capitalism. Why does It Matter
Most economical happiness
Mentioned in why spiritual awareness, Spiritual Awareness is a state with unconditional happiness. Spiritual Awareness practitioners try to reduce entertainment, luxury, social status-seeking, curiosity, and any “feeling-good” consumption to a very modest degree.
Imagine a world that sightseeing, movies, delicious food, fashion, appearance competence, mansions, artworks, information, pride-seeking disguised as business needs, etc, are not necessities for our enjoyment. Imagine a world we don’t have to work excessively for unnecessary production but still earn enough. Imagine a world if we can redistribute those productivity to resolution of global poverty, global education, and environmental sustainability. In fact, we always know “feeling-good” consumptions are not necessity. We just don’t have alternatives and easily blame Capitalism as the cause of the consumption-driven economics.
Spiritual Awareness is the alternative to “feeling-good” consumption for its unconditional happiness. Unconditional happiness clears greeds and fears, so no overconsumption. The world as a whole will continue to evolve no matter how much work we do, so no excessive workload needed. Individuals are essential part of the world as a whole, so no self-sacrifice. In such state of Spiritual Awareness, we have the most economical happiness, and then we do Capitalist activities according to the the way all beings go.
Notice that entertainment, luxury, artworks, etc, are not evil. They are part of the beautiful world. We don’t need them, but we can modestly enjoy them.
Capital becomes the quantification of contribution to all beings
What is money or capital? In current common-sense, money or capital is a quantification of resources. People either utilize capital for their own good or trying to fulfill others’ needs.
People say, and have been told, they have to earn enough money in order to help the society. Feeding themselves first, and helping the society the next. Making money became a prerequisite of everything.
No. Things are much simpler. What is the nature of using money? We buy what we want. We sell what people want. The nature of markets is people helping each other. As long as we’re working and attend the labor markets, we’re helping people and the society!
Why asking capital as the return for a help? Because we have to make sure we really create positive values for people. What we think benevolent may be actually wastes of resource or even harmful. For friends or family, we can spend time on communication to know. For strangers? Both sides don’t have time, and what people values things are so different. Therefore, we need a quantified score to know if we really help. Capital should be the score to represent the net effect of the actions.
Self benefits and others’ benefits seem conflict with each other in some situations. Whereas, in Spiritual Awareness such conflict doesn’t exist for its perfect synchronization between self and all that not self. Continuing synchronizing with all beings, we naturally pursue the benefits of all, while maintain our diverse viewpoints at the same time. Seeing capital as a communication tool to understand how much we can help strangers, similar attitudes to pricing remain among market participants. Buyers still ask for lower prices, and sellers still claim higher prices. Investors still expect capital returns. However, it’s a chain of calculation for a maximum net effect for all beings. In the global Capitalist market, we form an anti-ego distributed price system. Capital then becomes the quantification of contribution to all beings.
There are some advocations like Social Enterprise and Conscious Capitalism trying to reach similar outcome on this sub topic. However, they lack of spirituality consideration. The comparison between Social Enterprise, Conscious Capitalism, and Awareness Capitalism will be put in another article.
Capital is a temporary phenomenon rather than intrinsic quality
Awareness Capitalists consider capital as the main quantification of any contribution to the benefits of all. Capital as a score does rank people to indicate how valuable they are.
However, Awareness Capitalists also practice ways to achieve Spiritual Awareness. Teachings of Spiritual Awareness recognize separation and shifting phenomena, but doesn’t identify with them. According to the teachings, Awareness Capitalists see the rank of capital as a temporary phenomenon. They won’t equalize the rank as the intrinsic quality of a person or a thing. Such intrinsic quality is not comparable nor quantifiable.
Exponential growth becomes the response-ability to impermanence
The world is always changing, and Spiritual Awareness practitioners recognize such impermanence. They try not to attach to the past nor over-react to changes. We often call this mentality as be-here-now. Rather than doing nothing, be-here-now mentality cleans useless thoughts from our mind so we can have the full potential to respond to impermanence.
An exponential function of time describes impermanence quite well. Any small number quickly turns big if its growth rate > 0. On the other hand, any big number quickly decays to zero if its growth rate < 0. A number with growth rate = 1 remains a constant, but it’s the same as decaying to zero compared with exponentially growing numbers.
Since capital becomes the quantification of contribution to all beings and impermanence should be recognized, exponential growth should be a good indicator to represent a good response to changing events. All things in the past we let them go with exponential decay. (So Awareness Capitalists support moderate inflation rate, antitrust laws, and debt relief mechanism, etc) All useless thoughts and actions of wastes, we mark them by exponential decay as well. Only those benefiting all beings, according to the latest accumulative and systematical wisdom, we accept their prices grow exponentially.
Economical exponential growth has been criticized as impossible to continue someday. Unintuitively, it can. Of course, it can’t represent the global productivity increase of hamburgers with exactly the same quality, the same ingredients, or the same social meaning. (Hamburgers here can be replaced with any service or product). It’s neither fair to say we enjoy an exponentially better life than our previous generations. Nevertheless, we can set exponential growth as a goal to maintain response-ability to impermanence, which helps us make wise decisions.
Investment on global education and sustainability over mere consumption
Mere consumption is not only a non-economical way for happiness, but also unfriendly to resource recycle. Now that Capital becomes the quantification of contribution to all beings, capital accumulation and exponential capital growth natively cover sustainability and global education because contributions to all beings should include future generations.
Moreover, investment can substitute both consumption and donation. Or you can say, If a consumption can help us grow, it’s an investment. The same, donations that result in exponential growth of benefits to the world are successful investment, which we should ask for capital returns to set our evaluation methods of social contribution a larger weight in the system. Plus, to consider impermanence, hedge, and high-risk-high-return, we rationally invest on items that could probably return nothing. Thus, investment portfolios of various Awareness Capitalists joining together should cover all people in poverty or other kinds of sufferings. At last, what we see will be investment on people with deficiencies, on global education, and on sustainability over mere consumption as well as unsustainable donations.
Replacing ego-driven Capitalism with Awareness Capitalism
Spiritual Awareness is a harmonic state that a self is in perfect synchronization, oneness, with all that are not the self. Egos, on the opposite, are conditions that drive a self away from synchronization with any that is not the self. Common appearances of egos are selfish (if self was only self, “I” and “my” family-job-people-assets-nation-religion, etc, would be the only important things), greeds (feeling insufficient because of self-boundary), shortsightedness (at least unlinking to future self), fear (sticking with self-boundary means possibility of getting hurt), violence, obsession with idealist thoughts, radical participation of any kind of spirituality, just to name a few.
It’s better to reduce any ego-driven capital for the benefits of all beings. To do so, we can sell products to match egoistic needs but charge enough money to bring capital to Awareness Capitalists. Or, we perform better as Awareness Capitalists on market competitions, where business tactics are allowed, to decrease capital ownership of ego-driven people. Yes, we don’t do it by the force of regulations. We compete with egos in the distributed price system. Through the distributed markets, we can make sure we’re not yet another self-satisfactory idealists.
It’s not your money
By the property right, yes we own the capital. However, like entrepreneurs who are responsible to investors, “it’s not your money” (you can find it in YC’s Essential Startup Advice). Spiritual Awareness even makes it less difficult. Self-centered people tend to feed capital to their egos, but Spiritual Awareness practitioners train themselves to let go of their egos. Synchronizing with the world as a whole, we know we’re only a temporary stop of capital for the benefits of all beings. Capital essentially belongs to all beings. Yes we have the money, but at the same time “it’s not our money.”
Follow Awareness Capitalism
Above is an overall systematic picture of Awareness Capitalism. Popularity of Spiritual Awareness is increasing via spreading of meditations, mindfulness, and other Asian philosophies. Capitalism may contains flaw but has succeeded. We can look forward to the great potential of the combination of Spiritual Awareness and Capitalism. So let’s take actions
- Try or continue to do meditations, mindfulness, or other similar training of Spiritual Awareness.
- Verify the experience of synchronization and oneness by yourself.
- Help people and request money as returns if whom you help are strangers.
- Invest on what benefits the world but validate your evaluation method of social contribution by capital growth rate.
Let’s become Awareness Capitalists, and practically improve your and others’ welfare.
- I ever disliked Capitalism very much. My friend Daphne Kuo (nicknamed VV) initiated my change by asking me “why isn’t Capitalism about actions of love that people collaborate with each other?”
- Yi-Han Huang (Ariel) shared with me about her idea inventing a Cryptocurrency dedicated for social welfare. From the idea I have realized capital can be the main quantification of social contributions as long as people understand there’s no real “I”. (We can have some additional indicators of social contributions, though)