The Infinite Potential of the Human Mind

Want to know a secret? A healthy human mind is incompatible with capitalism. Let me explain.

Science tells us that the mind cannot be reduced to an activity of the brain. The mind is created and sustained in a complex dance between human beings. Cut off from social relationships, the mind loses its ability to function. Evidence for this comes from socially-deprived infants and from adults kept in isolation or subjected to sensory deprivation.

For more than 95 percent of human history, people lived in small, cooperative societies. Over the past few thousand years, our species underwent an amazing cultural evolution. Our brains did not change biologically, but how we used them did. As people pooled their experiences and accumulated knowledge from one generation to the next, their minds developed. And as their minds developed, they created new social arrangements to meet their changing needs.

Capitalism blocks this creative process. While knowledge continues to accumulate, it is not shared. And while some people are moved forward, many more are hurtled backward. The central problem for capitalism is how to create profit, not how to develop human potential. To maximize profit, capitalism must disrupt human relationships and stifle human potential.

The more we are divided and deprived, the more wealth can be generated for the people at the top. Any form of collectivism is a threat to the system, from union organizing to demands for government-funded services.

Instead of using our minds to solve our common problems, we get to decide only which section of the elite will dominate us. Instead of working together to raise our living standards, we labor to enrich the elite. Instead of protecting ourselves and each other, we fight their barbaric but profitable wars.

The human mind crumbles under such conditions. Epidemics of anger, anxiety, inter-personal conflict and deep discouragement create an ocean of human misery. Adding insult to injury, these signs of social sickness are mislabeled as “personal problems” and “mental illness.”

To preserve itself, capitalism must block the infinite potential of the human mind. And I do mean infinite. There is no limit to the number of ways that we could organize our lives and society.

The average human brain contains approximately 100 billion nerve cells or neurons. Each neuron has about 10,000 connections with its neighbors. When you consider that each of these connections can be turned on or off, the number of possible firing patterns is greater than the number of known particles in the universe. When you add the different ways that each human mind could connect with the other six billion minds on the planet…well, I think you get the picture.

Capitalism has stuck humanity in a giant historical rut and bamboozled us into thinking that this is the best we can do, that we have reached the end of our history. Not So! We have barely begun to explore our potential. However, if capitalism has its way, we never will.

We can’t let this happen. We have created capitalism, and we can change our minds and replace it with something much better.

Susan Rosenthal is a socialist, retired physician, union member, and the author of Sick and Sicker: Essays on Class, Health and Health Care (2010), and Power and Powerlessness (2006). She recently launched ReMarx Publishing. She can be reached through her web site or by email: susan@susanrosenthal.com. Read other articles by Susan.

27 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. kikz said on November 7th, 2007 at 7:40am #

    spot on essay, susan. …good luck w/your books.
    it’s very encouraging to see that individuals w/in medical establishment are speaking out on this dire issue. it is imperative that we as a nation understand the scope of this problem, its history, its direct effects on the present, and implications for our future.

    if you’ve not already read
    J.T. Gatto’s book, free/online in entirety
    “Underground History of American Edu.”
    http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/index.htm

    Gatto, a retired NYC career teacher; chronicles the institutionalized assault on empathy/reason gleaned from his experiences w/in the NY public school system.

    Gatto traces Capital’s “institutional assault by design” to its root, the robber barons/bankers “creature(s) from jekyll island” of the early industrial age.

    see chapter 8, Plato’s Guardians
    http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/8f.htm

    gatto is working on a film documentary, you may wish to approach him w/your data & research, as i feel it can only strengthen the warning we must get broadcast to “we the people”. the clock is ticking.

  2. Lloyd Rowsey said on November 7th, 2007 at 8:58am #

    You’re going to explain the “infinite potential of the human mind,” Doctor Rosenthal? With a pastiche of 1960’s The Lonely Crowd, 2000’s neurology, 2007’s Naomi Kleinism, Compassionate Medicine which pre-dates capitalism by millennia, Union Activism…and so many other bits and pieces of feel-good encouragement that my fingers tire? Isn’t it pretty to think so.

    Just for the record, multiplying (much less, raising to any power) the finite number of human neurons does not produce an infinite number. Ergo, even the human mind does not have “infinite potential.” Neurologically speaking.

    What I’d like you to explain is:

    (1) I am an isolated writer trying to contribute to preventing the end of the world. After an article you posted to this…to this magazine…blog…down-on-their-luck-writers-forum…whatever it is. Before you became this internet experience’s expert on both Naomi Klein and compassionate-organized-socialism, you put up an article in Dissident Voice titled “America in Crisis,” dated September 22, 2007. I posted a very complimentary comment on your article, which said in its entirety:

    “Dear Susan,
    What a wonderful article. I’m sixty-five and have been a communist most of my life, but I only joined Gus Hall’s outfit in….1989!
    What has been dawning on me over the last several years – as I’ve been personally experiencing the sicknesses and deaths of myself and loved ones – is what a cutting-edge issue health care truly is. “Of course!” I’ve always known there’s a reserve of radicalism among seniors, but I’d always known it intellectually, not viscerally.
    Howsoever, it’s been better than fresh air to read America in Crisis in DV. I’ve long admired physicians, for their courage and commitment to life even more than for their intelligence and compassion. In fact, my greatest heroes are Ali, Fidel, and Dr. Kervorkian. In no particular order.
    Keep up the very, very excellent work, Susan. We need you.”

    Funny thing. You didn’t reply to that posting, Susan, although you subsequently replied encouragingly, in detail and with great compassion, to subsequent posters who commented on the article. Another funny thing. I emailed you a similarly complimentary message on that date and…you didn’t reply to my email either.

    (2) After September 22, the number and frequency of your articles in Dissident Voice has apparently increased exponentially, and now you are, also apparently, DV’s go-to author on The Shock Doctrine as well as on the necessity for compassionate-organized-socialism to prevent the end of the world.

    What I’d like you to explain, Doctor Rosenthal. Or rather, what I’d like you to answer is: Did you personally decide to treat me like a non-person because I referred to myself as a “communist”? Or did Dissident Voice have a role in it?

  3. Deadbeat said on November 7th, 2007 at 9:41am #

    While I do believe that this is an interesting topic regarding capitalism retarding human potential I do take issue with the last sentence …
    We can’t let this happen. We have created capitalism, and we can change our minds and replace it with something much better.

    I don’t recall being the “we” in the creation of capitalism. In fact most of the world was NOT involved in its creation. Capitalism had to conquer other societies in to sustain and maintain itself. The other aspect of capitalism its the divide and rule. Some groups prefer capitalism because it makes them fell superior to the “have-nots”. That opiate allow only a few to “self-develop” while denying the masses.

    While Dr. Rosenthal has provide radical analysis, she should refrain from offering such LIBERAL sentimentalities. The fall short and speak only to an elite group who has the time and money to contemplate their navels. What is needed is radical and militant solutions otherwise you are just misinforming people offering up hopeless and empty rhetorical solutions.

  4. Eric Patton said on November 7th, 2007 at 9:48am #

    Lloyd, what the hell are you talking about? There are no replies from Rosenthal on the article you mention. Nor do there need to be, as far as I can tell.

    Rosenthal’s articles are terrific, as you seemed to think based on what you wrote on 9/22. Are you angry because she didn’t pat you on the back when you complimented her?

    Speaking from personal experience with DV, the way it works it this: Author writes article, author submits article, one of DV’s three editors likes article or not, if so then article gets posted. I doubt there is any contact between DV and Rosenthal beyond this. If you hate her stuff that much though, write a rebutting article. If it’s cogent, I’m pretty sure DV will run it.

    I’d like to see Rosenthal incorporate pareconish themes into her already-fine analysis, but one can’t have everything I suppose. Her stuff is still must-read.

  5. Lloyd Rowsey said on November 7th, 2007 at 10:22am #

    E. Patton. See

    http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2007/09/america-in-crisis-the-liberal-challenge-and-the-prospects-for-socialism/

    That’s what the hell I’m talking about. But you are right that Rosenthal did not reply to me there. In fact, she did not reply to any posters of comments to that article of hers. Regrettably, I was upset an hour ago and I confused two Rosenthal articles. Everything else in my comment above is quite accurate.

    No, I am not angry at Rosenthal “because she didn’t pat (me) on the back when I complimented her.” I will be angry with her is she unilaterally decided to not communicate with me because I admitted to being a communist, in my post to Dissident Voice on September 22.

    I do appreciate the information you provide from your “personal experience with DV.” And perhaps you could add to the discussion by answering, to the best of your knowledge and ability, the second of the two questions I addressed to Susan Rosenthal. “Did you personally decide to treat me like a non-person because I referred to myself as a ‘communist’? Or did Dissident Voice have a role in it?

  6. Eric Patton said on November 7th, 2007 at 10:49am #

    I looked before I posted the first time. I just looked again. I don’t see a single comment from Rosenthal. And I have no idea what you mean when you say she treated you as a “non-person.”

  7. Lloyd Rowsey said on November 7th, 2007 at 11:08am #

    Jesus,man, do you read the English language? What I just posted said. “But you are right that Rosenthal did not reply to me there ” (At her 09.22.07 article.) READ what I just posted, read my reply to you,man.

    It says that there IS NO REPLY TO MY COMMENT FROM HER at Rosenthal’s 09.22.007 article.

    Which — non-existent post — is f—ing irrelevant to the point of my first post to THIS ARTICLE. The point being, or involving, communism. Not wounded vanity. Or do you still, fail to understand that also?

    If you persist in this stupidity, Eric Patton, you’ll succeed in convincing me that YOU are an anti-communist affiliate/contributer/editor at Dissident Voice.

  8. gerald spezio said on November 7th, 2007 at 11:24am #

    Lloyd, Eric, and Deadbeat; I would suggest that Dr. Rosenthal check her epistemology, or her complete lack of any epistemology.

    She may be writing for new agers, but she sure as hell isn’t doing science or any semblance of science.

    The human species was going along just great by exercising their infinite minds and living super harmoniously, but then suddenly and very abruptly a long time ago the whole species was completely cut off and abjectly cornholed by nebulous capitalism?

    SHAZAM, the totally captivating capitalism completely took over the “minds” of the formerly happy campers.

    The “complex dance between human beings” was summarily snuffed out.

    If that wasn’t terrible enough, it got worse.
    Because; “To preserve itself, capitalism must block the infinite potential of the human mind.”
    Forever!

    The “minds” of the socially disconnected masses crumble.
    The bewildered masses become very angry, frustrated, and pissed off.
    But their anger is labeled, “mental illness.”

    A trained doctor and healer “explains” it all to the crumpled minds of the masses who decide that they are fed up with all the bamboozling from the capitalists.

    Although there are no specific operationalized instructions, the masses “change their minds” and escape the “historical rut” imposed by capitalism.
    The crumpled minds abruptly un- crumble and there is “a global mind change” just like Willis Harman said.

    This poor woman appears to be completely serious.

  9. Lloyd Rowsey said on November 7th, 2007 at 2:13pm #

    Well thanks I guess, GS. But what now? Nobody posts anything after this post, and what? None of Patton’s famous “three editors”; not Patton; not Dr Rosenthal herself; not one of them replies to my question about whether using the word “communist” in self-reference in DV is verboten.

    Will you be happy with that? Will you think that I should be?

    (By the bye, a Search of DV on “communist” yields 133 results, but I don’t have the time or inclination to start reading the references to see if any of them uses the word in self-reference to the author/authoress.)

  10. John Wilkinson said on November 7th, 2007 at 5:15pm #

    Yes, Susan, you’re a doctor — a previous responder was so ecstatic that the medical profession is seeing the light. But is it? So, why don’t we start with disassembling capitalism in your profession? How about rolling back those outrageous fees for every little thing, the double billing, the bill padding, the Medicaid/Medicare fraud. What about the unfettered monopolistic power of the American Medical Association to set prices, to limit competition, etc. What are YOU going to do about that?

    $120 syringes; $700 ob-gyn exam (that my wife had for 10 mins of a nurse’s time); $120 for a 2-min face to face with a medical trainee; drugs that are 3 times more expensive than in Canada (and 10 times more than in some European countries) (and getting drugs from Canada is illegal, because, guess what, they may be unsafe, and they — you, are “concerned” about our health (as opposed to your pockets); a new eye exam needed for each brand of contact lens prescription, even though all contact lens brands use the same exact measurements. Six thousand dollars for a piece of wire to hold your teeth together. Several hundred dollars for eyeglasses (another piece of wire). $250 for a sonogram that costs $20 in Europe. Etc., etc., etc., these are just some recent examples from my experience.

    It is hard to build a new society when your basic needs — health, are not met.

  11. Eric Patton said on November 7th, 2007 at 9:34pm #

    Lloyd, if you consider yourself a Communist, that’s fine. It’s not a label I would affix to myself, but if it makes you happy, more power to you.

    I don’t know the DV editors personally. But my guess is that, if you wrote a piece on something-or-other, and you mentioned your Communist sympathies in the piece, that as long as the piece were cogent, they’d run it. Put another way, I doubt DV would care how you described yourself, as long as the piece had something to say, said it decently, and was at least somewhat leftish.

    I don’t see why you need a personal response from Rosenthal on anything you’ve written though. However, speaking from my own plethora of bridge-burning experiences, I can say that you’re more likely to get a response from her (or anyone) with a polite tone. Emulating my own poor past behaviors is not your best move; for God’s sake be better than me.

  12. Mike McNiven said on November 8th, 2007 at 1:06am #

    Happy anniversary of the Russian Revolution!

  13. Susan Rosenthal said on November 8th, 2007 at 5:27am #

    LLoyd,
    I apologize for the delay in responding — I was working all day yesterday.
    I don’t understand your attack, because I replied to both of your prior comments, but not in the comments page of DV.
    I emailed you personally to thank you for your ecouraging words.
    I will forward these emails to you again, as a reminder.
    If I erred in corrresponding with you personally instead of publicly, then I apologize.
    As for my politics, they are clear in my book and all of my writings. I am a classical marxist and an unapologetic advocate for workers’ control over production and society.

    Deadbeat,
    When I say “we” create capitalism, I am referring to the fact that all social arrangements are human creations. Everyday, the living generation reproduces the social system. Understanding this is essential to understand the power that we have to change society.

    Eric,
    Thank you for your support. I address PARECON in my book, POWER and Powerlessness (pp.191-192).

    Gerald,
    You make the mistake of fetishizing capitalism, treating it like an alien entity, outside the realm of human experience, that descended upon an unwitting species in a magical way (SHAZAM). This is nonsense. All human societies are created by human beings, whether or not those who create them are conscious of doing so or not.

    John,
    You are aboslutely right! We need to build a new society BECAUSE people’s basic needs are not being met.

  14. Lloyd Rowsey said on November 8th, 2007 at 6:31am #

    Thanks, Susan. I would appreciate your forwarding your emails again to my hotmail address. About 09.30.007, I renewed my old hotmail account and got a new one (SHAZAM!); I’ve been trying to figure out which features I do or do not have ever since, and I strongly suspect the two emails to which you refer are somewhere in my mail system, somewhere…..

    I think this clears us up otherwise. I intend to buy your book and read (on) it; I seem to be incapable of reading much of anything these days, and I’m dead set on finishing The Shock Doctrine. When I first started posting comments at DV, I included my email address and saved copies of the posts along with the names and dates of the articles they commented upon; but I discontinued both practices six weeks ago or more. I look forward very much to reading your emails to my hotmail address.

    Thank you for your perceptive comment. Deadbeat. I became engrossed in my exchange, of email posts to this article, with Gerald Spezio — who speaks for himself early and often — and I didn’t get a chance to express my concurrence with you. Regarding Gerald, Susan, it’s easy to mistake his irony for his straight, especially if you haven’t browsed the comments to a lot of articles at Dissident Voice; and he is anything but simplistic.

    Eric I appreciate your understanding. I am basically a frustrated poet, not an essayist. I also write vignettes which are not even the length of short stories; or, I should say, I’ve written two vignettes. I assure you I’ve read and thought about the long, the short, and the in-between-length articles put up at Dissident Voice; and I can’t find myself in them. I also assure you that I know honey draws better than vinegar. I’m working on my rage, I know it’s done little for me in my life, but these are days of rage…you know? I also do not think labels are important, which brings us back to where I came in. Dissident Voice of all places should not be averse to printing articles by writers which contain confessions of communist inclinations, or past CP membership. But to repeat assertions I’ve made in prior posted comments at DV: I am a Cuba communist, and I understand that communism as a social system is immeasurably older than capitalism, which really got started only in the 14th century. Regarding saying things “decently” and “somewhat leftish”? I refer you to Arthur Silber’s most recent writings. And regarding Susan’s comment to you, I was wondering what PARECON meant.

    John, you are absolutely right!!

    And Yo, Mike!! Thus closes Eric Hobsbawm’s short century. And commences the long, long one each and every one of us must be thankful for, every moment.

  15. Susan Rosenthal said on November 8th, 2007 at 11:19am #

    LLoyd,
    Your fit of rage in response to feeling disregarded illustrates what I am saying in this article.
    Instead of understanding our emotional pain as a social problem that affects most people, we blame and attack one another (and we ALL do this from time to time, including me).
    This is how capitalism’s divide-and-rule strategy extends into the personal dimension.
    When we can’t get to the elite who are actually responsible for our pain, we direct our rage against those we can reach.

    If we are to build a sane and sharing society, we must learn to give each other the benefit of the doubt.
    It’s a mistake to assume that if we feel bad it must be the fault of the individuals around us.
    Most people are struggling to stay afloat emotionally, whether they show it or not.
    The urgent need is to build solidarity, and that means understanding that we are not alone, however alone we may feel.

  16. Lloyd Rowsey said on November 8th, 2007 at 12:54pm #

    I hope this diagnosis is not a substitute for your forwarding me the emails you said you would, doctor.

    For one, last time, I was not having a fit of rage. From the evidence available, I concluded it was very likely that you and/or DV were intentionally ignoring me because of my having said I was a communist; and I concluded that that had important implications not only for myself but for a great many others.

    In fact you really know very little about me, Doctor Rosenthal. And if you make medical diagnoses with as little to go on as you have diagnosed my recent communications as a “fit of rage,” I would find it extremely distressing to be your patient.

  17. kikz said on November 8th, 2007 at 12:59pm #

    @j. wilkinson “Yes, Susan, you’re a doctor — a previous responder was so ecstatic that the medical profession is seeing the light. But is it?”
    tsk tsk tsk……
    what i said was, i was encouraged that “individuals w/in the medical community” not the medical community itself….yadax3.

    the medical community (including big pharma) along with education community, are only runners up in this great game, this beauty contest for the soul/mind of man.

    the big mama, the winner of course wears the tiara. the church, organized religion.

    but the medical community does receive a congeniality sash for her efforts. j.wilkinson… i have also lived what you have written, and was “farmed” by a gyno for almost a decade.

    my initial comments to the dr were hopefully delivered w/subtlety as… in these dark days of our country, i try to shield any small light from being extinguished…i hate to drop a huge brain bomb on the unsuspecting, i’d rather skip a stone thru someone’s consciousness than a WMD. if i had wished to, i’d of suggested “zeitgeist”.
    but that doesn’t tell it all either.
    i didn’t mention what i considered to be a grave error in her tracing the large hairy monster to capital’s door. in that she is correct, but it is not the prime external source of our present ills, as i see it.

    gerald, in his eloquence alluded to this, in admonishing the dr for her “lack of epistemology” inre institutionalized mindlock) declaring capitalism as it’s “SHAZAM!” begining.

    organized religion has a 2000+year head start on capitalism, as the “big mutha” .

    eyeroll…………..

  18. Susan Rosenthal said on November 8th, 2007 at 5:10pm #

    LLoyd,
    It is important that everyone be held to the same standard.
    If you demand that others be accountable, then you must be accountable too.

    As I see it, you owe me an apology, actually, several of them.
    First for being angry that I did not respond to your comments, when I am under no obligation to do so (even though I did).
    Second, for accusing me of being an anti-communist, when you had no evidence that this was so.
    Third, for not admitting your mistake, when your accusation proved to be false.
    If you prefer to attack than apologize, then I cannot take you seriously and this conversation is over.

  19. Lloyd Rowsey said on November 10th, 2007 at 7:16pm #

    Susan.
    In my opinion, we need to be attuned to subtleties. You accused me of having a “fit of rage.” (“Your fit of rage in response to…”- from your second post). Not just “being angry.” (“You owe me an apology for being angry…”- from your third and last post). I admit that my anger lacked the restrained sarcasm of many of the other posts to Dissident Voice articles. I do not admit that it was very different from the anger widely expressed by other posters, and I will not apologize for something I did not do. Ie, I did not have a fit of rage.
    Similarly, and whatever your reaction was to my initial, admittedly angry post addressed to you, I became much angrier when Eric Patton interceded with “Lloyd, what the hell are you talking about?” I say similarly, not just because that query fits your description of having a fit of anger better than my previous post to you did, but because you seem to be demanding I apologize for my rage/anger again. To Eric Patton.
    Eric bowed out of the exchange writing about not pissing people off if you seek their approval (at least that’s how I read them, but that’s for Eric to say). Then there was an interceding post from Mike McNiven wishing us a A Happy Russian Revolution. And I want to interject here that sprinkled among all the posts after my first one to you and ending with Mike McNiven’s, there were posts which I read and appreciated and enjoyed. Then a few hours later you posted a kind and forthcoming note to me and to four others, including Eric, which in fact apologized to me twice. I answered you quickly and did not apologize at all; in what now reads to me as “breezy.” You took that as a rebuff and accused me of “having a fit of rage in response to feeling disregarded…,” then you went on to place my rage in a sociological perspective.
    At this point, I suppose my response to you was supposed to be an apology, too, but instead I wrote the post beginning, “I hope this diagnosis is not a substitute for your forwarding me the emails you said you would, doctor.” This email mentioned the word “communist” for the first time, in your and my exchange of emails, since my first email to you; asserted that my concern in regard thereto was more than a personal matter; pointed out that in fact you know very little about me; and also contained no apology.
    Then came your “sign off” ultimatum post. The basis for your second demand that I apologize to you (after the apology-for-having-a-fit-of-rage/being-angry one) is that I accused you of being an anti-communist without any evidence. Susan, I did not accuse you being an anti-communist. I asked you if you had failed to reply to me because I had admitted being a communist. In fact, I cannot find those emails you sent me. I have never seen them. The only evidence I have about your feelings about communism or anything else consists of your articles in DV and the posts to which we both have access at DV. Plus your excellent article last July in Counterpunch. (I was trying to be “gallant” by accepting responsibility for not finding your emails earlier, fully expecting you to email them to me.) If you are afraid of me personally, please feel free to post the emails to Dissident Voice in your reply, if you reply, to this posting.
    Or to hell with it. You may feel that the “rage” in my initial response is only explicable by feelings of rejection. Or you may feel this entire post is an example of not being attuned to subtleties. I actually do have a life, a very busy life trying to effect change in America. By contributing money to groups and persons I consider in the vanguard, namely BAR and IVAW and Arthur Silber. And by writing, of all things. But I’m truly exhausted with trying to write this post coherently, much less with trying to imagine the objections you have to it.

  20. Lloyd Rowsey said on November 10th, 2007 at 7:29pm #

    Dammit. “At this point…..This POST mentioned the word “communist”….in your and my exchange of POSTS, since my first POST to you; asserted….”

  21. Wingnut said on November 11th, 2007 at 11:29am #

    A bit self-absorbed, Lloyd? Did you expect someone to be shocked over your self-proclaimation of being commie? “I, I, I, I, I”, could you you you you you have any more of an inferiority complex? Yikes! Commune is the base word for communion, community, and commune, so there are LOTS of pro-community folks around here, as best I can tell. Capitalism’s attrocious pyramid scheme structure (see backside of USA one dollar bill for pyramid scheme symbol) is what’s being discussed here. Gramma told the capitalists NOT TO stack the children into farmyard pyramids of inequality, because the children on the bottom ALWAYS GET HURT! Some didn’t listen… and the ones who DO know the immorality of stacking children into pyramids… are powerless and unheard, just as Susan states in her piece.

    Susan, I don’t know much about you, but what you said in this article… is right on the nose. Capitalism is infested with servitude, and its easy to see with the massive use of the term “order” within capitalism. When someone “orders” a burger, it sends forced-to-be-there slavecorp folks into action, OR ELSE! That’s felony extortion. It is illegal to force folks to join the Free Marketeers church of competing. I suggest competer’s take a look at the opposite… cooperating/Christianity/altruism.

    Pay-up or lose-your-wellbeing is Chicago mob-brand extortion, but Elliot Ness isn’t here to bust THIS mob. The Great Pyramids are out in the sandbox for a reason… and that’s to remind us all… that WE WILL have a tendency to stack the children into pyramids of empowerment on THIS planet. That’s my feeble 2-cents worth.

    Wingnut
    Anti-Capitalismist/Real Christian/Commun’ist
    MaStars – Mothers Against Stuff That Ain’t Right
    Bessemer MI USA

  22. Lloyd Rowsey said on November 11th, 2007 at 2:49pm #

    Well, Wingnut, I do use my own name with my emails and with everything I post. That is, you get ME when you Google to my personal name or to my email name, and the names are the same name (except for the email moniker being conflated); and I have never used other names on the interent. Is that an inferiority complex, or is that being a bit self-absorbed? (Or do you consider having an inferiority complex to be equivalent somehow to being self-absorbed?) Moreover, I too have found, in your words, “LOTS of pro-community folks around here,” but have yet to identify one who is a self-proclaimed communist. Notice that I just used the word “I” four times in five sentences. You use the word much less frequently in your post, but mightn’t that impersonal style of yours itself be the style of anonymously left communitarians, still fearful that using the word “communist” will adversely impact, if you will, progressive goals in America? Or do you think this is all just a matter of style, and I simply ought to start writing in the passive voice more?

    Howsoever, Wingnut, my feeble 2-cents worth is that you certainly make valid points regarding the other issues you raised. Thank you.

    Lloyd Rowsey

  23. Dave Patterson said on November 12th, 2007 at 2:18am #

    Dear Susan et al, I concur entirely, an extremely good article – there seem to be too few people willing to stand up and just speak that simple truth – the root of our problems today is that we have let this god called capitalism take over our society, and be ruled by its various high priests. It is a very, very bad path we are on, and if we don’t get off it soon, there’s not going to be much left of either human society or the planet. I just finished a book in which I talk more about this, getting into causes a bit more specifically, called ‘They’re Building a Box – and You’re In It’ – which can be found at
    http://www.rudemacedon.ca/dlp/box/box-intro.html should anyone be interested.

  24. Kevin Cornwall said on December 20th, 2007 at 7:14pm #

    My comments in astericks follow quotes from the article.

    Want to know a secret? A healthy human mind is incompatible with capitalism. Let me explain.

    *This is not borne out by any evidence. The existence of plenty of healthy minds around which falsify this statement.*

    Science tells us that the mind cannot be reduced to an activity of the brain. The mind is created and sustained in a complex dance between human beings. Cut off from social relationships, the mind loses its ability to function. Evidence for this comes from socially-deprived infants and from adults kept in isolation or subjected to sensory deprivation.

    *The mind is absolutely the activity of the brain. The social needs of the brain (like glucose) are part of it’s healthy activity.*

    For more than 95 percent of human history, people lived in small, cooperative societies. Over the past few thousand years, our species underwent an amazing cultural evolution. Our brains did not change biologically, but how we used them did. As people pooled their experiences and accumulated knowledge from one generation to the next, their minds developed. And as their minds developed, they created new social arrangements to meet their changing needs.

    *There is nothing new about how we use our brains or how we view ourselves or structure our thoughts (mind, if you will) from culture to culture – only the content differs.*

    Capitalism blocks this creative process.

    *Huh? You just said we created capitalism to meet changing needs. It is arguably evidence of the creative process “minds” wanted. Moreover, in terms of creativity, capitalism allows people to diverge more than in a traditional society where roles are iron-clad. By definition, divergent lifestyles are lived in more isolated units.*

    While knowledge continues to accumulate, it is not shared.

    *Knowledge has rarely been shared. It has always been kept in reserve and only made available to a hierarchy of initiates.*

    And while some people are moved forward, many more are hurtled backward. The central problem for capitalism is how to create profit, not how to develop human potential. To maximize profit, capitalism must disrupt human relationships and stifle human potential.

    *True for profit, false for society. Society has never been about human potential. It’s a luxury exclusively available to aristocracy or an emergent bourgeois class.*

    The more we are divided and deprived, the more wealth can be generated for the people at the top. Any form of collectivism is a threat to the system, from union organizing to demands for government-funded services.

    *Truisms, but how is this related to the topic of human potential? The next paragraph doesn’t make the connection.*

    Instead of using our minds to solve our common problems, we get to decide only which section of the elite will dominate us.

    *In traditional societies, people didn’t even get to decide that much Still, people in any society have never been interested in solving common problems. However, they will unite with others to solve their own problems if the benefits of doing so out-weigh the perceived costs of not doing so. People are very common sense, you know. Don’t have a long-term view, particularly not any beyond their personal community (how we evolved remember). Yet, under capitalism, for those in power and the otherwise educated, it has become an option.*

    Instead of working together to raise our living standards, we labor to enrich the elite. Instead of protecting ourselves and each other, we fight their barbaric but profitable wars.

    *Nothing historically new here with the arrival of capitalism.*

    The human mind crumbles under such conditions. Epidemics of anger, anxiety, inter-personal conflict and deep discouragement create an ocean of human misery. Adding insult to injury, these signs of social sickness are mislabeled as “personal problems” and “mental illness.”

    *Now you’re saying that not only minds can’t develop, but that they actually regress? Ever visit a poor country, the exploited working class don’t suffer any of these miseries – not unless they find themselves out-of-of-context of the prevailing world view which is pretty rare (remember: no dissidents allowed in traditional societies). In all societies, social failing is labeled as “sin”. Not new. Obviously, in capitalist, societies, the option to individuate and the acquisitiveness that supports it must come at the expense of community. Trade-offs.*

    To preserve itself, capitalism must block the infinite potential of the human mind.

    *So general relativity, atomic physics, biology, micro-biology, chemistry (name your science here), mechanization, universal plumbing, electronics, education, communications, medicine, pensions, welfare, (name your science here)… you would identify as the result of how capitalism blocked human minds? *

    And I do mean infinite. There is no limit to the number of ways that we could organize our lives and society.
    *So…*

    The average human brain contains approximately 100 billion nerve cells or neurons. Each neuron has about 10,000 connections with its neighbors. When you consider that each of these connections can be turned on or off, the number of possible firing patterns is greater than the number of known particles in the universe. When you add the different ways that each human mind could connect with the other six billion minds on the planet…well, I think you get the picture.

    *Yes, everyone has always had this picture, in every society. It comes down to a matter of time and thus prioritization. No one wants to personally track more than about a handful of other people. That is the way it has always been. It’s also the reason hierarchies and delegating responsibility developed. From government to military to business that is the way it has always been for people – regardless the numbers involved (the hierarchy just gets deeper and so less accountable).*

    Capitalism has stuck humanity in a giant historical rut and bamboozled us into thinking that this is the best we can do, that we have reached the end of our history. Not So! We have barely begun to explore our potential. However, if capitalism has its way, we never will.

    *Actually, capitalism is one way that people have come up with for exploring their potential. Like any other “product” it will give way to a better model. Try offering one and see if anyone chooses it. (Myself, in the 70’s I worked on alternative communities – not what people wanted. No, matter how grand the vision, they never lasted as the very people who created them soon began to choose maximizing their individual options – especially, once they had kids, the reproductive and economic ones. Asta la vista, commune.)*

    We can’t let this happen. We have created capitalism, and we can change our minds and replace it with something much better.

    *Huh? It’s a fait accompli And what’s better, Susan?*

  25. Susan Rosenthal said on December 21st, 2007 at 5:51pm #

    Kevin,
    No one article can address all issues.
    I discuss the alternative to capitalism in my book, POWER and Powerlessness.
    You can find it at http://www.powerandpowerlessness.com

  26. Lloyd Rowsey said on June 27th, 2008 at 6:26am #

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    Cuba approves, makes available lung cancer treatment

    Cuban scientists said on Tuesday the first vaccine to extend lives of lung cancer patients has been approved by Cuban authorities for use and is available in the island’s hospitals. The drug, CimaVax EGF, has been shown to increase survival rates on average four to five months and much longer in some patients, they said in a news conference at Cuba’s Center of Molecular Immunology. In contrast to chemotherapy, the traditional treatment for lung cancer, they said CimaVax EGF has few side effects because it is a modified protein that attacks only cancer cells.

  27. Michael Davis said on December 22nd, 2008 at 2:46pm #

    I strongly disagree. Instead of thinking of capitalism as a profit mongering machine think of it as a tool that drives creativity and outfits the have nots with an avenue to compete against the elitists using nothing but imagination. look at mark cuban, russell simmons, peter jennings. we all step into the world outside and are subject to the same risks and possibilities of positive and negative outcome, however it’s our own ego that steps in the way of successfully obtaining homeostasic society. this will always be the case when we stop taking responsibility for our own role int the machine and blame the machine. ignoring the fact that it could be operator error. never underestimate that the world outside and the society are attempting to prolong its survival by only allowing the fittest to survive. we all know this whether we admit it or not the facts are quite obvious.