Vaclav Havel has long been my literary/cultural/political hero. I remember being enthralled with Havel and the Velvet Revolution when I was a high school freshman. So I was thrilled by his adroit observations about the modern aesthetic/spiritual condition.
My favorite part of his speech accurately portrays most economists (myself excluded, of course 😉 ):
I believe that the recent financial and economic crisis was of great importance and in its ultimate essence it was actually a very edifying signal to the contemporary world.
Most economists relied directly or indirectly on the idea that the world, including human conduct, is more or less understandable, scientifically describable and hence predictable. Market economics and its entire legal framework counted on our knowing who man is and what aims he pursues, what was the logic behind the actions of banks or firms, what the shareholding public does and what one may expect from some particular individual or community.
And all of a sudden none of that applied. Irrationality leered at us from all the stock-exchange screens. And even the most fundamentalist economists, who – having intimate access to the truth – were convinced with unshakeable assurance that the invisible hand of the market knew what it was doing, had suddenly to admit that they had been taken by surprise.
Personally, I’ve never thought the of world as predictable. I have an idealistic hope that it is understandable, but, as I’ve mentioned before, the more I learn, the less sure I am of even that. I think this accurately sums it up:
It is quite possible that everything is here in order for us to have something to wonder at. And that we are here simply so that there is someone to wonder.