Who is your shepherd? (select only one)
1. Adam Smith
2. The Lord
3. I am.
Where is fairness manifested? (select as many as apply)
1. The free market
2. In higher primates
3. The clan
The Lord Is My Shepherd (Norman Costa)
by STUART KAUFFMAN
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. --Psalm 23
"The exquisite 23rd Psalm is one expression of what philosopher Karl Jasper called "The Axial Age." This period from about 800 BCE to 200 BCE is when, in China, India, Persia, Greece and among the Jews in Exile in Babylonia, civilizations seem to have gathered themselves up and found new expression through Lao Tzu, Buddha, Zarathustra, Plato, Socrates and the writing down of the Old Testament. It was a period of revision some 5,000 years after agriculture led to the beginnings of property rights and the creation of greater accumulated wealth. Civilizations arose in China, the Indus valley, the confluence of the Tigres and Euphrates, the Nile Valley and Abraham gave birth to three great monothestic religions.
"The Axial Age is said to have focused attention on the individual, witnessed in David's Psalm above, a paeon to the relation between the Lord and an individual. Emphasis on the individual is a cornerstone of our United States Constitution and Adam Smith in the Scottish Enlightenment, setting the foundations of modern economics with his famous "invisible hand," where each acting for his or her own purely selfish interests unwittingly, through the invisible hand of the market, achieves the benefit of all.
"Now, 2,500 years after the Axial Age, we have learned much that may be of use as we face what historian Thomas Cahill called a "hinge of history." Our many civilizations around the globe are being woven together as never before in history. We will partially shape what we become.
"I write to raise a large question: Do we need to examine our Axial Age anew? I think we do."
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Stuart Kauffman is an experimental and theoretical biologist.
Kauffman has written about three hundred articles and four books: The Origins of Order (1993), At Home in the Universe (1995) and Investigations (2000), published by Oxford University Press. Most recently he published Reinventing the Sacred (2008), Basic Books.
Kauffman is well known for arguing, in Origins of Order and At Home in the Universe, that self organization, as well as Darwin's natural selection, are twin sources of order in biology. Thus we must rethink the becoming of the biosphere.
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