LXXXVI (Re-leituras) - A Treatise of Human Nature, by David Hume - comments by André Bandeira
Today it is the 300th birthday of David Hume, the scottish philosopher who is probably behind Adam Smith and, therefore, who stands in the very foundations of the, so far, greatest myth of the twenty-first century: universal capitalism. Both Adam Smith and David Hume, if they were read properly, they would probably make the supporters of that myth feel sick. Neither Adam Smith nor David Hume believed that science was dictated by facts. Adam Smith wrote extensively on Astronomy, just to conclude that, even in Astronomy, everything was nothing but a construction of the human mind. So did Hume, on his subtile idea that there should be a pre-defined harmony between the constructions of the mind and the world of facts, having been said that the mind was mostly a complex of passions. The world of passions was the only thing sure to be described if there was any order to describe thereon. This leads me to state that globalization -- the mediatic name for universal capitalism, or for Fukuyama's End of History --was one of the most virulent tricks which was ever played on the western mind. Capitalism has been cultivated, not as societal and historical way, but, similarly to Darwinism, as a dogma of any social science. That holds for marxism too. Nevertheless, the rationalism which is imprinted on the studies of capitalism was based on the assumption that one is entitled to know, nothing more that his own passions and avoid an ensuing vertigo by holding to the assumption that the order of passions, whatever it maybe, should be similar to the one of facts. It is the most daring bet that a civilization has ever made and it still proves to be winning, as far as statistics may be daily manipulated to prove every self-fulfilling prophecy, where every question leads to the desired answer. But the brute fact is that on the basis of this mental skyskraper, it stays an enormous mistrust, were the honest love of a scottish Hume, for a french somewhat sadistic Hyppolite de Saujon -- a courtisan busy in advancing her passion's strategies in Paris -- ended up in the practice of what she hated, the most, in men: their «servile mind». The love of a rubicund and honest scottish man for a sanguine mediterranean woman, professional in the business of passions,it is not enough to build a plausible theory. That is why, for every sadistic, unbalanced entrepreneur, there is a masochistic admirer. Why do philosophers are so often unfortunate? I don't know. As Tolstoi said at the beginning of his Anna Karenina, each one is unfortunate by his own way. Still David Hume was too daring in compiling a «Treatise» on Human nature because his greatest blunder was not the human affair but aspiring to grasp a «nature», which, also in human affairs, stays always in flux. Instead of throwing some fluid data out of the boat, from time to time, Hume decided that there was a way of finding a definite formula for making the sea solid as rock. He ceased of sailing and kept digging his heels in the shore of bets. That's why capitalism is mostly a mental ailment: if one doesn't catch the fish, one should empty the sea. Now, would there still be a way for catching the scottish fish who seem, among UK wars of choice, decided to swim free in the ocean?