The Logic of Paying Prices: God, Love, and Karl Marx

There is a popular saying amongst the people of the Yoruba tribe in West Africa, it goes thus:

omo to ba ni ki iyare masu, ounna ko ni sun

(The child that has said his mother will not sleep, shall also not sleep).

This proverb spears right through the logic of paying prices – the necessity of paying a price, by the virtue of taking a certain position.

However, knowing if, when, and how we are paying our dues in life is never straightforward. In this very short essay I will explore this idea in three domains: work, love, and faith, or if you like, God, love, and Karl Marx.

I will start with Karl Marx

Karl Marx’s Epicureanism.

Epicurus bursted the bubble about money and happiness well over two thousand years ago, long before modern psychologists began to rediscover it. He was a negative hedonist.

His thesis was clear – what makes us happy is not money or orgy. It is the fellowship of working (and living) in groups, and the clear and visible knowledge of our works making a difference, be it a carpenter or a tailor.

The successful social experiments of Epicurus clearly influenced Karl Marx’s intellectual pursuits.

While Karl Marx’s proposed solution to the plagues of capitalism in 19th century failed horribly, some of his ideas (which Epicurus suggested centuries ago) remains germane till today.

Capitalist economy produces alienation – a sense of isolation between a worker and the product of her labor.

Clearly, alienation is a price we must pay for our possessions, our capitalist economy, as capitalism feeds obligately on alienation.

Let’s take John, a data analyst for a sugar company called Novata. In the last 3 years working for the firm, he has never seen a single cube of Novata sugar. He is losing a key source of happiness in his life, and he does not know it.

John is akin to an amphibian who has spent his entire life in the water, what else does he know?

Love

The ideology of romanticism has basically ripped us off.  As a response to the age of reason, fettered love and arranged marriages; romanticism burgeoned. Since the adoption of romanticism (of love), I will argue situations appear to have gone sour.

Unfortunately, our environment had made (and continue to make) the ideology flourish, aiding uncountable marriage debacles. As a race, we are gradually losing our abilities for long lasting relationships.

Romanticism tells us that love and marriage is always happy, and that’s what we see around. For some reason, partners seem to forget to take some snapshots of those nasty-late-night-hot-arguments and share it with us.

But they remember too often to take blissful selfies over dinner and share it on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat most likely with the following hashtags #babe #sugar #honey #sweetie #relationshipgoals #myheart et cetera.

Long lasting relationships, sadly, is really far from always happy. But we can make it close.

There is a price we must pay for long lasting relationships: it is the brave acceptance of imperfection.

As the Philosopher Alain de botton puts it:  “The more you know about love, the less important it is who you are loving”.

While the price we must pay here might appear obvious, we are, typically, unwilling to pay it. Apart from the fact that paying the price can be very hard, we also get the impression that others aren’t paying it. Thanks to Instagram, Facebook and the philosophy of romantic love.

Romanticism, in essence, is preventing a lot of us from paying our dues, preventing us to love.

God

I am a graduate student in the United States doing science research. And just like I heard back home in Africa, I wasn’t surprised to find out that several western scientists seem not to be bothered about God.

But what surprises me is that some of my colleagues argues that belief in God is irrational.

It leaves me dumbfounded each time I hear such arguments.

Very quickly, this time around let’s take Dr. Desk, a professor of Computational Mathematics, who believes it’s completely irrational to believe in God, because, he states “God had failed to give us any assurance that he exists”. But back home, he decided to have a set of triplets with his wife.

Two decades later, sadly, the triplets died in a plane crash. After deep and lengthy meditations in Erdene Zuu Monastery, far away in Mongolia, he discovered that he had paid a price called faith for having kids, as he had no assurance whatsoever that his triplets will outlive him.

Similarly, as strange as it might sound, a price must be paid to belief in God. That price is called faith. And this is not faith without evidence, as such does not exist, there must be an evidence for faith to exist. In other words, faith grows out of evidence.

And to whatever side you are on the aisle – we are all men of faith.

We are all paying a price.

(Photo Credit)

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3 thoughts on “The Logic of Paying Prices: God, Love, and Karl Marx

  1. I wanted to share a few cpmments that I thought about reading your piece!
    In regards to Karl Marx, I believe that mans separation from his work is a result of specialized work especially after the industrial revolution. To put into other words that we are all cogs in a big clock working together to make the clock tick but nobody has ever seen the clock. However, with the advent of the internet of things I believe this is changing especially as we move towards a sharing economy so to speak.

    Second was your story about love. I had heard somewhere that love is the act of nurturing someone to grow; in other words caring about someone else more than yourself, it’s a selfless act. This implies that we are imperfect like you put beautifully but through love I believe we can improve ourselves when we embrace our differences, like two puzzle pieces coming together. This goes for any relationship and I agree about how social media and media in general has undermined our expectations. People are afraid of death and life. In death we seek uniqueness and in life we seek conformity. However on today’s society I think the fear of life is greater than the fear of death in that people would rather conform than feel the pain of searching for their own uniqueness.
    On faith the question I have is how does one initiate faith if there is no evidence? If you say faith is a sum of evidence seen how do you see the unseen? I think faith is always a choice as god gave us free will but I’d also a muscle in that we practice the art of being able to listen to god when he speaks to us through over peoples actions, results of our own and our imagination.

    Great work you produce! Keep it up Bif!!

    • Olatomiwa Bifarin says:

      I love your analogy of the clock! It made a lot of sense.
      You think this is changing now, because of the internet? how?
      “how does one initiate faith if there is no evidence?”
      Good question, if there are no evidences, then that would be blind faith.
      Having faith requires you to stand on something, something you deem useful as an evidence. In addition, believing in something without evidence is very dangerous and unhealthy.
      “If you say faith is a sum of evidence seen how do you see the unseen?”
      I wouldn’t say that. I will rather describe faith as a leap you make from the evidence seen, faith THEN enable you to see the unseen, so to speak.
      Thanks for the comment.

      • Michael D Eggleston says:

        The internet gives us the opportunity to have a horizontal hierarchy and not vertical hierarchy. That means that as a society we can broaden our specialties but also weaken the traditional bureaucratic system as it is more beneficial to share information made by the people then to organize a centralized production. This can go for individual renewable energy production going back to the grid or also pages like Wikipedia etc.

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