Excessiveness hinders the search for harmony

2local strives for prosperity and sustainability. 2local wants to make a vital world accessible to everyone. Building a vital world means looking for harmony. That is, we have to look for balances between polarities. Polarities are opposites that form a contrast. We can achieve harmony when the opposing forces in the contrast come into harmony. That is an activity of balancing. On the basis of the Yi-Jing cosmic model, we distinguish two main contrasts, namely between competition and cooperation and between preservation and renewal. In the model these contrasts are further differentiated. The contrast between competition and cooperation consists, if we zoom in, of the contrast between nature and man or woman, and of the contrast between individual existence and society. The contrast between preservation and renewal can be further subdivided into the contrast between connecting and making a difference and the contrast between ethics and rationality.


Nature and man or woman are often diametrically opposed, just as Daoism is opposed to Confucianism. Nietzsche sought a connection between both polarities in the naturalization of man or woman. But this still does not lead to harmony. Naturality and humanity are both essential for life on earth. We need to balance these ultimate polarities. By fair and responsible operating we could achieve harmony. But we often don't get around to that, because we tend to go too far to extremes. We often pay too much attention to man or woman and too little to nature. This leads to greed. We also see the reverse, namely in self-sacrifice. Excessive attention to both polarities leads to perfectionism and too little attention to both leads to apathy.


The individual is also often opposed to society, just as liberalism is opposed to communitarianism. Social contract theory, among others, seeks connections between them, but that does not yet lead to harmony. Existentiality and sociality are both of great value. These polarities meet in reciprocal solidarity. To find harmony it takes reasonableness and courage. But we almost never succeed because we tend to shoot too much to extremes. Too much attention for the individual and too little for social life leads to egoism. In the reverse we see altruism arise. Excessive attention to both polarities leads to fanaticism and too little attention to both leads to passivity.


Connecting and making a difference are diametrically opposed, just as Theravada Buddhism is opposed to postmodernism. Thinking beyond boundaries or enlightenment insight can make connections, but that does not yet lead to harmony. Connectivity and differentiality are of great importance to humanity. These polarities engage in cultural relativism, and in order to find harmony communication and prudence is necessary. But that is often too difficult because we rather end up at extremes. Too much attention for connectivity and too little for differences leads to absorption, that is the core of totalizing and totalitarian utopias, such as communism. In the reverse we see fragmentation (including the formation of conspiracy theories) arise. Excessive attention to both polarities leads to isolation and too little attention to both leads to superficiality.


Ethics (norms and values) and rationalism oppose each other, just as Eastern Mahayana/Zen-Buddhism opposes the rational West. The middle way can provide connection, but does not yet lead to harmony. Normativity and rationality are both of great value, especially for safety and diversity. These polarities encounter in creative moderation, and to achieve harmony autonomy and moderation is needed. But we often can’t do that that because we grow to extremes. Too much attention for ethics, especially for norms and rules, leads to bureaucracy. The opposite leads to pride (in this Blog seen as a character trait and not as the fleeting emotion). Excessive attention to both polarities leads to fundamentalism and too little attention to both creates an ad-hoc mentality.


 If some of the abovementioned extremes or risks occur at the same time, the effects can be even more disastrous. I would like to mention two examples here.


Greed, absorption, egoism and bureaucracy in neo-liberalism

When greed, absorption, selfishness and bureaucracy occur simultaneously, we end up with the excesses that we find in neo-liberalism.


What we see in neoliberalism is competitive self-interest. The free market, which still sets the global stage, did not create individual freedom. Instead, it allowed privileged individuals and companies to build wealth and realize profits, putting self-interest at the foreground. Capital is mobile, hardly hindered by government rules, and seeks ways to maximize returns. This fueled greed to the powerful and indifference to the powerless.

The free market system allowed multinationals and large banks to develop. In the neo-liberal economy few industrialists, rich people and shareholders of big companies determined the course of events. These 'closed groups' had a lot of influence on economic policy and want to preserve this situation. In many exclusive forums and think tanks neoliberals met and made contacts to gain political influence. Billionaires and politicians take care of one another; they play the game together and perpetuate inequality in the world. This leads to absorption. On a global scale multinationals and large banks operate on the basis of oligopolistic competition. They do this in long international chains based on lean production methods, global sourcing, minimum stocks, no buffers, and only the short-term counts. The price developments of purchases and sales are particularly important; other aspects, such as sustainability, avoiding pollution, fairness in trade, hardly play a role. This stimulates egoism. After the crisis in the 1930s, international rules were drawn up, such as by OECD (internationally responsible entrepreneurship), ILO (decent work) and European Commission (Green Deal). However, these rules were not made mandatory or were not enforced. Market forces have been introduced in the public sector. The benefits are unclear and it has only led to major government controls and bureaucracy.


2local offers alternatives for the neo-liberal society, where these extremes find no breeding ground. These alternatives are: Effective transition towards sustainability and prosperity for everyone. Introducing a cash back system. Supporting local-to-local and sustainable communities. Introducing a new crypto currency system based on blockchain technology. See also the Blog ‘Out of the crisis with 2local’.


Greed and pride in sexual violence and sexual harassment

In case greed and pride are involved at the same time, we might have to deal with sexual violence and sexual harassment, according to Martha Nussbaum in her recent book (Citadels of Pride). A culture of sexual violence and sexual harassment has existed for many years. Due to #MeToo and recent accusations in the Netherlands (including at The Voice of Holland), these misconduct have once again been brought to the attention. Nussbaum pointed out that these fundamental violations of autonomy and subjectivity are not so much about sex, but about power. According to her, the causes must be sought in greed and pride.


Greed plays a large role in misbehavior by men or women (mostly by men) who seem irreplaceable and which allow others to earn a lot of money, especially in sports, the arts and the media. That misbehavior remains hidden, which means that these men or women all too often escape the dance. Precisely in sectors where men or woman enjoy extraordinary privileges, such as in the aforementioned sectors, but also in the judiciary, pride is very widespread. Essentially it is about power, of people who think they are above others and who do not see others as full human beings. Nussbaum defines pride (as a character trait) as the vice that consists in thinking yourself superior to others, that others are not fully-fledged people to you. Problems in society can be traced back to this: privilege based on race and looking down on people of a different class. This also plays a role in the relationship between men and women: unequal treatment of women, differences in pay, unequal division of care responsibilities in the family, domestic violence. People think that the world could be modeled according to their decisions. People start to think they know everything better (stubbornness). For example, haughty politicians do not want prying eyes and do not want to be held accountable in a serious way. Consider the situation in the Netherlands, where the courts have to intervene in order to force the government to comply with the WOB (Public Accessibility Act) itself. According to Dante, greed and pride is a form of inability to look outward. He also links envy and resentment to pride.


2local wants to banish the risk of greed and pride. This should not be done by mistrust and revenge, because they don't make sense. Mandela who gave confidence, coupled with critical sense, to whites, which had counted on enmity and retaliation, is our example.


2local wants to curb all above-mentioned risks through an effective transition towards sustainability and prosperity for everyone. This is done, among other things, by stimulating the development of communities, where intuition, feeling and emotion are important values, while paying attention to the human dimension and dedication. It is also important to listen to others, seeing and observing what happens, so that excessiveness doesn't stand a chance.


The 2local platform is ready to take the next step: developing a marketplace app and a cashback system. 2local invites local communities to actively participate in the follow-up process.


Be part of this revolution and safe people and planet by achieving a sustainable and prosperous world!



Harry Donkers


14 April 2022