Free Market Relationships and Our Constant Anxiety

Salvador Dalí "Illumined Pleasures" 1929
Salvador Dalí
“Illumined Pleasures”
1929

It seems to me that one of the reasons a voluntary, and market-driven society produces so much anxiety, is that relationships are constantly being negotiated. As the negotiation proceeds between the “self contained” personal contracts of two “individuals,” either party is free to walk away (disconnect) at any time if the “other” does not live up to their contractual standards. Given human nature, the only thing left to hold “individuals” together is self interest or money. The individual alone is responsible for his/her own destiny. No one ever has to “make do” with situations that the individual perceives as hindering personal destiny and “self fulfillment.” Even those who are willing to “make do” are left behind by those who are not—without this it is impossible to build any sustaining social fabric. That would require sacrifice and faith—both contradictory to the logic and practice of individualism and the cold free market.

This also applies to how we negotiate with the competing authorities that vie for our allegiances. We become anxious because we don’t know who to trust and follow, so we end up following ourselves and our own desires. Otherwise we would feel lost. We do feel lost.

Still, we are haunted by a belief that there is something other than “ourselves” that might have claim over us and our lives. With nothing to trust our anxiety will only continue.

God bless those without an option.

Ideas, thought-making, therapy, and hyper-activity can not solve this constant tension. Our situation is akin to a snake eating its own tail.