因此不管稱它做甚麼，資本主義、市場經濟、全球化、價值體系、動機、倫理，希望它能成為大多數人的「宗教」，當代的「宗教」。我給「宗教」加上引號，因為「市場宗教」不是出世，提升靈性的說教（「使人心上升到上帝那裡。」）使我們超越物質世界回復到「靈魂」。但它佔據了過去宗教的位置，人們依照它來確定事件的意義、價值、生活的目的。它越來越成為多數人的存在理由，主要的時代意識形態；它影響並運作於政府、教育、藝術、音樂、與宗教本身之中。它甚至於替換改變了人格的特徵。人被商品化，「人」是有「購買力」的「顧客」，人的內在價值不被考慮，而單純以 Leonard Joy 所稱的，外在生活的「金錢化」為標準。這就使人的面目從國家的宏觀層次，降低至個人的微觀層次，最終歸結到我們的私自內在的心理層次。它甚至取代了將世界分成「貧」、「富」和「已發展」及「發展中」的國家主義。現在人普遍地不再用「國家」、「人民」等字眼，而稱較不富裕的國家為「興起中的經濟體」，真是有一隻無形的手在起作用！可這個詞的涵義或許沒有亞當‧史密斯眼中的那麼仁慈溫和吧！
現在我再進一步，我相信佛教（在東亞、南亞的心靈培養傳統中，其中包括 Michael Nagler剛才提到的Ghandian系統），為這種市場宗教提供了一種根本的改變途徑。但這需要進行一番考慮才行。我們不能漫不經心地接受，因為它在許多方面從根本上挑戰著我們習以為常的觀念。例如甚麼是好的生活，甚麼是好人之類的問題。
I, for one, think they [market values] are ultimately harmful and unite us only in mutual strife and exploitation. Nonetheless, they are becoming increasingly more widespread and "shared" as "globalization" comes to define and dominate our beliefs and behavior. The concern then of these social thinkers was that the triumph of the "pleasure principle, which leaves people in the end dissatisfied, is not some scientific neutrality but merely a religion without God." For a while, they argued, the old values will survive even as the beliefs which underpin them decline. But eventually the old beliefs and ethical constructs of the Judeo-Christian systems will deplete themselves, leaving nothing to draw on. The analogy one of the contributors gave was that of boat moving through the water. Once the gas runs out, the boat continues for a while propelled by its momentum. But eventually resistance overcomes momentum and the boat comes to a stop. In the same way, in this age of "unbelief" our increasingly desacralized society is now moving along on the momentum of older beliefs and values. The boat, however, has lost its fuel source, which was the meaning and purpose provided by the older Judeo-Christian framework and theology. Various movements in the Post-Enlightenment period have cut the "motor" so to speak, and as a result the morality and beliefs that many of our generation draw on from our exposure and education as children, become less and less what defines each new generation. The younger generation simply does not internalize, rely on, or become inspired by these older beliefs.
I work with students between the ages of 16 to 30, and I find the trends these philosophers are describing are in fact the future. Both the value systems and ethical impulses that we drew upon and the moral map or compass that we still rely on, even if we no longer subscribe to a theistic view, are drying up for the younger generation. So this leaves at the core of life, as this Oxford group observed, "the unfettered market principles and a society fragmenting under economic pressures and the anti-social philosophies of the market... a
society in desperate need of finding a sense of the common good which religion once afforded."
So, regardless of what we call it: capitalism, market economy, globalization—and the values, motives, "ethics" and promises it proffers is for most people becoming a "religion," perhaps the "religion" of the age. I put religion in quotation marks because the market-religion is not a transcendental teaching or elevation of consciousness ('lifting up one's mind-heart to God') that brings us beyond the material realm and returns us to the "soul." But it occupies a position of centrality that religion once held in defining meaning, values, and purpose in life. It is increasingly becoming the raison d'etre for most people, and the dominant ideology of the time; it touches and shapes government, education, the arts and music, and religion itself. It is even replacing or displacing identity. People become commodified, rationalized into "consumers" with "purchasing power" valued not for any intrinsic worth but only for external holdings: the "monetization" of life, as Leonard Joy called it. This removes a human face from the macro-level of nations, down to the micro-level as people, and ultimately to the inner-level of our private psyches. It is even replacing nationalism, dividing the world into "haves" and "have-nots," "developed" and "under-developed." It is becoming commonplace now to no longer even use the word "country" or "people" or "nation," but simply to talk about less-well-off countries as "emerging economies." Truly an "invisible hand" is at work here, though not perhaps one so benign and benevolent as Adam Smith meant by this term.
Let me jump ahead now. I do believe that Buddhism (among other spiritual traditions from East and South Asia, including the Gandhian system Michael Nagler
just presented) offers a radical alternative to the
market-religion, but one that requires some thought and
investigation. We cannot, however, just casually take these
traditions up, as they do challenge, in fundamental ways, a
lot of our conventional ideas about what the good life is,
and what it means to be human.
From a Buddhist view,
"everything is made from the mind alone." In short, the
"mind" and consciousness is the primary determining factor
in human history. It underlies and fundamentally influences
all of our myriad affairs economic life included. Mind is
the root, the king; phenomena are the branches, the
reflections. The external reality mirrors the internal; in
fact, at some level of understanding they are
one-and-the-same, i.e. they are non-dual. So "economics,"
from a Buddhist point of view, is essentially a spiritual
matter or problem; especially now where it has so
successfully displaced competing ideologies and now so
thoroughly occupies and drives our existence.
To be continued