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The essence of a philosophy can seldom be captured in a few words. But a few quotations can sometimes reveal much of the philosophy's hidden essence. The task of seeking the grounds, the axioms, or the genetic structure of a philosophy is not easy; but it is immensely rewarding. Especially when the seeking is after freedom, truth, and money.

Here, I share with you some of my favorite quotations. I collected these over many years while probing and studying the works of the great thinkers, and those of their students.


The quotations reflect many worldviews. Two major conflicting worldviews are worth noting. The first worldview is rooted in the works of the great Greek philosophers, Plato and Aristotle. The other worldview is rooted in Solomonic thinking.

Broadly speaking, the philosophies of Descartes, Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Heidegger are descended from the first worldview via St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas; those of Popper, Hayek, and Ayn Rand are descended from the second worldview. This second worldview impregnates the core of the Anglo-Saxon philosophy code named "English comfort."1 This philosophy is apparently what animates the champions of the "free" marketplace, like Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman.

There is an immense tension between these two worldviews. Many people experience the tension in the marrow of their bones - but they do not know what its secret source is. But philosophers like Ernst Cassirer do.2 They know that the conflict is nothing short of cosmic.

The conflict and its horrors exploded out of control in the twentieth century. Unfortunately, it can explode again. I suspect this is why Soros has been warning against "market fundamentalism."3

I also suspect that the philosophies of Hayek, Popper, Rand, Friedman, and Soros are wrongheaded. In the case of Friedman, for example, the proof is trivial: slaves were bought and sold in the "free" markets of Rome and of Hebron. According to an account reported by Buber, Jews were "sold for the price of a horse in the marketplace of Hebron."4 Following Friedman's doctrine, there is no reason to believe 

  1. that the buyers and sellers were coerced, 
  2. that the transactions were not "bi-laterally voluntary and informed,"5a 
  3. that the sales contravened the "rule of law," or 
  4. that the "social responsibility"5b of the sellers was not to make as much money for themselves as possible.


The essential conflict is not "free private enterprise exchange economy"5a vs. totalitarianism, or "open" society vs. closed society.6 For Hegel, such characterizations, I suppose, would be nothing but diversions calculated to deceive the masses.7

The essential conflict is what it has always been: the cosmic battle between Good and Evil, Truth and Falsity, Lordship and Bondage8 between being free and being unfree. The outcome of the conflict will determine how world history ultimately unfolds.9

Dr. Edward E. Ayoub
March 27-29, 2000
Last Updated November 7, 2001


1 See F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom. Fiftieth Anniversary Edition. Introduction by Milton Friedman. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago, 1944, 1972, 1994. The Socialist Roots of Naziism, at 186.

2 See Ernst Cassirer, The Myth of the State. Yale University Press, 1946. Henry Cassirer and Anne Applebaum, 1974. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. The Religious and Metaphysical Background of the Medieval Theory of the State, at 78-96, especially 81-82.

3 See George Soros, The Crisis of Global Capitalism [Open Society Endangered]. George Soros, 1998. New York, NY: Public Affairs™. Introduction, at xxii.

4 Martin Buber (1878-1965). On Judaism. Edited by Nahum N. Glatzer. Foreword by Rodger Kamenetz, 1995. Schoken Books Inc., 1967. New York, NY: Random House, Inc., 1996.
IV. The Spirit of the Orient and Judaism, at 71.

5 The expressions "bi-laterally voluntary and informed," "social responsibility," and "free private enterprise exchange economy" are borrowed from Friedman. For Friedman's views, see Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom. With the assistance of Rose D. Friedman. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago, 1962, 1982. 
a The Relation between Economic Freedom and Political Freedom, at 13.
b Monopoly and the Social Responsibility of Business and Labor, at 133.

6 See Karl R. Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies. Volume II: The High Tide of Prophecy: Hegel, Marx, and the Aftermath. Fifth ed. (revised). Karl Raimund Popper, 1962, 1966. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. For Popper's characterization of Hegel's philosophy, see Hegel and the New Tribalism, at 59 and 61.

7 G. W. F. Hegel. Phenomenology of Spirit. Translated by A.V. Miller with Analysis of the Text and Foreword by J.N. Findlay. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1977. The Struggle of the Enlightenment with Superstition, at 330.

8 Ibid., Independence and Dependence of Self-Consciousness: Lordship and Bondage, at 115.

9 See Edward E. Ayoub. World War III Against the Money Trust? Toronto, ON: Macroknow Inc., 1998. For a critique of Solomonic thinking, see the quotations from Ayoub.



ED's Philosophical Compass. Copyright  ' 2000 by Edward T.M. Ayoub. All Rights Reserved.