Friday, 15 July 2011

Hardly Aware

If there is an overarching metanarrative that purports to explain reality in the late 20th century (early 21st century), it is surely the metanarrative of the free-market economy. In the beginning of this narrative is the self-made, self-sufficient human being. At the end of this narrative is the big house, big car, and the expensive clothes. In the middle is the struggle for success, the greed, the getting-and-spending in a world in which there is no such thing as a free lunch. Most of us have made this so thoroughly "our story" that we are hardly aware of its influence.

Susan White - New Story to Live By?


  1. Nice thought - I like it.

    A couple of questions though - are you suggesting that the acquisition of a big house, big car, and expensive clothes is inherently problematic - or only when driven by greed, whether conscious or sub-conscious? Despite myself, I find these things very attractive :)

    Does the meta-narrative apply prinmarily to the western world or apply to the world at large ?

    Caleb S.

  2. Joseph McAuley15 July 2011 at 19:01

    It's not that big house, big car, expensive clothes are inherently problematic. Though I'm wrestling with some thoughts on this. It's that the metanarrative of free-market economy is the inherently problematic; it's not the metanarrative (the overarching story) through which humanity is supposed to view and make sense of life. It's a small story within a bigger story but it's not the big story. Self made humanity is a lie and deception. It's not how the story starts. Big house, big car, expensive clothes isn't how the story ends. They're the wrong telos or goal. If you get the start of the story wrong and the end of the story wrong - you're going to outwork things in the middle askew.

  3. Joseph McAuley15 July 2011 at 19:04

    Have a look at this promo clip for a John Piper event. Nicely put. I don't agree with Piper on plenty (I'm and N.T.Wright man, lol). Hard not to appreciate this though. It's on YouTube and John Finkelde's blog.