This book was written in the Before Times. Looking back through it, I’m reminded of what I cared about before the world fell apart with lockdowns, mandates, and the ensuing existential crisis of civilization itself.
I wondered at first if this book mattered anymore but now I’m sure it does. My theme is meaning. Not big meaning but meaning in small things. The meaning of everyday life. Finding friendship, mission, passion, and love in the course of working out one’s life in the framework of a commercial society, which should not be narrowly construed as only a way of paying bills but rather should be seen as the instantiation of a life well lived. We were not doing a good job of that, so my thinking was to inspire people to come to love what we take for granted.
This is why this book is in a second edition. The purpose is to illustrate what it means to fall back in love with life, including its arts, professions, creations, challenges, excellences, friendships, uncertainties, mysteries, and dreams. These are all matters of the heart – the individual heart. There is no escaping them. No grand project dictated to us by government, media, and Big Tech can substitute.
My only discomfort with the book is the title: the use of the term market. I like it but I’m aware that it might come across as too centered on economics alone, narrowly construed. That is not what I mean. My purpose here is to say that markets and life cannot be separated. Abolish one – we ended up trying that – and you radically diminish the other. The CDC and Twitter are not replacements for a life well-lived.
This book also serves as a good goal for me too. The pandemic response changed us all. We cannot help that. It’s fine if it makes us wiser and less naive. What we do not want is to allow them to gut us of joy and optimism. Rebuilding is in fact possible. There is a sense in which this book might help point the way forward. It is dedicated to my mother because it is she who has always done that for me.
~Jeffrey Tucker, September 2022