For all of the awfulness that is on the internet -- and there is a lot -- it is also the place where you can find things that probably would have been written anyway without it, but which might never have been found except by a few specialists tinkering among some very esoteric journals.
Such is this interesting piece by a man named Sandy Ikeda at the Foundation for Economic Education website. He's reflecting on some of the religious and ethical sense of the 18th century economist Adam Smith's lesser-known work, Theory of Moral Sentiments. Ikeda himself is a professor of economics at the State University of New York, and he connects some of Smith's ideas with similar thoughts found in Zen philosophy. He also stirs in some Eckhart Tolle for good measure.
Ikeda doesn't imply that Smith was some kind of proto-Zen Buddhist Westernizer or that he had secretly studied from Zen masters. He's just noting some similarities that prove interesting, considering the usual reputation of Smith as the cold-blooded "invisible hand of self-interest" originator. It turns out that Smith had more on his mind than free markets.
Agreeing or disagreeing with Ikeda's assessment of Smith is up to the reader. But because of the amazing (and good) part of the Internet, there's an article available to a wide readership that offers consideration of Adam Smith, Eckhart Tolle and Ludwig von Mises. And I've just written about it using a headline that riffs off of The Blues Brothers.
What a world.