When writing about the invisible hand, there is no way to avoid thinking about two other terms: spontaneous order and neurosis. All of these appear in the environment of the Scottish Enlightenment
. Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand and Friedrich August von Hayek’s Spontaneous Order have many points of overlap—one could argue that Spontaneous Order aggregates the idea of unintended beneficiaries of individual selfish actions for a social form into a naturalistic general perspective. This totalisation can be found in Hayek’s double definition: first, the Spontaneous Order appears as “natural formation, occurring independently of human action (…) the formation of crystals and galaxies”
and then as “the outcome of human action but not of human design, such as, arguably, religion, morals, language, law, money and the market”
. Here a binary classification (spontaneous vs planned) of organizational structures emerges, which also reflects Hayek’s struggle against the windmills of the “planned economy”. The main epistemological argument remains the following: due to the recursive complexity of spontaneous order, the single human is not able to grasp them completely. This bears a certain elegance and horror within and one is reminded of Eugene Thacker’s conceptualisation of a world-in-itself
which cannot be accessed by the human. The thought of these structures itself becomes infectious recursive. “Here is the neurotic paradox (…) Since neurosis does not exist, you can have nothing real to worry about, which makes your anxiety disproportionate (…) Really, there’s nothing wrong, and that is the whole of the syndrome.”
The Invisible Hand is precisely that: a trap door into transcendental neurosis.