I’m unhappy when I’m not the center of attention, and I’m unhappy when I am the center of attention. I’m only truly happy when I’m alone and daydreaming that everyone loves me.
What I just wrote already demands revision. Now I want to say that I’m happy much of the time; and rather than needing to be the center of attention, I am content to serve as part of a team—I want most to know that I’m doing a decent job on my share of the work.
But the notion of equality baffles me, because everybody possesses different potentials. Medics make me feel like an idler, until I remind myself that my aptitude lies elsewhere; we’re not all called to heal people physically.
I usually defame and vilify the Apostle Paul, my nemesis; but here is a passage that I like, from the twelfth chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians (though admittedly the idea that it relays, being ancient and well-known, is anything but original):
…the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single organ, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those parts of the body which we think less honorable we invest with the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so adjusted the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part, that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together: if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
If this is what equality means, then I like it and I embrace it. But our present society doesn’t follow this model of thought—that’s how it seems to me. When a man who is a mover and a shaker considers his homeland, he does not ask “Is my country operating harmoniously?” Instead he wonders “How much will this place allow me to hoard my wealth?” Then, when the stance and deeds of this mover and shaker are heard and seen by the rank and file, the latter’s response betrays a compulsion for equity—they shout: “This fellow earned his fortune fair and square, now let him bask in it!”
Fair and square? I wonder…
Matters began unjustly and continue unjustly. Events move from gratuitous to indefensible. These are all-too-common observations. Why is one person “blessed with” ears that hear and eyes that see, while another is born deaf and blind?
On a side note, those last words brought to mind my favorite movie: Land of Silence and Darkness (1971).
Who knows why any person is born at all, let alone why one is born into affluence and another into poverty? Even “to rise from rags to riches” by way of “honest work” depends upon so many arbitrary, inadvertent, unfair events that I don’t think any soul can claim she was self-made. Who knows, for instance, the precise extent of the repercussions of slavery? Who’s to say that every coin, howsoever earned, has not been tainted by unconscionable exploits to a degree that no uprightness could allay?
Any fortune made in this world is rooted to an unsound foundation; only a base and ignoble character could take pride in it. Apparently a few people have forgotten that, when he was employed as a financial adviser, Jesus always warned the wealthy: Relinquish your riches.
I was reading in Matthew’s gospel the other day, and I came across a passage (19:16-22) where a young man asks Jesus directly how to attain eternal life. What I found interesting is that Jesus’s answer differs greatly from the one that the church always gives—Jesus does not tell the fellow that we all must believe in the blood of Christ in order to be saved: no, Jesus simply says to “keep the commandments.” Then the man answers that he has done so; and Jesus does not say “That’s impossible—only I alone have kept the commandments; that’s why my blood is innocent and thus my upcoming death shall be the perfect sacrifice, if and only if you believe in it.” On the contrary; again, Jesus answers the young man in a style completely different than modern churchmen:
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
Then we’re told:
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
I think that this fellow should run for U.S. President; his priorities are impeccable.
[And now I recall that, at the start of his funeral speech in the film Wrong Cops (2013), Officer Duke declares that he is a Christian.]
But seriously, if Jesus had answered the young man according to the doctrines of the modern church, would the man have “gone away sorrowful”? No!—he would have professed his faith in the perfect blood of the Apostle Paul’s Messiah, and gladly and tightly held on to his “great possessions.”
I don’t believe in karma—it makes our world sound like one big math equation that’s constantly trying to solve itself. There are no wrongs needing to be righted: what we call injustice is an inherent aspect of being. With growth comes pain; and harmony consists in embracing the pain we love best.
I’ve said it before, now I’ll say it again: Life will not stop bursting onward and outward. It’s a joyous bursting, from the standpoint of oneness; however, since beings are only fragments of the entirety, they tend to get knocked about—this is why, even though they derive from something ecstatic, mortals tend to be fearful and depressed; this is also why compassion is essential. Although he was wrong about some other concepts, Jesus was right to stress the importance of forgiveness.
Lastly, if you are intending to prepare breakfast for someone who is composing a weblog entry, try not to drop too many plates and pans. For the noise of pans crashing on the floor can startle a writer. And glass plates often break in half when they fall.