Friday, May 04, 2018

What are riches for?

"You just seemed so happy and excited," she said.  And I had been.  It had been a different day, an out of the ordinary day, and I'd had a little tiny bit of money to spend and we splurged on a few singletrees, a vintage bike, a good pair of work boots, an adz.  The boots were truly needed, the singletrees will come in handy, the bike was cheap, the adz promises new adventures.  For us, this is a bit of opulence, petite opulence perhaps.

"You know, if you accumulate some money, somebody just tries to take it," she said.  Although in this case it was not identity theft or fraud but just the IRS auditing a farm write-off.  And Trump claims that "people of wealth" are involved in payoffs all the time.

And the question I have is, what are riches for, anyway?  For opulence?  For show?  For someone else to admire?  To make someone else do your bidding?  To accumulate yet more again?  For security?  For one-upmanship? Does it take money to have free will?

Riches are for one thing.  This is Biblically true and morally true:  to share, to take care of others with.

"If he can afford it, more power to him," is the most immoral common modern saying there is, and yet rarely does a week go by that I don't hear it, usually when I'm remonstrating some conspicuous consumption.  If he can afford it, who did he exploit the money from?  Because a single person can only create so much and no more.  A family might work together and SHARE but a person is just a person and

We all need a bit of opulence.  A needed pair of work boots is an opulence when you haven't been able to afford them.  A bar of chocolate.  A beer.  This is why so many poor people smoke -- an affordable opulence.  If you've had beans all month, are you really going to deny them a bit of a tough cut of steak?  Or a birthday cake for a kid, even if food stamps buys it?  Can you imagine the BMW Prius convertible Mustang driving mum thinking a birthday cake an opulence?  Naw, not going to Italy to see the Caravaggio in person is a hardship in her world.  Well fuck that shit.  That shit is immoral.

Excuse the f-bomb but this is serious.  Riches are for ONE thing:  To use to take care of others.  To give away.  Not to control.  Free will.  There's the real f-bomb: free will, not just for you but for those who think you are wrong, for those you think are wrong.  Someone asks for a dollar, or you see someone in need of a dollar, and it is no hardship to you to do without that dollar -- GIVE THEM THE DOLLAR even if they will spend it on MD 20/20:  give them a dollar because THEY ARE A CHILD OF GOD JUST AS THEY ARE.  I AM A CHILD OF GOD JUST AS I AM, heretic and all.  And if giving them that dollar was no hardship to you, then it is also no commendation of what a great person you are:  it is no great feat to give from wealth.

I know you think I'm going to hell but you might have noticed that I don't buy into that fantasy.  I realize that you don't know another way, another possibility (because I've been there too), you think that it is quaint that those Greeks believed in Zeus and Mount Olympus and all but it isn't like that stuff was REAL, not like Jesus and streets of gold and all that.  You think if a person doesn't believe that, they must believe something else just as ridiculous and far fetched.

But if we buy in to your story, the Biblical story, we ate of the tree of knowledge.  We know, already, right from wrong.  Some guy named God doesn't hold us in check but rather our own conscience and our own free will.  God doesn't bless the righteous and punish the wicked but rain falls on the just and unjust alike. When seeking the compassionate course, look in desperation's eye. Know that we all get tangled up in worldly things and ego and fail. But don't look toward worldly things and ego for guidance.

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