Saturday, March 18, 2017

Adversity and wealth

Prosperity, ease, wealth — these are all well and good if we’re willing to learn from them, and thereby better know ourselves. Otherwise, they are adversity in disguise — just as adversity can be our greatest wealth. It’s important, at the same time, to identify with neither, to pass no judgment on the relative degrees of these conditions, because when we do, they become yet another filter through which we try to see and understand the world, another kind of prison. There are extreme cases, of course, in which even these thoughts are not possible, or at best a distant luxury. Millions upon millions live just so. And that makes it all the more important that we understand ourselves — or else, what use will we be? Now, I am here, at least in part, because, long ago, members of my father’s family fled to this country to avoid starvation and massacre. Those who remained behind, perished. I point no fingers, recite no history lessons, mention no names. In this context, that information is completely useless. But in this context, it does provide an illustration. For if I did point fingers and mention names, I would be another catalyst for hate, and I would be building my own prison walls, which ultimately can and will manifest themselves as walls and borders between nations, crosses burned into lawns, fires set to mosques — you name the outer form and cry of ignorance, they are as many as they are tragic, and anyway, we know them all. And so I can only close by asking, what is it that you want, and do you understand why you think you want it? And do you understand the inevitable results? For we are already living with them, my friend.

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