If you would like to drop some words..just your AGREE OR NOT TO AGREE..is enough...
I Demand My Share
Few occasions lend themselves more easily to a mood of gentle philosophizing than the first few hours after pay day in the office. The feel of a pay envelope in the pocket seems to release the spring of quite reflection in the mind.
Not even death has power to startle so many stray reflections into life. Death challenges the mind and then smothers it with fear of the Unknown; money stirs the mind into asking questions and demanding appropriate answers.
What, it may be asked, has a pay envelope to do with the large question of human destiny? It has everything to do with it. Man it is true cannot leave by bread alone but neither can he live without it, and bread costs money. The bread and butter that I ate this morning thus becomes, by the simple process of reducing things to their elements, the cornerstone of a mansion of philosophy.
I like to think that I am as close to the hypothetical "average man" as it is possible to anyone to be. I have average wants and requirements. I like the good things in life. I love work, the work that best suits my abilities, less for material reward I get for it than for the pleasure of doing that which I know I can best perform.
I crave no of the luxuries that are dear to those accustomed to "conspicuous consumption." I despise meaningless luxury no less than severe asceticism. I believe that life is far too precious to be wasted on the expensive trifles with which the idle rich often burden day and night. But I believe also the fact of life is far too beautiful to be scared with the injuries of want and privation.
Every time I go out in the country and see men and women bent with toil in the fields form morn till night, I say to myself: Man is still very much of a brute, in the matter of securing a livelihood worse off than many a beast in the jungle. I need no other proof that human civilization is still primitive than the sight of a ricefield where poor ignorant peasants are hard at work to wrest a bare living out of the earth, and do little else besides.
Why must man, that superior being created in the image of God, master of all the surveys, live in the perpetual slavery to his physical needs? Man is separated from the brute, we are reminded, by his superior mental and moral equipment. He is dowered with gifts of mind and heart that are denied other creatures; he has the gift of laughter. He can thrill to the smell of fragrant flowers, the savor of good food, the splendor of infinite spaces and the stars that look down upon him, the beauty of art and nature, the illumination of great thoughts, the majesty of God.
But this noble and unique being is condemned to live in a world in which these extraordinary gifts must largely go to waste. Toiling in field or factory, he knows not the smell of flowers or the savor of good food. The stars shine down upon him unfeeling and cold. Beauty passes by and he may not turn his head to look, for he is to weary to care. The great thoughts of mankind are closed book to him. He may not even indulge his gift of laughter as freely as he might; life as he knows it is too terrible to permit the indulgence. His worship is born of a desire for material blessings and not of longing for spiritual meditation and communion with God.
And the thoughts occur to me: It is good to be alive. If only so much of life were not spent in the making of a living! How pathetic it is that man must waste himself earning a livelihood instead of earning a living!
And the thought gives rise to another: People talk of minimum living-wage, social security and so forth. They say that this is the way of progress and civilization. But I say that security is not itself the thing that really counts; it is rather what things of good account a man will be free to do when security has become truly his own.
Man is more than beast; therefore let him live as more than beast. Beast also work that they may eat and live; let man work, not alone that he may eat and live, but that he may achieve self-realization.
My pay envelope tells me more eloquently than anything else that I live in the prison of my wants. I want to shatter the walls of the terrible prison. I want to be free to look up to the star of my destiny and by its kind light be guided along the path of self-realization.
Science can be put to beneficent uses, instead of mass slaughter and ruthless destruction. Science can reduce the enormous effort that man now exerts in order to produce his bread and butter. As a matter of fact, it has already created the means by which these can be done even now. But first, greed must be rooted out of the heart of man. The desire for mere accumulation of wealth must be discouraged. Only then can science can be harnessed to the satisfaction of man's primary necessities.
It has been estimated that with the productive means at the disposal of fully civilized communities, each individual person needs to labor only four or five hours each day in order to produce the things he needs to satisfy his hunger, to clothe his body, and to raise a roof over his head. The rest of his waking hours he may then spend in fruitful leisure, in doing the things that have nothing to do with living.
But he cannot do this because there are people who would have more of the things of the world than they really need, and thus must deprive others of their just share of life's necessities. This is the situation, reduced to the simplest terms, that has given rise to the wealth of the few and the poverty of many.
If I emphasize man's material needs, I do not inference deny that there is a spiritual side to his being. I believe in the spirituality of man. But I also believe that the spirit is the flower of the body, and the flower can only be as beautiful and as fragrant as the well-being of the body will allow.
The spirit of the man cannot be free so as long as it is tethered to the urgencies of material want. If true happiness is best achieve through detachment from material things, then man can only be happy to the extent that he is exempted from worrying continually over the satisfaction of his primary wants.
I quite agree that the life spiritual is superior to the physical. Let our wants be simple as possible, let the enrichment of the spirit be our aim. But the admonition must apply to the rich and the poor alike, or rather to the rich more than the poor. Let the poor have first what material things lack most utterly and let the rich give themselves over to the pursuit of the joys of the spirit. Only then shall the spirit of man bloom luxuriantly in the creation of art and music and poetry and the enjoyment thereof, and in the worship of God.
Asceticism I consider to be negative and stultifying. Life can be simple without being ascetic: The doctrine of self-denial is valid but only up to a certain point; I cannot accept as the way true happiness and to the fullest flowering of the human personality, the way of renunciation, poverty and mortification. I love life and the good things it has to offer. Nothing in the world is too good for a man.
I am an inheritor of all good and beautiful things. Not only food and raiment for my body , but all things of good report-all that have power to make our brief sojourn upon the earth pleasant, generous, and fruitful. I feel that I am entitled to lay claim to these because I too am willing to give generously of myself to the sum of things.
I am the inheritor of the best that the spirit of man has created. I feel that I am worthy of it, and I demand my share.
Edited by melody, 08 November 2010 - 03:17 PM.