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Author Topic: How much of the Harvest do we keep, how much is given?  (Read 18627 times)

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Eternal Seeker

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How much of the Harvest do we keep, how much is given?
« on: August 29, 2009, 09:31:16 PM »

   The time of harvest, when we reap the fruits of our efforts, is the time to discuss just how much of our wealth should be given to charity. Does our responsibility to mankind and the web of creation require us to be self-sacrificing?

   Consider the tree. The tree gives so much to the web of life: it pulls carbon and heavy metals from the air and puts fresh oxygen in its place; its root structure stabilizes the ground, moderating floods and preventing mudslides; it absorbs vast amounts of the Sun’s energy, converting deserts into temperate zones. Its leaves, seeds, and fruits are the source of nourishment for both animals and other plants.

   Does all this giving mean that trees are self-sacrificing? Have they taken a floral vow of poverty? By no means! They profit from their gifts- the pollution they absorb are their food and drink; the ground they stabilize is the support for their reach to the sky; the nourishment they give to animals is a bribe to help them reproduce.

   You are the tree. “You are a child of the universe; as much as the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here”. Like the tree, when you thrive, we all thrive. Like the tree, you have a right to compete with and even triumph over others- in the proper balance. But how do we find that balance? You have a right to enjoy the fruits of your own labor, but conspicuous consumption gnaws at the conscience... and yet if everyone lived as an ascetic, society would be worse off, not better. Where do you draw the line?

   As with so many other things, the answer is simple but the explanation of that answer is complex. Here it is in a nutshell: if the motive driving your desires is a positive one- the simple joy you will receive- do it! If the motivation is negative- envy, snobbery, a desire to be ‘better’ than those around you- abstain!

   As I have shown, the Goddess is a hedonist; she wants you to enjoy yourself. She fills the world with pleasures both coarse and sublime for you to gorge yourself on. Take her at her word, take it to the limit- she does nothing in half measures. Assuming that you obey the single restriction- harm none- and remembering that it also applies to harming yourself (including driving yourself bankrupt), there are no other limits to your pursuit of happiness. Your happiness, and the benefits to all of society from your being a happy, productive member of that society, far outweigh any resources you could drain in that pursuit. If the oddly syncopated rumble of a Harley Davidson motorcycle arouses a joy within you that cannot be reached in any other way, you should have that Harley!

   But... if you couldn’t care less what you ride or drive, and only want a Harley to see the look on your neighbor’s face- stop! Back away from the motorcycle and re-examine your life! If you’re reading a book you don’t enjoy because it’s the ’right’ book, put it down. Don’t drink a wine that tastes, to you, like vinegar because it has the ‘right’ label. You may think these are petty vanities, no more dangerous than overindulging in something you actually enjoy- but they are not. You are opening receptors to negative energies that will destroy you- and possibly many others.

   All natural appetites become sated. The belly gets filled, the head goes abuzz, the libido gets exhausted, and you bask in the knowledge that life is good. But the hunger to dominate, or to be feared, or to envied is a hunger that can never be sated. The harder you try, the more jaded your target audience becomes. The more difficult they become to reach, the more desperately you will reach for them. This is the path that led to the potlatch, a feast of conspicuous consumption- pearls being crushed as a garnish, for example, just to prove you were wealthy enough to do it. A person consumed by this lust would bankrupt the world just to see the look on our faces.

   So if you harm none, and you are truly enjoying yourself... indulge with a will! If your heart is pure, your joys will be many, and “no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

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Re: How much of the Harvest do we keep, how much is given?
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2009, 11:17:43 AM »

I just saw this post, ES.  It's a good one, filled with much wisdom.  Thanks for sharing it.

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Re: How much of the Harvest do we keep, how much is given?
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2009, 01:20:11 PM »

Yes, very good! 

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Ghost Wolf

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Re: How much of the Harvest do we keep, how much is given?
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2009, 05:55:47 PM »

It seems Mother Nature and Ayn Rand convey the same message - rational self interest.  :D
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