24 November 2010

Hold This Lamp for a Sec, Will Ya?

from Proverbs Two
  • First you have to receive the words.
  • Then you store them.
  • When you're ready, remove them from their packaging and listen.  If you can hear them, move to the next step.
  • Which is to feel them in your heart.
  • The resonance between the inner ear and a beating heart is a clever one--not as easily discerned as one would like.  Much can go wrong in that communication loop, so do what most reasonable people do:  Call for understanding.
  • But don't just call for it--seek it, pursue it, search out like one would go after silver or gold or a precious jewel--like an object of value.  
  • (Remind yourself, however, that we're not talking *objects* here but materially ethereal but substantively (when realized) quite formidable.

If you find this treasure, after following these steps, you will know it.  And then, of course, there is the practical matter of applying it to your life.  Which is easier said than done.

Conclusion:  Wisdom is knowable as a dyad:  the object of pursuit and the realization, in living, of its attainment.

"That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.  For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the whole-hearted shall remain in it."

I find myself thinking a lot lately about how some of the most upright people I've met don't have access to or the means of ownership of property.  They dwell "in the land" but don't possess it, since  possession, for better and worse, is not always value neutral.  There are those who work fair and square for what they have; and there are bad people who do bad things to good people in order to get what they have, which complicates the picture when we set to contemplating things like wisdom.

"Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."  People sometimes forget that before Jefferson set to crafting the Declaration of Independence, George Mason had written for Virginia's Declaration of Rights, that one is to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of property as well.  Happiness was of a moral concern; property, as Franklin put it, was a resource to be taxed.

I'm with Franklin.  I would prefer to make more money but I don't really have a problem giving it away, especially when I know that it's the price of membership in this shul--Congregation United States of America--and the taxes require that we're protected by an army, that our transportation is maintained, that our schools teach our children, that we care for our poor, that we ensure access to health care, and that we clean up the messes we make.

What we possess is a gift; how we protect it is, paradoxically, the privilege of living generously.  The treasures we pursue and do not bury for our own safe-keeping are treasures unearthed, clearly understood, and spread forth, radiantly--a light for all to, well, possess.

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