"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Money Breaks the Chain of Desire and Effect

It is too easy, I wrote the other day, for our materialistic emotions to override any fleeting feelings of spiritual conscience! But we need that conscience. In the day to day rush of our lives we quickly forget those many parts of the world where finding the basic necessities of life, warmth, clean air, medicine, clean water, food and housing is a daily and often dangerous struggle. Are we sure that how we earn, spend, save and invest our money is not in some way adversely affecting our fellow human beings in less fortunate parts of the world? And do we care?
It has been said that one of the underlying problems with money is that ‘…it breaks the chain of desire and effect. [It] provokes people to act, for the sake of payment, in a fashion that, if they knew how the action would turn out, they would not contemplate.’(1)
It is all too easy to ‘tell the world to get lost’ and at least in our dreams ride off into the distance like the beautiful lady in the advertisement. (previous blog post) That is no solution. Escapism is no way to a clear conscience. We really do need to fight our complacency and apathy. People are suffering as we all read this and actions need to be taken. Of course we have to alleviate as much suffering as possible immediately, but without at any time losing sight of the longer term plan of rescue. For those victims of war, poverty, disease and drought, life is a daily struggle for survival. Getting those people back on their feet is a much more effective long-term strategy than any amount of aid that we can give now. A good example was the story of Grameen Bank and the poor Bangladeshi women (15th November blog post).

1. James Buchan, Frozen Desire – the Meaning of Money, New York: Welcome Rain Publishers, 2001, p. 48, where he describes the painting by Rembrandt entitled Judas, Repentant, Returning the Pieces of Silver and how it captures the ‘strangeness of money’ and the devastating realization by Judas that for…pieces of silver he has brought about the assassination of Jesus Christ. Painted 1629 – one of Rembrandt’s early paintings.

To be continued…

Adapted from Healing this Wounded Earth © Eleanor Stoneham 2011

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