31 October 2011

Between the Embers and the Stars, Occupation

I tripped over this lovely quotation in a favorite book of mine, while searching for something else (serendipitous discoveries always satisfy).

It is not surprising that the rebelling children of affluence can be so easily persuaded that private property is the root of all evil and led to project as their vision of the Kingdom a condition they think “natural”—one in which the world would belong only to God or to an anonymous “all,” while each human, unburdened by possessions, would contribute his all to a common store while drawing from it what he thinks he needs. They will not be dissuaded by the recognition that animals in fact have their cherished belongings and defend them fiercely, nor by the nightmare of alienation which that vision has wrought among humans. A different truth presses in on them—the depersonalization of humans and nature alike by the quest for possession.

The conflict they are experiencing is once more the intrinsic conflict between love and instrumentality, though on a deeper level—the conflict of being and having to which neither the solution of poverty nor that of affluence can be consistently applied. We are incarnate beings: for us, having and being are inseparable. To be at all means to have a body and a place in the world which are my own.
Erazim Kohak, The Embers and the Stars

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