The Labor of Thine Hands

13 Aug 2012

John Rogers:

I type for a living, and my stupid little typing creates a couple hundred jobs. I’m an actual job creator, which was the last damn thing anybody expected when I started telling jokes in bars. And I don’t think that raising my tax rate by 3.4% so you, my fellow citizen, won’t lose your … house when your kid gets cancer, or maybe we get a functioning power grid or roads that wouldn’t be substandard in ZIMBABWE is “socialism”. It’s basic. Goddam. Decency.

So long have we been told that we are owed the fruits of our labour that we have forgotten that fruit grows on trees, that this planet has not been parcelled off into acres and plots ready for us to stake claim to. We fight each other over imaginary lines because we believe that this land can be owned and cultivated into possessions that belong to us. “This is mine” creates the individual, creates the human being that is capable of seeing itself as separate from the world. By all of this, we are made to be alone.

This is a loneliness that we feel in our souls, it is an emptiness that cannot be made full by the amount of this world that we claim to hold dominion over. Pile all of your possessions together and they will have made nothing more than a pile. We do become greater by the size of our houses nor the models of our cars; we are not made superior by virtue of our acquisitions nor by the balances of our bank accounts.

We have forgotten the fable of Midas, of his insatiable prayer and his great abundance. He who desired to be the wealthiest of the world and, to his eternal misfortune, gathered riches aplenty. Like us, he too was filled with pride by the measure of his prosperity, but at the end he found himself starving and alone.

We should seek after better notions than that.

We should seek to be better people than that.