What are you working with, and why?
Posted by Ron Coleman on February 10, 2008
My thoughts this morning on a Jewish religious discussion blog — sometimes I think of something original, or an original way to put it, and I think I hit on something today:
It is much easier to dedicate oneself to [spiritual / social religious goals] when working from a position of “strength” in terms of the [good fortune] and [blessings] that one is working with in life. God forbid a person who comes into the world with superior endowments — and these can take many, many forms of course — judges another person without realizing what [burden] that other one is carrying.
On the other hand, I think, woe to him who does have “everything” — and this, too, can be something very different from what an adolescent might consider a “fantasy life”; quite a little thing could, for the right person, be “everything” — and squanders the chance to be what he can be. The shadow of wasted potential hovers over so many of us, including those of us who can do just a little for someone else to give them, perhaps, the “everything” they have only ever needed…
One of my burdens in this life is a lack of humility. I kept going back and reading this today, like Narcissus in his mirror. Frankly I could have broken out the syntax a little more artfully; it is not the prettiest thing I have written in the last week.
But I really do think I hit on something here.
There is something thing worse than your own wasted potential which, after all, can take tremendous efforts to overcome. It is standing by watching someone else spin his wheels, and you can, with very little effort, help him out of the ditch. Your friend’s beast collapses under its burden? Surely you will help him raise it. This a moral obligation.
That I believe this, of course, is the reason I am not a libertarian, or anything like it.
Are these sentiments merely a sop for my own guilt over my natural, and unseemly, self-regard? Perhaps — but whatever it takes. Whatever it takes to make you feel it. Whatever it takes. As I said, that is the burden I have to bear, and that’s what I choose to make of it, and of myself.