Buy the Truth and Sell it NotWritten by grailking
Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.Proverbs 23:23 (King James Version)
Truly a proverb for our times. Our recent financial crisis was brought about by people misrepresenting the truth for financial gain. From Wall Street hustlers, to those seeking loans for homes they couldn't afford, liars who value money over their own integrity and the truth have cost themselves and the world as a whole trillions of dollars and incalculable human suffering.
It's not my purpose to proselytize for a particular religion. I merely find Solomon's turn of phrase exceptionally to the point. Later, in the New Testament is where the phrase "Love of money is the root of all evil." appears - also particularly apt.
Money is indeed a very useful tool as a medium of exchange for goods and services, but when it becomes and end in itself and a primary motivation behind a human life, it cause real harm. We call certain people "materialistic", yet they don't love, or even deeply appretiate the materials such as food, clothing, housing, as much as they do the number on the bank balance or stock portfolio.
Wherever you find money as the primary motivating factor behind a life decision, you may be certain of disappointment. Most would agree that marrying for money is a bad idea, but what about selecting a career? If you decide the bulk of your waking hours will be spent in activities solely for the purpose of making money, you have sold yourself short and will spend your days living in a world separated from the true nature of a human life.
Not only will you lose huge chunks of the time of your life, spent performing tasks that are not enjoyable for their own sakes, but you will spend your off hours figuring out how to invest and protect your money, instead of enjoying the rare gift of existence that is a human life.
Money also insulates us from certain unpleasant truths about ourselves. Make a mess and pay someone else to clean it up. Generate mounds of refuse, pay to have it hauled away and buried. Enjoy delicious meats of every description, but pay someone else to kill, disembowel, dismember and package it. Protect an overly consumptive lifestyle by buying legislators to vote for laws favoring the rich and in support of wars to protect access to oil.
What would a world look like in which every person direclty faced the consequences of their actions? If all the trash generated by a household stayed on their property, they would likely create less refuse, because they would have to do the unpleasant work of carting it off, or live with a 10 foot high pile of garbage on their lawn.
We would likely eat healthier if we had to dispatch and dress all the animals we use for food. It would also improve the lot of the creatures themselves because "factory farms" would no longer exist.
If the tycoons and captains of industry of today had to go physically protect their interests abroad, war be be almost unknown and safer, cleaner forms of energy would be readiliy available, making for a cleaner environment and providing energy independence for nations and individuals alike.
So far, we have looked at examples of obfuscating the truth to gain economic benefit, and spending money to avoid looking at the unpleasant realities our lives necessarily entail. Both are examples of "selling the truth".
The question the proverb begs is: How do you buy the truth?
It should be noted that money is not the root of all evil, but the LOVE of money. If you love money more than anything else, it follows you will sacrifice anything else if it stands to either make or save you money. If you love your fellow human beings, the planet, animals, peace, health, and/or any higher purpose, you will spend money to further that cause. You will buy books and attend classes, spend time researching and working, pay attention to things that threaten that which you love and, according to the dictates of wisdom, you will necessarily pay attention when greed threatens the very fabric of life and the ecosystem upon which we all depend.
Truth - we must choose pay the price to learn the truth,and act accordingly. We can profit monetarily from obfuscating and prevaricating, but money for money's sake is poor reward for losing self respect and harming our species and our planet as a whole.
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Thought for the Day
Ralph Waldo Emerson
American Poet, Essayist