A good man
Is my life to be spent sitting at a desk dreaming of words I will never write? Will I spend my few hours of life comparing other’s words to my intellect and nothing else? What have I created? What have I achieved? What have I seen or done? Will I content myself with the meek existence of an inconsequential life?
"The meek will inherit the earth."
It does not appear to me to be true. My discontent blinds me from the truth. I look about myself and see a proud race of man that dominates the globe. Ignorant of its ignoble origins and its endless record of crimes. It seems that history has made its purpose the recording of every unsavory, murderous man. Shall I spend my life watching and reading of these atrocities?
What errant thought has escaped me that would have otherwise stimulated me to action? What is it that I wait for? What is it that I live for? Not why. How. What can I do with 'why'? What can't I do by asking how?
Is it my lot to keep my head down? Am I to 'suck it up and take it?' And yet what other forms of living do I desire? What other mode of living is available to me without having to degrade it and myself by running the rat's race. I do not wish to condemn man. I think by his actions he does that for himself. I only look for a way to live that does not drown me in theirs and my refuse.
The world is full of false names. So many that we no longer know each other. What is a Neoliberal? And how can I know one from another from the hundred millions? Shall I call them by their first or last? And what do the proletariat work for? Do they work for me? "Put down your shovel and your ax, your hammer, your sickle put down all your tools. I do not want your labor." Why do they work so hard? How do they work so hard? To what lash are they answerable? Why do you answer so civilly to five lashes, to ten, to any lashes at all? How do you answer civilly to any lashes at all? Put down your tools. I do not want your labor. Millionaires, with millions of dollars, have you thought about what you have or only on how to make more, or perhaps only how to keep from losing all you have? Have you thought about who money draws to you? I haven't a million to my name (and no it is not Neoliberal, it is Jon Stave), though I know myself to be rich in dollars compared to most of the world. I do not care for the people that come to call on me or rather on my money. I do not care for my money. I wish that I could give it up. It burdens me. I would gladly give it up if I knew that I would see the last of it, but it surrounds me. Everything has a price. I too have a price. I currently go for $9.25 an hour. I dissipate my life at $9.25 an hour. What is this strange paper that I spend my life for? The dollars full name is A-means-to-an End. But for what end should we spend our lives? Are not our ends, to the last of us, death. Would it not be better to find another means to that end? To be sure that end is assured and has no need of green paper rectangles.
Achievements? Pride, the atrocities of history, names, money, the means and ends of man? I, who have been blessed with more than most, condemn what I have been given. What unthankful heart! Discontentment, leave me be. What shallow hole within me do you reside? How have I allowed you to take up residency here? By this means then I go to my end, I will root you out Discontentment. You are not welcome. Whatever vacancy you occupy I evict you from. I save that apartment for another more worthy than you. What noble virtue could have found shelter there had it not been for you? What purer hope could have rested here? What would in the cesspool you leave behind? How do I reconsecrate these halls?
Step by step. Action by action. Thought by thought. It is the great gift of life that life's end can be achieved step by step. There is no need for dollars. There is no need for new names. There is no need to qualify each step or thought. What bad man has thought such? Step by step, thought by thought.
I do not think that I am inherently bad. If there is any sin that is inherent to me it is either my ignorance or my imperfect memory. Often I have thought, "The only sin is to forget." If I have hurt you, it is only because I did not know. What malice I found in me is only from my ignorance. A common prayer I give to the wind, "God, take from me my ignorance, make perfect my memory."
How evil man becomes in his virtues. Often our virtue blinds us from the slow creep of vice into our souls. The virtue becomes our vice. How focused we are, nay, how blind! How prudent, or is that your fear? What work ethic, or is that unrestrained ambition?
A common prayer I send aloft, "God, do not hollow out in me the capacity for greatness without first finding me good." A great man is not a good man. Greatness does not hold any moral affiliation. A great man does great good and great evil both. Often it is his greatness that blinds him from his vice. And should my capacity for greatness be but little, then I will content myself with the knowledge that I was never afforded the possibility of ever doing any great evil.
What a great burden lifted to be simply a good man.