‘Where there remains no more to be given, there is the limit; for it is not liberality to procure by base means what you can give away.’ To me this seems wittily said; for if you get the means of giving foully you become miserly in order to be generous. (453)
The Gilded Age, markedly illustrated by Leo Decrapio raising a glass of bubbly by his Hollywood pool, was a time of wondrous excess. A few rich guys ran the whole show. The conditions for immigrants and poor were appalling. People lived in shacks, worked fifteen hour days and barely had enough food. In this time alcoholism was born, or I should say reborn. Why not get drunk to oblivion when life is darker than a dungeon cellar? Votes were purchased and buying a house was an interest scam to take away what little money you had. And yet, Carnegie started a university. Thanks Carnegie. Is your middle name melon? Or maybe you were just a melon-head. I’m coming from a place of love. But really, a small bandaid does very little on a gaping wound. We needed morphine packets, for guts were spilling on the field. It is insulting for a nurse greet a gun shot victim with vitamin c gummy bears, isn’t it?
Today, we have immigrants who are kind of like slaves. They do jobs other people won’t do, and endure the conditions others won’t do because they believe in civil rights. Do they believe in civil rights or THEIR OWN civil rights? People in America who lack basic civil rights aren’t in America, right? That is a different county your talking about…Or am I?
But encourage yourself! Wealthy people are many and treasure is what the mind desires most. The real question is what treasure you seek. Is it time? A listening ear? A loving companion? A hard worker? There are many ways to be generous! And one is just as valuable as the next. Value is so much more expansive than coin. Just like a field doesn’t have just one flower, a community is not without its diverse gifts. But only flat-headedness cries for blood money.
I can only give what I have. I can’t give what I don’t have. What we all have is time. Time to receive the gifts which I give readily. I have the choice to whom I give those gifts, based on how I received them. So to determine how you give, figure out what you want to give and then give it readily in proportion to that which you recieve. And when you receive gifts, figure out where they come from. Bloody coin has built many temples. Our shirts are often made in China, Bangladesh or God knows where else. These workers, outside the realm of what we modern 1st worlders call “civil rights”, endure appalling work conditions. It is a blinders that we put on ourselves to not see this. Like Seabiscuit, we run as fast as we can towards the finish without taking the time to look up and realize the end is only our death. So one might as well enjoy the race. Also, a note about bloody coin: What does it say about the buyer? The seller? Is it just to receive that which is ill-gotten? Sensitivity to the historical notes and originations of what we buy, which makes us who we are, may change the way we choose to live.
“Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.”