The Affluent Must also Struggle
Affluence is Often Dangerous
Gardeners will tell you that too much watering harms the lawn. If you watered too copiously, your plants would be content to get their nourishment from the earth’s surface. They would not bother to grow roots deep enough to draw their supply from below. Further, down, there is not only water but also precious mineral food of all kinds. The shallow living plants miss these, and grow into weaklings. The deeper the root, the sturdier the plant.
I have often reflected on this peculiarity of plants. Does it not correspond with human life? Affluence is often dangerous to its possessors. Only those who grapple arduously with life’s problems develop these qualities or character—endurance, patience, the capacity to suffer privation. They are the sturdy plants in the world’s garden. They have sucked up from its depths the nourishment, which will help them face the rigors of life, fearlessly. Those who lack the incentive for striving, who find their needs supplied by a ready abundance, grow into weaklings.
People who have to struggle for their livelihood are spared this risk, since the normal course of their existence is sufficient to send their roots deeply into the soil of life and to give them the necessary toughening. Those who are affluent must also struggle. Theirs should be the greater privilege and the greater struggle—the struggle for ideals—for intellectual and moral growth, for the amelioration of the evils, which beset their fellow men.
The roots must go deeper if the plant is to grow sturdier.
Causes for Prejudice, Anger, Oppression and Even Violence
The miserableness of human life is made up of declamatory masses, each separated from the other by certain intervals. One year the demise of a child; years later, a bankruptcy in trade; after another retentive or shorter interval, a daughter may have married sadly; in all but the singularly inauspicious, the constitutional parts that compose the sum total of the unhappiness of a man’s life are easily counted and clearly remembered. Once you observe it is there, you do not hold on to it. The happiness of your life depends upon the timber of your thoughts, thus guard consequently, and take care, that you entertain no notions inapplicable to virtue and sensible nature.
There is something about the literary life that repels me, all this despairing building of castles on cobwebs, the long-drawn disharmonious struggle to make something imperative, which we all know, will be gone incessantly in a few years, the miasma of failure which is to me almost as nauseating as the cheap floridness of popular success. Recall that most poor weather conditions go hand-in-hand with a higher woods noise level. American Psychologist Lorne Ladner writes in his The Lost Art of Compassion,
Over the centuries, many violent deeds have been done in the name of religion. …. From a psychological perspective, it seems clear that it occurs when religion exists as a set of doctrines, ideas, rituals, and experiences divorced from any deep and expansive sense of empathy or compassion. Without empathy, people’s religious ideas become yet another means of seeing others as ‘different’ and of distancing oneself psychologically from them. Feeling disconnected in this way, people devaluate others, leading to intolerance and the tendency to inflict their view on others. When this happens, even the most beautiful and inspiring religious doctrines become like poison, serving as causes for prejudice, anger, oppression and even violence.
In addition, if perhaps such reduction were possible, what do we learn? We learn that there were possibly certain exceptional reasons or opportunities for the intensification of certain aboriginal (later adult) tendencies. While a lot of time is spent pursuing happiness, the grounds is compelling that if you plunge toward this unicorn straightaway, you will miss it by miles, and thus will not receive its illustrious forgivingness. In the end, you might find traces of the contentment and clarification they realized. The refinement of the imaginativeness leads to the development of the ideal out of which your future will egress.