Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wise Council

“The soul, when accustomed to superfluous things acquires a strong habit of desiring others which are necessary neither for the preservation of the individual nor for that of the species. This desire is without limit; whilst things which are necessary are few, and restricted within certain bounds. Lay this well to heart, reflect on it again and again; that which is superfluous is without end (and therefore the desire for it also without limit).

What more can I say? Since I read this piece, it has pervaded my consciousness.

Thus you desire to have your vessels of silver, but golden vessels are better; others even have vessels studded with sapphires, emeralds, or rubies.

I understood the desire for the faster car, and the bigger house and more money. Now I begin to look for it in my life...

Those, therefore, who are ignorant of this truth, that the desire for superfluous things is without limit, are constantly in trouble and pain.

What I understand from this then is that this is one of the existential causes of our discomfort. This gives me a place to look for my own desires for superfluous things.

When they thus meet with the consequences of their course they complain of the judgements of God; they go so far as to say that God’s power is insufficient, because He has given to this Universe the properties which they imagine cause these evils.
Moses Maimonides 1190 from "The Book of Jewish Thoughts"

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