I read a very interesting article tonight on a blog called Fangelsi in which the author reflected on the “sin” of poverty with a different slant. She attributes the “sin” of poverty to the actions of the greedy ones among us. Yes, I know. It is not uncommon for us to decry the greed of the worst of the lot, the Walton family, the Koch brothers, Hugh Grant (of Monsanto infamy) and so on. However, to phrase it as their “sin” that people are living in poverty was a new thought path for me to explore, since as a witch, I do not think in terms of sin, just accountability of action.
I began to wonder, while I was reading her article, if asked, how many of these people would make a claim of some sort of religiosity? In public, I suspect that many, if not all, would claim to be following some sort of religious doctrine. Then, they would drag up some sort of convoluted reasoning as to why their insane obsession with wealth does not actually prove them to be hypocrites of said professed faith.
In private, though, what do they claim to those who truly know them? What do they truly believe? For is it not in our heart of hearts that we will be judged in our next life? Are not the actions we take in this life weighed in some manner once we pass beyond the veil? As a witch who follows Ma’at, that answer is easy for me, of course!
“There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.” Mahatma Gandhi
Other than, those belief systems, which do not profess to have next life, we are held accountable for the choices we make in this life. Hmm, then, are these people so confident that they can do as they please, while millions suffer, unaided by their ability to provide relief and they will suffer no consequences? Are they so certain that they will not be judged? Do they think this is all there is and they do not care who they harm, as long as they die with the most money, most homes, most obscene amount of wealth ever accumulated?
What a staggering thought. I cannot imagine the arrogance of thinking that I can do whatever I please, harm millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions, even billions and escape retribution scot-free. Even if it were true that all belief systems that advise of an “after life” or an “after this incarnation” state were proven wrong, could I conceive of the desire to do as they do? Now this is a thought that I have had often in my 50+ years here, so I know the answer from years, nay, decades of soul searching. No. The answer is no.
When I had jobs that paid well and I was considered “well off” to casual observers, I enjoyed the heck out of spending my money. Unlike now, my bills were never late, I had sufficient clothing, a vehicle that worked, and my kids had everything they needed and much of what they wanted. My favorite spending though, my all time favorite… was the charities. Even though I am a “poor” witch now, the charities remain. Not on the grand scale, I used to enjoy, but discovering Kiva has made a world of difference in these pauper times. Thank you Lotus Butterfly for sending me the link!
Maybe it is in my mental wiring, hard-coded into my DNA, linked to something in past lives, I have no idea, but my addiction in this incarnation is charities! I like to run them, I like to work for them, and I like to spend on them. I really, really like to spend on them. As the Charity Coordinator at my former company, I was able to “pick and choose” charities to support. I have an inkling that the company expected me to “choose” the two that they officially supported. I did. Nevertheless, that was only utilizing two months a year. What fun is that when there are 12 months in a year? Duh! As such, we had a lot of fun in the call center during my witchy reign as coordinator before they closed it down and sent the jobs away, yet again. Call centers do this often, I have learned over the years.
“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” The Wizard
Yes, I know some people think that people who love charity work do it for the “glory” of being a do-gooder. Yeah, I am certain from meeting many of charity people that some do, but not me. I hated being the one to deliver the checks, books, toys, food, fans, whatever it was we collected, to the people or groups in need. Being the “Coordinator” has its privileges, though, one of which was picking who had to deliver all the stuff. After my first mistake in doing that one time, I never made the same mistake again. I like the doing, the buying, and the arranging of plans. Organizing runs, tracking the incoming items, money, etc. because it makes me smile, makes me giggle, it makes me rolling-around-on-the-floor-giddy. Shaking hands, being cried on, thanked, and praised as if doing this was something special and that I was special because of it. Pardon my language, but as the saying goes, “Aw HELL no, that ain’t me!” It is not as if the person(s) doing the presenting did all the work, gathered everything, and bought everything. It was a group effort and if you want someone to praise and cry on… do it to the group, not me! I preferred to be “the witch behind the curtain” rather than the “big head” taking the bows. It was accomplishing it that provided my joy, not credit.
I know it seems like I digress, and perhaps I do, but as I was reading her blog I thought about their money. All those tens of millions and tens of billions, what could I buy with that kind of money? How much fun would it be to have control over even a tenth of it? Then, a thought occurred to me. Have any of these ultra-wealthy people even supported a charity “from behind the curtain” at all? Yes, I know some of them do not support charities at all unless it is a blue-blood style charity. Giving money and getting a hospital wing named after them and ensuring they never have to wait in line for a doctor. Giving to their alma mater and having a building named in their honor is something they consider as the height of charity work. However, what about the sneaky kinds of charity? What about the charity where you do it but the recipient does not know it was you? A co-worker needs clothing and cannot afford it, so you order it and have it delivered to his desk? Shopping at Yule time and dropping money in the cauldron for the “Salvation Santa” is the first, but certainly not the only, or even most recent joys that I taught my sons. Did these “uber-wealthy” people ever get to do that as children? I doubt they ever went to stores to do their own gift shopping and if they did, their “minders” or parents would likely have not allowed them to approach a stranger for fear of the child being kidnapped. Did they ever get to go shopping as a secret Santa for an Angel Tree family with kids? If their family did anything for “those less fortunate” during the season, it was likely their parents made large donations from a distance, not hands-on, so he kids never saw it. Did they ever have the simple joy of paying for the order of the car behind them in line at a fast food restaurant just because there are kids all over the car and the driver looks frazzled and worried, counting out change even as they trying to order? Of course, not, they do not “drive through” restaurants, they have staff in their homes to purchase and prepare meals, or they go out to five-star establishments. There are no “poor” at five-star establishments. What about the joy of being pre-teen, teen, or adult washing cars to raise money for the “Jerry’s Kids” Marathon for Muscular Dystrophy? Nope. They missed that too, as there was staff for washing the family cars, one certainly does not purposefully wear grubby clothing, drive to the towns volunteer fire station and scrub the cars of strangers for a dollar.
“Greed is not a financial issue. It’s a heart issue.” Andy Stanley
I actually found myself thinking about how sorry I felt for them. They never had any fun. Not as children carrying the boot to collect donations, not as teens washing the cars. Not even as an adult with three overly tired, though happy sons sitting in the back seat of the car arguing over which of the Angel gifts they picked out was going to be the most popular with the other family’s kids. This begs the questions. Are they greedy, self-centered and money obsessed because they do not know how joyous it is to do for others? Do they not realize that being the unknown man or woman “behind the curtain” can make you giddy for days? If they had been raised with the joy of giving anonymously, would they be different?
However, then I thought about what I am always telling my sons, “What you are taught as a child is not what will define you, it is what you make of yourself as an adult.” The “uber-wealthy” may not have had the opportunities to learn the joy first hand as a child, but the only thing holding them back, now, is themselves. When they cross over to the other side of the veil, whether they are judged based on sin or accountability does not really matter in the end, only the actions themselves. May Ma’at weigh their hearts with accuracy.