Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Reflection: Wisdom And Power

Solomon said that "in much wisdom comes much grief and he that increases knowledge, increases sorrow". I don't know about you, but it makes perfect sense to me. The more we all know and understand, the more we have to worry about. There is another old saying that says, "ignorance is bliss". The less we know, the less we have to concern us. But that isn't rooted in anything as sound as a Solomonic piece of writing.

The same Solomon also said, "Happy is the man that finds wisdom, and the man that gets understanding". And while this sounds like a contradiction of sorts, there is a clear message being communicated in all of this: All things come at a cost.

Today, we see a world in which there are few considerations as to what costs may be incurred, when something is desired and sought after. Someone wants something because it sounds good or it is stylish, and yet they have not taken into account the amount of sacrifice or the very responsibilities that may come with the thing they truly desire.

Power is one of those things. Many seek it, but few know how to manage it once it is acquired.

Power is the ultimate lust. It is intoxicating and can cloud an otherwise wise man's ability to perform in a moral and ethical manner. Even Solomon succumbed to his power as king over Israel and died in quite an unhappy state. As a result of this deceptive seduction, I have always had a proverb of my own - similar to the first Solomon quote in this post: With much power comes much responsibility.

Too bad the people that inhabit Washington cannot grasp this simple concept. Too bad they won't even try. Because if they did, they would behave in a manner that would be better suited to serve the people they represent rather than rule and reign over them, like lords in the days of feudalism.

If they could reach this level of understanding, think of the things we could accomplish in our nation and our communities. Think of the problems we could all solve. But, I am afraid their senses of duty and moral obligation (if they ever existed at all) have left them - once they realized they could implement their will on the people who sent them there, unabated.


8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cincinnatus stands out because he was one of the few men in history ever handed absolute power, and then handed it back again once he’d defeated the Aequians and the Sabines. He may have been, in fact, the only man ever to do such a thing. But be not critical of the politicians in Washington; they cannot help who they are, or even how they behave. It’s a genetic defect, I think. No … we should be looking at the idiots who, knowing what these politicians are, keep electing them. A politician cannot have power unless WE give it to them. Sheep are easily led, which it seems to me the main purpose of government run public education programs.

Semper Fi

Mustang

LASunsett said...

Some would say that George Washington was also an example of selfless public sevice, in the mold of Cincinnatus. They wanted to make him king, he refused.

No doubt they would have elected him to more terms, had he chosen to run for them. All but one President after him followed his precedent, until FDR.

L'Amerloque said...

Hello Mustang ! Hello LAS !

---Cincinnatus stands out because he was one of the few men in history ever handed absolute power, and then handed it back again once he’d defeated the Aequians and the Sabines.---


Ah, The Society of the Cincinnati comes immediately to mind …


/// The Society of the Cincinnati is a historic organization with branches in the United States and France founded in 1783 to preserve the ideals and fellowship of the Revolutionary War officers and to pressure the government to honor pledges it had made to officers who fought for American independence.[2] Now in its third century, the Society is a nonprofit historical and educational organization that promotes public interest in the American Revolution through its library and museum collections, exhibitions, programs, publications, and other activities.

…/…

Within 12 months of the founding, a constituent Society had been organized in each of the 13 states and in France. Of about 5,500 men originally eligible for membership, 2,150 had joined within a year. King Louis XVI ordained the French Society of the Cincinnati, which was organized on July 4, 1784 (Independence Day). Up to that time, the King of France had not allowed his officers to wear any foreign decorations; but he made an exception in favor of the badge of the Cincinnati, and membership in the Society was so eagerly sought that it soon became as coveted as membership of certain orders of French nobility.

…/…

Many of the Society's goals have already become reality. The Society of The Cincinnati was instrumental in ensuring that the Federal government provided pensions for veterans of the Revolutionary War. The concept of military retirement pay, health care and benefits for disabled veterans and retired and former military personnel, and compensation for war widows and orphans were also primary goals of The Society. It took many years to bring these visions and goals to fruition. As an example, it was not until 1834 that Revolutionary War Veterans received pensions, and 1865 before service-connected disability and survivors' compensation programs came into existence. It was not until 1930, with the inception of the federal Veterans' Administration, that the United States began to have a comprehensive, consolidated system for caring, compensating, and memorializing those who served in the uniformed services; and not until 1989, with the creation of the federal Department of Veterans' Affairs, were these concerns elevated to separate cabinet-level status. The Society's goals have served to benefit both enlisted and officers, their families, and people of all races, ethnicities, and creeds. With the veterans' agenda of the Society of the Cincinnati largely achieved, the Society today is a "Society of Friends" whose purpose has shifted to educating the public about the history, principles and values that served as the foundation for the inception of the United States of America.…/…///

http://tinyurl.com/44yua8

Some of the current French members remind Amerloque of the self-centeredness of the DAR … while others are more, er, inclined to serve the greater good. (grin)

Best,
L’Amerloque

Always On Watch said...

Many of Solomon's apparent contradictions are actually paradoxes.

In addition, life itself isn't always consistent.

Anonymous said...

Some of the current French members remind Amerloque of the self-centeredness of the DAR … while others are more, er, inclined to serve the greater good.

My daughter would qualify for membership in the DAR, but she has a superior sense about what is important, and what is not. Like the DAR, membership in today's organizations is restricted to the descendants of those who were original society members. I suppose then we should assume that there were no selfless patriots after the original group ... and the word smug comes to mind.

Semper Fi

Mustang

LASunsett said...

Thanks for the info and the link, Amerloque. Very interesting.

As always, we are a little smarter after reading something you shared with us.

LASunsett said...

//In addition, life itself isn't always consistent.//

You are right. It isn't.

No two people are alike, no two lives are alike. No two situations are alike, no two outcomes are alike.

Every case stands by itself.

LASunsett said...

//I suppose then we should assume that there were no selfless patriots after the original group ... and the word smug comes to mind.//

I have always thought of it more as a social institution used to project and display one's status, as in a resume builder or something to brag about at the ladies auxillary. Of course I am not willing to say this is true in all cases. But most, I would say is an accurate approximation.