arguing with Bart
May 30, 1997 05:07 PM
by liesel f. deutsch
Now that Chou chou has decided to get up from sleeping on my desk in front
of my key board, I'm going to try to find what Roberto Assagioli had to say
about money. It's the most practical Theosophical statement I've yet read,
but I don't remember it too well by heart. What he wrote solidified my
opinion, only he says it better. It's "Transpersonal Development" p. 213
ff. I don't have a scanner, so I'll paraphrase. Anyone interested can look
up the whole thing for him(her)self.
"Spirituality... is not a form of idealism separate from life itself ...
(but) is concerned with life's problems from a higher ... point of view ....
testing everything on the basis of true values, endeavoring to reach the
essence of every fact, neither allowing oneself to stop at external
appearances nor be taken in by traditionally accepted views, by the way the
world at large looks at things, or by our own inclinations emotions and
"The spiritual view of life ... is extremely revolutionary, dynamic, and
The 2 most pressing problems assailing mankind today concern love and money.
"If we examine ourselves with that courageous openness that is a
prerequisite for any authentic spiritual life, we willl recognize that the
thought of money strikes a deep, intense chord within us,.... a confusion of
obscure emotions .... currents of fear, greed, and attachment ... feelings
of guilt, envy, resentment... Keyserling says the orginial fear refers to
want ... "fear of not having enough food, of hunger" from this arises a
safety instinct, the instict of ownership.
The other basic tendency is Original Hunger or Greed, we're always seeking
for the infinite, therefore for more.
"In our materialistic civiliazation both these tendencies manifest
themselves in the frenzy to acquire and keep the largest possible amount of
money and material goods... It can often overcome the self preservation
"Many centuries before the Buddha' Indians" "would become sannyasin, living
"Jesus often used strong words... His most energetic was when he used a whip
to chase the money changers whose greed led them to desecrate the temple..."
Question "Is it necessary to condemn money to live a spiritual life?" and
"if yes, is it feasible in this day and age?" Present day Fransciscans use
all modern day devices.
The old testament states that prosperity indicates God's favor, and poverty
We've improved material nature, God's gift to us, made plants better,
trained & bred animals to both our advantages.
"Our first spiritual act ... is to free ourselves from the fascination of money
>>>>>.... Let us... with an unclouded vision, and calm indifference reduce
it to what it actually is: a mere instrument, a useful device, a practical
>>>"Material things.... do not... contain any intrisic evil. From a
naturalistic point of view they are things; from the religious point of view
they are gifts of God. Thus their significance to us depends on our inner
attitude to them. and the use we choose to make of them. <<<<<
"Understanding this basic fact clarifies a number of spiritual and practical
issues... The absence of external possessions does not ... resolve the
problem... if a poor man has desire for material goods ... if he is bitter
inside... he will still, psychologically be their slave."
"A rich man who is morally detached from his posessions ... has solved some
of the problem... he must then come to terms with his fellows... Inner
liberation must be followed by correct use of one's possessions. If one
accepts that everything comes from God ... the man may only consider himself
as the trustee of the material goods of which he has "legal" ownership.
(I don't like the examples he cites... Ford, Rockefeller ... Edison, ok.)
I'll stop here. I think you get the idea.
He doesn't really make the conclusion I came to for myself, only skirts
around it. I think is money is only good for what it can get you, which is
sometimes better health preservation, a good standing in the community, and
neither is to be sneezed at. Anyway, I think if you use your money to get
yourself the things that really make you happier and more comfortable,
that's what money is for. If you have an excess, well, then I agree with
Assagioli, it's nice to think of it as a gift of God to be used wisely, but
certainly not to be spurned. One doesn't spurn gifts of God. What for? Also,
from the point of view of one who had to struggle for a long time without
much money, it's very nice to have some. To me, that goes for people as well
as for Lodges. I think that if they need money to function properly they
should have it. It's not only the root of much evil it's also the root of
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