EmPulse for Week of May 30, 2011
“Везде, где есть корыто, там Вы найдете свиньи.”
Considered to be the father of modern Russian literature and the foremost of Russian poets, Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (1799 – 1837), wrote a novella in 1832 that was not published until 1841, after his death. Dubrovsky. Though a tragic love story of a young nobleman (Dubrovsky) whose land was confiscated by a greedy aristocrat (Troekurov), who then falls in love with the aristocrat’s lovely daughter, Masha, and then gets shot in a duel with her father…, and, oh, never mind. The point is that in his novella, Pushkin grants us a less-than-gracious commentary on contemporary society with— Везде, где есть корыто, там Вы найдете свиньи. Wherever there is a trough, there you will find pigs.
Sadly, this observation is blatantly apparent. It alludes to a world where prosperity abounds (aristocratic elitism); herein we find gentility, grace, refinement, philanthropy (to a point), and excessive amounts of money gathered together within the property of a small segment of population. Enter the pigs; those for whom enough is never enough; the greedy, ravenous, voracious predators whose appetite for more is insatiable. Such was the case in Pushkin’s era: such is the case in ours. It is observable from Wall Street speculators, to Hollywood’s wannabes. It pervades our pharmaceutical commerce down to our Welfare recipients. Where there is a trough… . Pigs.
When you were a kid what brought you delight? A bear, a doll, a new bat or magic star-wand? What satisfies you now? Granted, as we mature our desires mature alongside; but for many of us, we come to a point when our wants overtake our needs. We want everything, rationalizing that we truly need it. Hummm. Even so, in a society with an abundance of discretionary wealth expenses will ALWAYS rise to meet income. Pigs?
In every era throughout history there have been individuals who have forgone their station in life and chosen to do with less— Siddhārtha Gautama (the “awakened one,” the Buddha), Jesus (the “promised one,” the Christ), Charles Wesley, Mohandas Gandhi, Robert G. LeTourneau, Bill & Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, David Rockefeller— all lived/live on far less than life might have granted them. ALL gave away more then they needed to live, from Jesus’ fish to THE PLEDGE [the group of billionaires who have agreed to give away 50% of their personal wealth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Giving_Pledge)]. But giving is not the exclusive business of billionaires. You and I have just as much responsibility to care for our world’s needy as do they.
The buck stops here.
Rather, the buck should start here. In these days of financial hardship for many, it should behoove us to give out of our poverty as much as others can give from their wealth (Mark 12:41-44, Luke 21:1-4). We are none so poor as to lack a modicum of grace toward others. And it’s not just about the money.
There will always be Toughs aplenty that draw us to suck of their bounty. There will always be Pigs who will do so. But we can choose to do otherwise…, in every area of life.
Have a nice week,