Sunday, November 23, 2008


It is difficult if not impossible these days not to think about money. Everyone, everywhere seems to be catching the fading green virus that began here in the states and is now spreading ominously across the globe. Not only does it appear that our famed financial experts live in houses of straw, but one is uncertain if any houses made of brick actually exist. And the big bad wolf has entered the village determined to huff, and to puff, and to blow some things down.
While I am cognizant of the fact that the situation is serious and I certainly appreciate that money is a crucial commodity for us all, there seem to be pivotal issues in the air at the moment, more essential issues, and those have led me to contemplate the somewhat skewed and earthbound meanings that seem to have been bestowed on our twenty-first century ideas of worth, of value and of success. How do we define success? Do we feel someone is worth more, or is more successful, when their bank account is chubby? How exactly do we measure our own value as a lone individual wandering the world at present? What is our definition of greatness, for a country or for an individual?
As is my wont, whenever I am in a pondering mood, I turn to my books, for I know others before me have surely studied over the same questions as I at some point in their lives, and history is such a great teacher. It is often a comfort to read what greater minds than mine have had to say on whatever subject I am mulling over. At the start of this, our Thanksgiving holiday week, I found this particular passage from a speech given by Bobby Kennedy in 1968 especially meaningful. Perhaps you will also.

..the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.

Painting above: Earthbound by Evelyn de Morgan