Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Love more!

Not very original, I know (I have openly stolen the title from a recent post by James Steel mourning the loss of his elder sister). These past weekend I went with my familia to Vitoria (North of Spain, although in the Basque Country they consider it "The South, and have some slight dislike for them for being too Spanish, but I digress) to spend time with a close friend from our teenage days, whose husband had been diagnosed lung cancer, and had one lung surgically removed.
The man was taking it like a real champ, showing his usual good humour and, although it was obvious he was still going through a lot of pain (which, thanks to high doses of painkillers, was still barely bearable) and had gone previously through a real ordeal, brushing aside his illness as if it were not that important. However, the prognosis is still uncertain, and he has to go through heavy chemotherapy in the following months (which I know from close experience can be a very daunting prospect).
Of course, being the thinking type I am, that got me in quite some considerations about how fleeting life is, and how even the things we consider a more substantial part of our being (physical vigour) can be taken from us at a moment notice. And that brought me to the subject of my last post: what has real value and what not.
The dominant reason in our society tells us that almost only the possession (and exclusive enjoyment) of material goods have value. The "economic problem" (as still formulated by Keynes), once subsistence is more or less guaranteed (more in social democratic societies, European style, less so in pure market oriented ones, American style), is understood to be, at a collective level, how to produce the maximum possible amount of those goods, while at an individual level to grab for oneself as much as possible of that social product, or at least to grab moer than one's neighbors and in-laws...
But of course, even when material comfort can buy some minor advantages in treating a serious illness (again, less so in a single payer system as is more or less prevalent in Europe), when we confront our own fragility, and our necessarily mortal condition (still waiting to see Ray Kurzweil croak, btw, so I can safely state that he wasted a monumental amount of effort and money for nothing) we tend to see more clearly that just accumulating things is a very poor excuse for a life.
Shaftesbury said it best, when in his "Characteristicks of men, manners, opinions, times" he wrote that of all pleasures we grow tired, except of the pleasures of giving and helping others. Having dense, fullfilling relationships (something that is difficult to do when participating full time in the "rat race", as society forces us to do) trumps having money and job recognition every time (specially because job recognition and social status are the ficklest of emotions). So, as I said in the title, go out and love more...

No comments:

Post a Comment