Entries from April 2008 ↓
April 23rd, 2008 — Comparisons, The Modern Condition
In a recent post I compared the seeker experience of Siddartra Gautama before he became known as the Buddha, “The Enlightened One” and Enos, the third writer found in the Book of Mormon. The reason I find their stories interesting is that I believe certain elements of their experiences are quite common in the personal religious dilemma of many in the modern world yet most in the modern world have not had the outcome of “enlightenment” or report “having their guilt swept away” or being able to say “my soul did rest.” Instead the common outcome is apathy. “It doesn’t matter” or “nobody can know, so why worry about it” are the responses of our day.
Why is this so? Am I wrong in regards to apathy?
April 14th, 2008 — Uncategorized
A solemn reverence settled over the office recently as we received word of a tragic horseback accident in Afghanistan that prematurely took the life of a colleague. Having only been with the organization for a few months I did not know this young woman personally but I was privileged to see the outpouring of love from her friends and hear of her wonderful person and personality. She was clearly a person filled with love for her fellowman and the beauties and varieties of this world. She had completely dedicated her life to serving the interests of the poor.
Such a moment inspires personal reflection and ponderous thought. The questions are not academic: what’s it all for? is that it? does it have to be over so soon? that person who loved and was loved, was she only a passing phenomenon?
As I listened to others reminisce and speak so beautifully about their friend I personally felt so restrained, I wanted to stand up and share the good news that I have found and sincerely believe, that death is not the end, that even in grief there is hope.
May her family be comforted in their loss and may I remember the thoughts I had that day.
April 2nd, 2008 — Mormon Culture, News commentary, The Modern Condition
These two articles caught my attention recently. The first I first heard discussed on NPR; here is a blurb in Scientific America. Basically researchers found that “money can buy happiness” only on one condition–if you give it away. The second was the NY Times op ed piece about the modern do-gooder, namely the social entrepreneur, which referenced my employer, Ashoka, to start the conversation. Now I’ll go on a couple tangents–
Some may hear that first finding and think that they should go chasing after money with the intention of giving it away after they’ve accumulated it but I think that is a faulty and dangerous interpretation. (This happens to be a view I believe is quite common in my own cultural community, particularly along the Watsatch Front). Although the intent-to-do-good motive is the only justifiable reason for pursuing wealth, doing so in the mode of pursuing wealth now with the intent to give later is dangerous. If you cannot give when you have little then I will predict, and the data supports it, you will not give as readily if you do become wealthy. As wealth accumulates so do appetites and the ability to consume.
It is interesting that the study was conducted giving $5 and $20 donations, which is a small price for happiness and very much in the budget of every individual especially if it is truly a sacrifice and not just a skim off the excess.
Perhaps psychiatrists should consider prescribing gift cards to Global Giving instead of packets of pills.
Could giving be somehow measured into the GNH Gross National Happiness.
Now that you want to give away your money, who should you give it to?
I think there is a strong argument for the answer being found in the second article.