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Sunday, April 24, 2022

27. Mouth-Corners



The Lines

Bottom. [9] A man who is in a situation to live simply and whose nature permits him to enjoy the freedom that comes from not being attached to material things and the worldly life, nevertheless abandons such a tranquil existence and turns with desire and envy to look upon those who are better off than he is in their material circumstances. Whereas those persons previously had some measure of respect for his simplicity and his choice of moderation, his lowering himself from his former state of tranquility only produces their disgust and derogation. What was previously respectable has been turned into the weak grasping after something undeserved. This turn toward inferior sentiments can produce nothing but failure.
2. [6] By nature, every man is an independent entity, attending to his personal needs, making decisions that affect himself personally, and making plans for his own continued existence. Under certain circumstances, when he is unable to look after those things for himself, his family or the community or those with a duty to take care of people who cannot care for themselves, step in and assist the man. If, on the other hand, the man is capable of taking care of himself, but refuses to do so out of indolence and instead relies on the kindness of others to perform that function, he puts himself in an awkward, dependent position and he dishonors his standing as a responsible human being. He loses his self-respect and also the respect of others. If he persists in this, he will enter upon a path of decline, leading to unhappiness and misfortune.
3. [6] The man who wastes himself on trivialities will find himself overcome with dissatisfaction, because he fails to fill his life with the things that nourish the spirit. He turns away from doing things that enrich the lives of others, or from working on things that enrich his own life, and instead devotes himself to amusements and diversions that have no substance. While such things pass the time and may bring momentary pleasure, they provide nothing that enables the man to connect to his fellow man in a significant way. He contributes nothing that is beneficial to others, and he does nothing that would make himself a more capable person. Instead he goes from one form of pleasure to another, foolishly thinking that his inner needs will be satisfied by such emptiness. Every man should enjoy a short respite from his labors now and then, and indulge in some form of relaxation that is pleasurable and entertaining. But to make diversion the whole focus of one's life will only lead the man downhill.
4. [6] A man in a responsible position has aims and goals that occupy his thoughts and energies. He enjoys what he is doing, and there are big things he wishes to accomplish. But the enterprise that so engages his attention is more than he can do alone, and he is always looking out for helpers who can contribute their knowledge, talents, or experiences to the effort. He is like a hungry animal, scouring the neighborhood, always on the lookout for someone who might know something or who can add something that would make the enterprise more successful. And when he finds someone, he goes straight for them, being his most convincing self in an effort to enlist their aid. There is nothing wrong with this. He is not doing it for himself or his own glory, but for the work that he is promoting -- a work that will be of benefit to the whole community. He is a good, hard-working man.
5. [6] A man has the concept of a great work that he realizes should be done -- a work that would contribute mightily to the nourishment of mankind -- but he is not capable of pulling it off himself. He lacks the strength or the knowledge of the ability to do it. He only envisions the goal, but recognizes that it is a worthy one. Although he would like to be the leader of the enterprise, and launch out on his own, he is compelled to consult with and seek the assistance of another who has the required strengths, even though this may not be fully recognized. If he works with and through this more capable man, the enterprise can be successful. But he must remain aware that he is not the one who has the necessary talent. A great work will not be accomplished, however, if instead he is led by arrogance or a desire for recognition and thrusts himself forward as the main force that is doing the job. To do that would cause the whole project to collapse and the great work to fail of accomplishment.
Top. [9] A truly great man has influence upon all those around him, to their great benefit.
As a great man, he is not consumed with self-centered things such as pride or ambition, but is fully aware of the enormous responsibility that he labors under, for he sees how his leadership is an important part of the lives of these others.


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