Monday, October 12, 2015


Of all the things that frighten me, perhaps the most sharp-edged is the enfolding notion that I might somehow be entitled to one thing or another. Former U.S. President George Bush was once described by a detractor as a man "who was born on third base and imagined he had hit a triple." Ouch! ... only I doubt he sees things that way.

Entitlement is such an alluring realm, not least when those in the neighborhood feel likewise entitled or are compelled by blindness to do a lot of insouciant damage before they are willing to look in the mirror ... if they ever do.

But the realm of entitlement has a mirror image as well -- the realm in which the owner is somehow not entitled ... to looks or wealth or power or station or intelligence or ownership or whatever. These are people, sometimes, who imagine that if they give away their worldly goods and simplify their lives and shuffle abjectly from here to there that they can somehow escape the scourge of entitlement.

The one side of the coin is not so very different from the other. Just because you own something doesn't mean you own it. But just because you don't own it doesn't mean you are free from it either. And it is no good trying to morally man-handle the situation into compliance -- to recognize the presumptuousness of ownership and thus elude its lash.

The best I can figure is that paying attention is best. Paying attention allows things to come and go in their time and does not insist. Paying attention means that a "forever postage stamp" will be forever for a while, perhaps, but it's not as if it will be forever. Paying attention means doing less harm, though there is no absolute exemption in which to bask and loll.

These days, there is a social undercurrent that suggests "I am entitled to my opinion," but the important question remains unaddressed and unanswered: "Who says so?"

1 comment:

  1. Entitlement to an opinion doesn't necessitate listening or warrant agreement. It does oblige one to wade through a lot of crap to find a a reward, or to let go of the quest for reward. And this makes us all a little less informed from insufficient time to become informed, as well as prejudicing our reason with unwarranted doubts and suspicions.

    To pay attention is a good tool for not falling prey to becoming someone other than yourself. But we're still left with everyone else making noise to wade through. But i guess that's samsara, and no escaping it. Such is life, picking through crap, looking for gold.