What matters?

I am not impressed by wealth. I am not impressed by material possessions, or by the gathering up and hording of baubles and trinkets and bits of shiny things. I am not impressed by the size of your house, or your wallet or bank account, or by what kind of car you drive or where you buy your shirts – although I may be deeply impressed if you give the shirt off your back to someone who needs it more than you do, or if you simply share what you have with others, whether you have a little or a lot.

I am not impressed by social status, nor by career-climbing. The king of the world would not make me feel the impulse to bow down to him, any more than I would to any other human being – and quite possibly, even probably, less. Status is meaningless to me, and vanity is simply repulsive.

I am not impressed by popularity or by fame, nor by how well you conform to a dangerously myopic and profoundly abnormal norm – a norm which, by the way, should be rejected by any sensible, mature human being.

I am not impressed by worldly power, certainly. I am also not impressed by academic degrees, by how many books you have read, or what authors you can cite. I am not even impressed by knowledge, though I value it highly.

I am not impressed by intelligence alone, or in itself, since it is simply a tool, and it is what you do with that tool that counts, and not how well you keep it sharpened. Fancy tools that are put to no good use are quite useless in themselves: and if they are put to no good use, then they are generally put to bad use, which is more often the case; and in any event, if they are over-esteemed, then their true use will be forgotten, in which case, the tool becomes the master, and the source of sheer befuddlement and confusion.

I am certainly not impressed by aggression, posturing, pretense, egotism, control complexes or domineering behaviour, all of which speak to me of a childish attitude, and of spiritual infancy. You can huff and you can puff, but you cannot blow my house down with such hollow vapours. They are mere smoke and mirrors, and they are easily seen through.

I am impressed only by three things: compassion, courage, and wisdom. Show me one of these three great treasures, and I will be well and duly impressed. The rest means nothing, or next to nothing to me, by comparison. They are mere window dressing, at best, and at worst, positive distractions from what truly matters.

April 30, 2014

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