Handle with Care

A broken doll, symbol of a broken child

“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.” ~ Mitch Albom

Not a Dress Rehearsal

“In a society in which nearly everybody is dominated by somebody else’s mind or by a disembodied mind, it becomes increasingly difficult to learn the truth about the activities of governments and corporations, about the quality or value of products, or about the health of one’s own place and economy.

In such a society, also, our private economies will depend less and less upon the private ownership of real, usable property, and more and more upon property that is institutional and abstract, beyond individual control, such as money, insurance policies, certificates of deposit, stocks, and shares.

And as our private economies become more abstract, the mutual, free helps and pleasures of family and community life will be supplanted by a kind of displaced or placeless citizenship and by commerce with impersonal and self-interested suppliers…

we-da-sheeple

Thus, although we are not slaves in name, and cannot be carried to market and sold as somebody else’s legal chattels, we are free only within narrow limits.

For all our talk about liberation and personal autonomy, there are few choices that we are free to make. What would be the point, for example, if a majority of our people decided to be self-employed?

The great enemy of freedom is the alignment of political power with wealth.

This alignment destroys the commonwealth – that is, the natural wealth of localities and the local economies of household, neighborhood, and community – and so destroys democracy, of which the commonwealth is the foundation and practical means.”

~ Wendell Berry

Illusions of Help

There is something wrong with the creation of this world, because rich people think they are the benefactors of the poor, but in fact those rich people are fed and dressed by the work of these poor and live in luxury created for them by poor. ~ Leo Tolstoy

servants1

Cover Expressions

fashion22

Designer Gareth Pugh

Perhaps part of the uncanny allure of fashionable clothing resides in the paradoxical impact of its expressiveness: the act of covering up with mere dead matter–cloth, fur, leather, or even metal when it is ingeniously shaped to the purpose–appears to reveal something magical about the life inside.” ~ Joseph Roach

To have and hold

A Community Chest volunteer was calling on a tough prospect. “Our financial report shows,” she said, “that you had an income of over $50,000 last year and made no contribution to the Community Chest.”

The prospect stared coldly back at the volunteer. “Does your financial report also show that my mother has an incurable disease that will cost thousands of dollars in operations and hospital care if she is to recover?”

“No, it doesn’t,” admitted the volunteer.

“Does it show that my brother was so badly wounded in the war that he refuses to return to America until certain plastic surgery can be completed and paid for?”

“No,” said the volunteer deeply moved. “How terrible to have one’s family so afflicted.”

“Does it show that my daughter’s husband faces ruin unless he can raise enough money to pay for the flood damage to his little shop?”

Young man who keeps bag full of money, bites girl's hand

“No, it doesn’t.” The embarrassed volunteer got up to leave. “I want you to know that we understand,” she faltered.

“I knew you would,” the prospect answered. “After all, if I am not giving any money to the, how can I justify contributing to the Community Chest?”