Chapter 6 The secret to prosperity

第六章 成功的秘密

6. The secret to prosperity

Prosperity has its own special glow, doesn’t it? It is hard to feel prosperous, however, when you have just failed to get the position you counted on and you are down to your last few “shekels.”1 To be fair, it is difficult to define what this idea means. To one person it may mean copious amounts of money, to another a wonderful family, to yet another, spiritual erudition. Dr. Frederick Tonnies (1855-1936) is considered one of the fathers of sociology. He broke civilization into two basic groups: Gemeinschaft or the Common good, in my parlance, and Gesellschaft or individualism.2 In the broadest sense, it gives us two approaches of living. I ask, which one would make me feel the most prosperous?

In keeping with my philosophy of self-reliance, I am convinced that all answers lie within. I repeat this ad nauseam, or non-stop, because we are constantly exposed to external stimuli. From the moment that I first awaken until I sleep, I live “in the world.” It behooves me, therefore, to constantly remind myself that everything is emanating from my consciousness. I must take an idea or an experience into my “belief system” for it to become real (to me). I felt ugly until I was 16 years, then a girl told me I was good-looking. True or not, this occurrence changed my perception of me.

How do I overcome the societal programming that I receive up until the time that I become an adult and beyond (these pre-conceptualized ways of seeing and functioning in the world, the traditional view if you will), and what is in my own self interest: my passions and desires, both physically and spiritually? Historically, if someone were different, with a different ethos, that individual could expect the full opprobrium of the family and perhaps even the state: The Salem Witch Trials3 come to mind. After an initial burst of youthful exuberance, most people settled into a life much like their parents and grandparents. The American, European and British aristocracies teased at different lifestyles, Lord Byron4 would be an example. Eventually, however, everyone conformed or died in ignominy. I am always reminded of the dandy Oscar Wilde.5 After his trial and subsequent incarceration for his sexuality, he never saw his two sons again. But as so many pundits have noted, the Internet has now radically altered our human existence and the employment landscape. That being said, those in positions of power over us, the state, the all-pervasive social media and even our own loving parents just don’t get it: they don’t want change, it is too frightening, and we want to be free. I now have exposure to unlimited knowledge which exposes the lies.

I don’t want to live a pointless life, save lots of money, retire and then just die. I want to live a fulfilling and adventurous existence and take some risks. Sadly, there appears to be no common ground, now or in the future, between these opposing camps, both with harshly delineated positions. The unfortunate, perhaps even lonely, route is to be true to oneself and “stick to your own path.” Failing to be independent, we must, at the very least accept that, even if we did not spawn the idea, we must take 100% ownership of it. It is not the fault of our parents, family or friends when the idea later is exposed to be fallacious or poorly conceived: we made the final decision. A stable position with the government is the ideal job: it is mostly boring and thus not true. I am always free to be me: but, my life is 100% my responsibility.

If we keep pushing and hoping, in the end, it will all work out. The critical thing is to enjoy the charms of life as we are transiting through her.

6. 成功的秘密