Digging for Philosopher’s Gold

“Men dig tons of earth to find a measly piece of gold.” – Heraclitus

An ounce of pure gold will land you about 2 thousand dollars here in Canada. Should you hire a private contractor to dig up your backyard for a swimming pool, then expect to pay a lot more than that; neither are you guaranteed to see a profit on your investment.

What the sage seems to be implying in his maxim above can be reduced to one word; namely, redundancy. That is to say people have a tendency to waste time and resources on things that provide nothing more than a splash, or rendered in the words of Socrates, ‘he attaches little importance to the most important things and greater importance to inferior things.’

We could easily spend years talking about all the ways that men chase after the wind, and in the end we wouldn’t be any better off for it. There are few things within our control and the more we spend time outside of that sphere the more we deplete ourselves. None of us can give what we don’t have, and if the logic of this doesn’t snap into place, then we can find ourselves needlessly chasing after our tail, and by consequence spinning out additional tales so as to justify our actions.

It may be easier to put the shovel down once we realize that we’re digging our own grave, but even then, our habitual patterns run deep into the nervous system and have a way of keeping us on the tread mill; i.e., the system and/or environment by which we find ourselves in could very well be imbued with a slavemaster mentality that appeals more to our sensual desires, rather than our better judgement.

Should the pillars of our society – be it education, government, and the banks – sink down and engross us in the mundane aspects of life, then we might want to consider exactly what ‘rights and freedoms’ are being bartered away. Compromise can only be achieved when all parties are cognizant of what is at stake.

Whereas mutual benefit and cooperation by virtue entails looking out for the wellbeing of the other, not just ourselves, and that is the substance we all intuitively know as philosopher’s gold. ‘Wealth does not bring about excellence, but excellence makes wealth and everything else good for people, both individually and collectively.’ So rather than focus on what we don’t have, it’s more practical to use what we have to make the best of things.

About Jason Youngman

An explorer of volition and soul, a song under a night sky and a dream that forever yearns to be.
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9 Responses to Digging for Philosopher’s Gold

  1. Sally says:

    Thanks so much for this post, Jason.
    I agree with you – much of humanity’s efforts are indeed ‘wind chasing’.

    I like the photo. This reminds me of Newfoundland – the land of kind and gentle people. 🤗⚘

    • Thank you! The photo was taken in The Battery, St. John’s, NL. April Norman painted the mural, which appears to be of fishermen who lived in that area. Lots of tourists and locals walk through this neighborhood during the summer.

      • Sally says:

        Oh, that is interesting, Jason.
        We lived in The Battery for a while when we first moved to NL, and we used this residence as a base to explore the island and figure out where it would be best for us to live. Before moving to NL, we had never been here before !
        However, our friends who had been here told us of the spectacular scenery and friendly people, and we found this to be true.
        The Battery is a great place, with lots of history.
        Great mural by April Norman. ⚘

      • Fascinating! Have you thought about visiting The Battery during the summer? There’s a lovely coffee shop right at the bottom of the hill with a wonderful selection of goodies.

      • Sally says:

        That sounds delightful Jason. Thanks for the information.
        We enjoyed living there and seeing all the city lights at night. ⚘🤗

  2. Mary Jo Malo says:

    Oh Jason, I suspect that mother lode of philosopher’s gold has been tapped out for some time and flooded by the owners of the Company store. The banks have flooded government which in turn has flooded the schools without a Noah’s Ark of said virtue to rescue it’s victims. The pillars have collapsed like the World Trade Center and the rubble just some vague “freedom from terrorism,” first foreign, now domestic. But yes, there will always be those who know where their treasure lies, in both themselves and their loved and respected others, but the reset has begun. The Tower of Babel has come to save everyone through its tyranny of what’s best for everyone. Sorry for all the sloppy metaphors, but it comes with my poetic stake. 🙂

    • Your metaphors overlap with my own and provide a sort of celestial flowery display. Allow me to water your plant in the same symbolic language that your inner child rejoices in, so that we might remember the word of the Rabbi: ‘Judge not, less you be judged. For with the same judgment you pronounce on others, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.’ The golden rule defies all worldly wisdom, and just as the light of truth penetrates even the most dark of distortions, the way will open up to us by grace thro’ faith… Deception recedes like a shadow during the break of dawn, and all false perceptions fade out of mind. But if we keep the deceit alive (germinating) by seeing it in others, then we are doing harm to ourselves, rather than the other way around. In truth, all enmity has been removed; some of us appear to be slower than others in our awakening, or realization of the nature of things.

  3. Mary Jo Malo says:

    Thank you, Jason, for your thoughtful and humbling response.

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