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Monday, September 7, 2015

Social Security

How did you feel when a public champion of peace and justice (Gandhi, JFK, Martin Luther King, Yitzhak Rabin) was assassinated? Do you hold any real hope that love is stronger than bullets? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1060).

Plato paints the picture of a Charioteer...driving a chariot pulled by two winged horses:

"First the charioteer of the human soul drives a pair, and secondly one of the horses is noble and of noble breed, but the other quite the opposite in breed and character. Therefore in our case the driving is necessarily difficult and troublesome."

The Charioteer represents intellect, reason, or the part of the soul that must guide the soul to truth; one horse represents rational or moral impulse or the positive part of passionate nature (e.g., righteous indignation); while the other represents the soul's irrational passions, appetites, or concupiscent nature. The Charioteer directs the entire chariot/soul, trying to stop the horses from going different ways, and to proceed towards enlightenment.


It is clear that the human race is driven by two complementary forces. Jesus distilled the first by saying "love your enemies." Indeed, love is an action verb.  But concurrent with this is an instinctual drive for self-preservation.  It is not a question of which of these distinct actions will eliminate the other. It is a question of which drive is stronger – sacrificial love on the one hand or yanking the bridle to serve only private interest on the other? Until the new Jerusalem, we must deal with this conundrum. I would gladly open my door to strangers if I knew for certain that a precedent would not be set and soon there would be thousands of strangers (or one insatiable stranger) at my door. Since limited resources are built into all economies, it becomes clear that the best way to cultivate love's beneficent generosity is to in some way ensure against resource attenuation.  In other words, the tenable solution points to an actuarial one--one in which risk is suffused realistically throughout the macro economy. Thus, it's plainly no accident that this is how love's risks are regularly met.

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