Profiteering and Its Cause

The apostle to the Gentiles, writing to Timothy of those things which should be absent from the character of a bishop of the church, enumerated amongst them the love of filthy lucre. There is a directness of phrase in Paul's language which makes it perfectly clear that he fully understood the words of the wise man before his day who declared that the love of money was the root of all evil. Now this love of money is fundamental in the human character, inasmuch as it is the expression of that fear which constitutes the belief of life in matter. There is, of course, a covetous side of man's love of money, just as there is a sensuous element in his indulgence of it. But nevertheless it is not these things that have so enmeshed the human mind, as the human mind's fear of the consequences of the absence of money. On the day when money became the symbol of human possession, the possession of money became a necessity of man's very existence. He could not feed himself, or clothe himself, or house himself without money, and therefore the absence of money meant something more to him even than poverty or privation,—it meant existence its very self.

Now fear is the belief that life exists in matter. If a man did not believe that life was inherent in matter, he would not fear for the absence of those necessities which money purchases for him. As a consequence, his love of money is inherent in his very belief of being, and therefore greed becomes the expression of the fostering of this belief just as avarice is the ultimate result of an unbalanced belief in the necessity of possession. In dealing, then, with such things as avarice and greed, it has to be remembered that there is something more than the mere love of possession included in these things, since this love of possession is not only the possession of fields, and houses, and stocks, and shares, but the possession of life itself. Jesus recognized this perfectly when he related the parable of the rich man who determined to build greater barns for the bestowal of his possessions. These possessions might be expressed in cattle, and corn, and the fruits of the vine, but all these things were the mere externalized conditions of the mental beliefs of avarice, or sensuality, and so of fear in every one of its myriad forms. Consequently, when Jesus thundered out the moral of his story, "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?" he challenged the human belief in fear as life itself, for a man's soul was his sensuality, his materiality, and so his very existence.

The Franchise for Women
September 11, 1920

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