When ignorance is economic bliss

My wife sometimes jokes that I married her for her money. I agree, and say that's what made us a perfect match. On our wedding day she had $1,200 in the bank; I had no money and owed about $1,200 on a car. That may not be a classic economics textbook case of supply meeting demand, but it reminds us that love is the best and possibly only balancer of life's debits and credits. We were blissfully ignorant of having nothing because we already had everything good gives.

English poet Thomas Gray penned the lines, "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise," in his "Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College." OK, so Gray's maxim doesn't apply in every department of life, but I think it makes good economic counsel. Budgets and expense planning have distinct value. However, if in our personal financial affairs, and if in the global marketplace, we had less human "wisdom"—less quantifying, measuring, and monetizing of everything, and consequently less comparing of our own with others' financial states—we just might be a more blissful people.

On the other hand, bliss requires wisdom when it comes to getting to know God, to discovering the divinely stable spiritual universe that the Creator authors and maintains. Our feature section contributors this week open some bright windows on spiritual discovery and moving toward economic stability. Excerpts from Ned Odegaard's recent chat on spirituality.com have me asking what it means to be made in the image of a God who isn't greedy, fearful, or fragile; to be like the Love that's never variable, vengeful, or used up. Articles by Bea Roegge and DoAnne Sanchez offer both big-picture insights and inspiring on-the-ground experiences.

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August 25, 2008

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