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Monday, July 23, 2007

The "Beggar's Cup"

Beggar's Cup
Image courtesy Le Colonel Chabert
Joe Bageant posts and responds to an email from an English senior citizen, from which I excerpt:
...Fifteen years ago at age 55 they decided I was far too old and they pensioned me off with a year's salary as a sweetner.

We bought a stone cottage and twelve acres of rural England. We have broadleaf woodland that provides our heating. It has a stream of good water and we grow vegetables and fruit for ourselves. I don't have a mortgage, we have very little money, and we are as happy as pigs in shit.

When you live a mile from your neighbour you have to rely on each other and other locals and that breeds a kind of community. I think that will get stronger as energy gets scarcer and we need each other's skills.

[snip]

I'm 70 now and no longer feel I can make a difference to politics and the world, and what I have done by retiring into the country is to pull up the drawbridge and abdicate any responsibility for it all, All I can do is look after those near and local as best I can and live my life in a way that I don't despise too much.
I quickly wondered how Joe would respond to the "pull up the drawbridge and abdicate any responsibility" comment, because I think that what the gentleman has done is the very epitome of responsibility. Joe:
...In parts of Asia it was once accepted that men, even the wealthiest of men, should in their later years "take up the beggar's cup," that is, to live at the absolute simplest land humblest level possible, and contemplate the ages. In our own way, I believe you and I are both humbly attempting to do that, inasmuch as it can be done in this terrible post-modern age of our own...
Ah, Joe, you don't disappoint. Fine wine, and a steady cup from which to drink.

2 comments:

I welcome all reactions and points of view, so comments here are not moderated. Cheerfully "colorful" language is great. I'll even tolerate some ad hominem directed against me... each other, not so much. Racist or excessively abusive comments (or spam) will be deleted at my discretion.