POEM: Unemployable

I am unemployable
Partly because no one can afford what I’m worth
Partly because I prefer to give it away

This short poem harkens to a more organic way of relating to one another than contractual .  What if people did what they love in and gave freely?  I suspect that the world would be much better off.  Love unleashed is much more powerful, and synchronous with the deepest , than any personal profit or “earning.”  Giving freely is an invitation to escape the binds of the quid pro quo of contracts.  Contractual are bound by a reciprocity that is defined by a limited payback.  The best that a contractual relationship can offer is an equal, reciprocal exchange or payback that ends when the direct participants/contractors get what they bargained for — it’s largely a closed system.  Of course, many would be quite satisfied with such a fair exchange.  I am not.  I yearn for an open system of unending streams of acts of where little time and effort is spent on trying to guarantee that the giver gets back a commensurate, proportional return in a specific way. How about paying it forward?  Many will cry out, “ is not fair; if you act that way, then you will get shortchanged.”  My answer: you are right, is not fair — is excellent!  My is a that I can never repay, except in kind!  What is fair in is that what we sow is what we reap.  The means produce the ends.  And the kinds produce new beginnings.  As , a man well accustomed to the darker and lighter sides of humanity, proclaimed, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” People convinced that mutual exchange negotiated by two parties is the best we can do, will likely not do much better.  I, for one, would like to participate in a much bigger party!  And like John Lennon said, “You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one. I someday you will join us. And the world will live as one.”

Us dreamers don’t deny that people can treat you badly, worse than you treat them.  What dreamers don’t deny, but affirm, and live into, is that people can treat each other better than they are treated.  Within this is a sacred space where forgiveness, grace, and gratitude flourish.  I view this as the most fundamental and appropriate response to the existential that I did nothing to deserve my ; or, as John Paul and Paul Johannes Tillich would join in saying, “We are not the ground of our own being.”

The fright of giving freely is easily identified, and it is commonplace.  Interestingly though, perhaps more illustrative is the odd that receiving freely is also very difficult and scary for many people.  The fright that binds these two conditions is not the fear of not getting enough, but rather the fear of not earning one’s way.  If I receive freely, then I might owe someone or something.  This may trigger an even deeper fear of being controlled, having this being used against you.

I suspect that this fear of being controlled, having a being used against you, may be the most basic fear contained within false , that is, which controls rather than sets free.  Perhaps ironically, this fear of having a that one cannot repay may be a frightening undergirder of atheism (a rejection of a giver?).  The scientific betrays this by a singular focus on scientific reductionism, the world of causality where each individual party has a proper accounting (hmmm…sounds a bit like a ).  In this world of causality, that paradoxically is proclaimed to exist without a cause (“it just is” — like God?), there is no room for or forgiveness, only ever finer engineering and accounting.  Mystery becomes simply ignorance, a -ridden assumption about what lies beyond the veil.  Humility and seem as one.  Is it any wonder that scientific atheists may find their attitudes vacillating from extreme causality and exacting to impenetrable absurdity.

Back to the basic theme of this poem, which challenges a dominated by “earners.”  Humans and humanity are too valuable to be monetized for the convenience of more efficient commerce.   are not for sale, but arise out of the sacred worth of human life.  Perhaps the best illustration of how far we have strayed from this is by the fact that you can substitute “the ” or “the ” with the word “God” and you would find that it all makes sense, in a strangely perverse way.  We must bow to the false god of Mammon, or worldly and , but it will never set us “free.” As adroitly put it, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and .” (Matthew 6:24)   Reflecting on this basic pivot point in life may give rise to a more take on and : The will set you free, but first it will piss you off!

There are few things in American politics that will piss people off more than confronting “a sense of .”  Conservatives more typically take offense at a “sense of .”  Liberals more typically to protect “entitlements.”  I think that this desire to protect “entitlements” springs from a sense of which transcend valuations.  Unfortunately, the debates about “entitlements” pays too much homage to economic worthiness than sacred worthiness.  I view conservatives’ objections to “entitlements” as springing from this that holds “earning” as sacrosanct.  Such a rejects both “giving freely” and “receiving freely.”   religious rhetoric aside, the dubious conservatives’ claim that giving should be done freely (without involvement) is perhaps best debunked simply by their giving behavior.  Feeble claims that robs them of enough resources to give is easily countered by the fact that the more people have the less they give proportionally (whether or ).  The urge to give must spring from some place different than having a lot of stuff to give.  If this sacred place from which giving arises is to become incarnate in this world, then we must behave congruously with the reality that each human is more valuable than any employer can pay, and we must prefer giving over earning.

May you resist the temptation to monetize your humanity, or anyone else’s, and may you give freely, centered in that sacred space where what is most valuable is experienced.

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