Website owner:  James Miller

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The most important things in life

   What are the most important things in life?  What do the 
   proverbs, the wise sayings of man through the ages, have to say 
   on this point?  Let us search them.  If we did so we would come 
   up with the following list: 

       - the basic necessities (food and shelter)
       - a good wife (or spouse) 
       - good health 
       - a good conscience 
       - a good name 
       - wisdom, understanding, good sense, spiritual knowledge, 
           understanding of ourselves and life 

   Now let us ask another question.  What things are most commonly 
   pursued by man?  What does the common, ordinary man pursue in 
   life?  We can list them: 

       - temporary pleasure (gratification of appetites) 
       - material possessions, wealth 
       - social position, being "important" 
       - friendship, friends, acceptance by a group 

   When we ask the question "What are the important things in 
   life?" what we really mean is: "What things in life bring the 
   best happiness?"  Both are just different ways of phrasing the 
   same question. 

   What a person pursues in life depends on what he values.  His 
   values, basic tastes and preferences, determine his priorities 
   and the way he occupies himself and spends his time.  The most 
   basic, underlying values of the wise man are Wisdom, 
   Understanding, Justice, Goodness, and Virtue.  These are his 
   first loves.  They are what drive him, determining his tastes 
   and preferences.  The ordinary man, however, has as his first 
   love pleasure and the other things we have listed.  He occupies 
   himself with the pursuit of Thrill and Temporary Pleasure.  He 
   focuses on the temporary pleasures available to him through 
   catering to his base appetites.  He spends his time in front of 
   a TV set watching programs that excite his fantasies and 
   provide him temporary thrills and erotic pleasure; he finds his 
   pleasure in eating, sex, gambling, coarse humor, alcohol and 
   drugs.  The wise man, on the other hand, is driven by a 
   different set of tastes and preferences, likes and dislikes.  
   He is attracted to that which gives spiritual understanding.  
   He is interested in the serious questions of life and society.  
   He is interested in the problems of his fellow man.  He is 
   interested in the dilemmas of life --- spiritual, moral, 
   economic, etc..  He is interested in spiritual and moral truth.  
   And he tends to prefer activities that aid him in these 
   interests -- that provide insight, knowledge, perspective, 
   etc..  He is likely to be a lover of reflection and also of 

   What is wrong with the pursuits of the common man?  The problem 
   with these pursuits is that most of them are illusory.  They 
   don't give real happiness, or the best happiness.  And many are 
   also destructive, destroying morally, spiritually and 

   The wise man, the man of understanding, knows there is a God 
   and he puts spiritual things first.  He is a god-fearing person 
   who lives by God's moral law.

   Jan 1987

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