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CHAPTER XVIII

THE FACTORS IN THE QUEST OF COMFORT: IV. WISDOM

 

   THREE of the factors in the quest of comforthave now been discussed.

   A fourth yet remains to be considered.

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   At first, economists spoke only of three factorsin the production of wealth: land, labor and capital.

   Then they found it necessary to add a fourth:management. For it was soon discovered that administrative skill, courage to takerisks, leadership and ideas were just as essential to the production of wealth asland, labor and capital.

   So it is with regard to the factors in the productionof comfort.

   We may bring to the quest of comfort a productivehomestead; we may provide the necessary time; we may acquire the machines, but tothese three factors we must add a fourth which shall play, in our effort to producecomfort, a part similar to that which management plays in the production of wealth.This factor must, however, more than provide us with the creature comforts to whichthe existing state of art and science entitles us. It must make possible a spiritual*as well as a material conquest of comfort. (*Whenever the term .spiritual,, is usedin connection with comfort it is used as an antonym for "material" andwithout any intent to suggest anything mystical or religious.)

   Man does not live by bread alone.

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   The factor in the quest of comfort which dealswith both the material and the spiritual aspects of comfort, I call wisdom.

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   It is the factor in the quest of comfort whichtranscends the production of material well being.

   For wisdom is not only a combination of enterprise,knowledge, experience. It is not only what economists call management. It is alsounderstanding.

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   And understanding we must have, in part to enableus to achieve material comfort without sacrificing spiritual comfort in the processof securing it, but mainly to enable us to create a goal the human life less uglythan that with which we are satisfied today.

   For thus spoke Zarathustra:

   If the goal of humanity is still lacking, is there not alsolacking--humanity itself?

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   Whilst the whole world strives madly to becomewise in the production of wealth, it is time for some of us to become wise in theproduction of comfort.

   The consciously ignorant but inquiring man; theman to whom experience is a liberal education; the man who appreciates the importanceof understanding, can acquire this wisdom if only he will abandon the herd-taboos,the herd-thinking and the herdcallousness of his factory-dominated fellow-beings.

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   For man, my friends, is a creature who functionsbetween two planes of values; a low plane upon which he acts automatically and withthe minimum of intelligence, and a high plane upon which he acts consciously andwith the maximum of intelligence. Whether he functions upon the low plane or thehigh plane is determined by a fortuitous concatenation of accidents over which hemay have no control.

   For you the reading of these lines may provethat accident.

   If that be so, welcome to super-conscious participationin the comedy and tragedy of man!


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