definitely a buyer's market

One of the greatest lessons God has been teaching me throughout my life is that someone else's gain is not my loss.

It's hard to get into that frame of mind, and at first it even seems obvious, but it really isn't.

Every time we cut someone off while we are driving, it comes from a place of I need to be where that person is going, but I need to be there first. If they get there ahead of me, I've lost something. Don't mistake my meaning. I'm not talking about feeling competitive.

I'm talking about thinking that our needs are more important than the needs of others.

I'm talking about thinking that there are limited resources and if you don't grab what you need first, there might not be any left. This is hard for a child of a family of nine to accept, but God shows me it all the time.

As long as we continue to feel on some basic level that if Ploni has something, then it means that I don't have it, we can never rise above petty jealousy to love our fellow as much as we actually can.

We need to recognise how much of our lives and our deep emotional feelings are ruled by this internal accountant that tries to convince us that it's a closed free market. When we think of everything as potentially ours, every single thing that isn't ours was somehow taken from us. Who cares if the taking was legal or moral? It was still taken from us.

This doesn't mean we don't have to work to obtain things, or guard our possessions from others who may be intent on taking them. It does mean that what is ours should be appreciated as ours--God's gifts given directly to us--and what isn't should be appreciated as theirs-God's gift to our brothers.

When we reach this place, we can truly derive joy from the success of our brother. Until then, the success of our brother takes all the joy out of our own successes.

[An important note: This idea isn't communist, or anti-capitalist. It is actually post-capitalist. It's Torah. The reality is that it is a free market--but it's a free market in an open, not a closed system. It's a free market in which there are essentially limitless resources. The value can't be the demand, because the supply is unlimited. The market isn't the end, it's just a means to teach us all.]

[update: just noticed this quote on A Simple Jew :
Whoever desires something that is not his, will not get what he wants, and will lose what he already has.

(Talmud - Sotah 9a)


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