MEANWHILE, MANAHEEM has been doing some heavy thinking: to love or not to love? That is the question. For loving, it seems, must exert on one some pull toward the material realm. This is true even with a woman like Claressa, who is as much a confirmed nonconformist as I am myself. This may be part of the reason that our marriage fell apart previously. Perhaps the fault was with neither of us. Perhaps it was simply the fact that the demands of married life and every-day living brought too much pressure to bear upon the both of us and upon our non-conformity.
On the other hand, perhaps we both could have given a little in certain areas, as the need called for, instead of trying to remain rigid. I do love her, God knows. Just to see her is to love her. It can’t be helped. I thought for a while it could, but now I find myself being pulled once more into the web of love.
But to love means to marry, or at least to live together, and to do so means that one must set one’s goals on the obtaining of more material wealth. I suppose that this is one area in which a compromise must be made with one’s self if one is to remain sane. On the one hand, I desire to be as free as possible from the influence of the world system with its great emphasis on the material. I have been doing business only because it has been necessary for my own personal survival. Now I shall have to start thinking in plural terms. Now it will be for our survival and for our happiness as well.
I do love her. No question about that. But I realize that this love is going to make me more concerned for material things than I have been.
However, I realize, try as one might, one could never be entirely free from the pull of the material and still live in this world. It takes a certain amount of this world’s goods just to survive. And I suppose one can’t go around as the ostrich with one’s head in the sand all the time, trying to be spiritual at the expense of the physical.
I’ve found this out on the personal level. But then, after all, what is ultimate spiritual good? Does it really entail ignoring the physical? Or does it include the proper use of the physical for spiritual good? After all, our love is more than merely physical. It has a deeply spiritual side to it. Howbeit it is physical also. So then, in order to further and keep alive something that is both physical and spiritual, one must perhaps use the physical realm to some degree. And if we use it to further that which has in it a spiritual element, although being physical as well, does not the using of it then become a spiritual thing? At the very least, might we not conclude that in order to live and love in this world, which is mostly physical, we must be practical and learn to use the physical or material realm to the best advantage?
So then, perhaps I was wrong in trying to seek spirituality through avoidance of the material. Perhaps whatever Gods there are put us here in this material universe in order that we might learn to use it to the best advantage. Ah, but there’s the trick– to learn to use it without being used by it. That’s what I must try my best to do.
I suppose that having learned that, I shall have learned all I need to learn about the material realm, and shall be freer than before to pursue spiritual goals. Why had I not thought of this before?
O’ Claressa, Claressa, my love, we shall have such a beautiful life together now, you and I. How beautiful indeed will be our new life, lived according to these, my newly learned principles of life!
I’m still wondering, however, just what ultimate spiritual good is, if, in fact, such a thing exists. If it does, I shall certainly try to find it. No, we shall try to find it together. They say that two heads are better than one. Well, what about two non-conformists? If there is spiritual truth to be found, I’m sure we can find it together, no matter what the cost.
But now to the very practical matter at hand. How can I go about getting more money? Herod is paying me to mastermind the revolt against Pilate. But that will hardly be enough for us to start our life together. I know! I’ll blackmail Herod. Although Herod’s secret affair with his brother Philip’s wife is known in several circles, Herod himself doesn’t know that it’s known at all. I saw them sneaking off together after that party the other week. So I can use this little incident as a wedge to get more money from Herod. Why not? Oh, dear me, here I am letting myself be corrupted by the material realm! Or am I? Actually, I’m simply taking advantage of the corruption of others. The trick, as I already noted, is to use the world without being used by it. So here I go.
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