The Sly Steward

This is my interpretation of Luke 16:1-13

A man of wealth once accused his steward of recklessness. Distraught, worried how he’d survive without his position, the steward devised a scheme to lighten his burden. Before he was relieved of duty, he summoned all who owed his master money.

“You there! How much do you owe? A hundred? No, make it fifty! And you! How much must you pay? Well whatever it is, take off twenty!” And in this way, the steward made himself beloved amongst the people so they would take him in at the end of his time.

The man of wealth, upon hearing this clever plot, actually praised the steward for his shrewdness. It turns out that those who worship the wealth of this world are much wiser than those that seek only enlightenment. Through ill-gotten gains, they buy friendship, constructing a refuge for their time of need.

So if you too want to ensure a safe-harbor for yourself when all else fails, buy as many friends as possible while using whatever illegitimate means are at hand. Yet, consider that devotion to a part reveals devotion to the whole — and whoever deceives in a little reveals their overall dishonest nature.

But besides that, if you haven’t proven yourself with dirty money, who would trust you with truer treasures? And if you haven’t proven yourself with someone else’s possessions, who would give you any of your own!?

I’m being facetious of course. The alternative to an uncertain path paved with unprincipled profits, is a path to God. You obviously can’t follow two opposing routes at once. You can recognize God as your source of sustenance and eternal refuge — or you can make money the source of your salvation.

Matthew Commentary 03

The funny thing about reading spiritual works such as the Bible, is that you interpret different meanings and see different significances at different times.

One of the most remarkable things that Jesus said was that people should not only not-seek-vengeance for wrongs committed against them, but they should help the transgressor transgress even more! In other words, if you’re slapped on one cheek, provide your other cheek for ease-of-slapping as well. If someone demands your shirt, well give him your coat too. The first time I read that, I thought wow, this guy really must be of a godly nature, that’s some next-level forgiveness right there. He then goes on to say I should not only help these people, but I should LOVE them!? What!?

I thought his standards were impossibly high at this point. I thought I could never reach that level of zen. I figured Christianity wasn’t for me since I just couldn’t maintain that level of committed selflessness. It didn’t help that I believed the world to be a dark place filled with cutthroats wanting nothing more than to lie, cheat, and steal. I’d be left with nothing, I’d be taken advantage of to no end! When reading Matthew, I’d often just stick to the Sermon on the Mount part and ignore the miracle-related magic-stuff — “that’s just old-timey nonsense that’s not relevant today”, I’d think, “just give me the humanistic stuff and leave out the spiritual mumbo-jumbo”.

Well, can you really separate the two? From a physical-world perspective, it kind of makes sense to put up barriers and defend what you have. Yet from a spiritual-world perspective, there’s literally nothing to defend — what we’re experiencing is more dreamlike than actuality. If you want the shirt I’m wearing, sure, it’s not mine to begin with, I didn’t make it, God did and He can simply provide another — here, might as well take my coat as I didn’t make that either. And it turns out, people aren’t waiting in line to slap me — but if they did, sure go-ahead bro, I’ve got two cheeks ya know! It’s not my body, I’m just borrowing it for the time being.

So from a spiritual perspective, I can see how much easier it is to follow the teachings of Jesus. Trying to fit infinite love, selflessness, and unyielding forgiveness within a physical framework is an uphill battle. “I have to survive and earn my way through this world, everything I obtain belongs to me, and I work hard for it.” But to see the world as God’s creation, and myself as an invited guest provided everything I require upon entering, then I’m not entitled to anything, I’m just a guest same as the next guy — I don’t own this seat I’m sitting on nor anything else for that matter, it’s all God’s stuff.

From a spiritual perspective, I’m off the hook, God provides for me — end of story. Anything I wish, I need faith but the size of a mustard seed for it to manifest. How can you not love such a giving host? And being that everything is a creation of this host, how can you not love thy fellow guests? When I interact with others, I’m interacting with God’s creations — therefore, the way in which I treat others is the way in which I treat God himself, so how could I be anything but patient and respectful? And as Jesus said, love for God and neighbor are the great commandments upon which all others depend.

Sure you can try to live a life sans-spirituality — but why, when it’s so much easier the other way? That’s why Jesus seemed to be so frustrated by the end, when he was rebuking that entire generation for their faithlessness. If they’d only believe in the goodness of life, everything would work out, people would experience fulfillment, they’d be without illness, and everyone would get along. But no, the people refused to cooperate, obstinate in their pessimism and dislike for each other. So devoted they were to the physical life, that they murdered the guy for simply offering a better way.

It’s like his dad threw this great party called Earth and there were all these special activities planned for everyone’s amusement — but people started wandering off doing their own thing, smokin’ in the bathroom, pourin’ whiskey in the punch, kickin’ over potted plants, vandalizin’ the house, startin’ fights — and Jesus is trying to tell everyone to chill out, that his dad went to a lot of trouble for them, and they’ll have a much better time if they behave respectfully and get along. Well the crowd wasn’t havin’ it, they dumped a bowl of dip all over his head and threw that Poindexter in the pool.

Matthew Brief Summary

My quick summary of Matthew is: God’s son attempted to fix the world, only a few listened, he got disillusioned by the people’s intense negativity and rejection of his message — so he left.

The problem he tried to fix was a widespread bad-attitude — people seemed to think the world was a horrible place designed to inflict suffering upon its inhabitants. His message was that the world isn’t a bad place, in fact it’s great.

He tried to demonstrate that whatever you believe the world to be, it becomes. He healed sick people left and right. But with such dour attitudes, people kept manifesting the worst things they could imagine.

Eventually people got fed up with the light he shined in their faces, they booted him out so they could keep their sourpusses. They requested him to leave, and like a dutiful servant of the people, he departed.

I think the story shines a light on our own pessimism and tendency to reject life’s awesomeness in favor of focusing on all the things we don’t prefer. Just as they rejected Jesus, we do too when we refuse to cultivate an appreciation for how great life really is.

Matthew Commentary 02

If we take the book of Matthew as it is, then the world as described by Jesus does not support the idea that humans are fragile creatures struggling for survival within a chance-based physical reality. Instead, the world as described by Jesus is dreamlike. Whatever we wish, we can have. Resources are readily provided for us. Money is available wherever we look. Sickness can be cured instantly. People can get along. All the goodness of life is at hand — we need only grasp it.

Jesus said that whatever we seek, we find — but if all we perceive is negativity, we’ll find it in abundance. Time and time again Jesus was confronted and confounded by those that refused to see the goodness of life, instead they reverted to a pessimistic outlook, believing existence to be a miserable experience filled with suffering. Eventually Jesus gave the people what they wanted, what they asked for — his departure. Apparently they couldn’t take his sunny disposition, they’d rather disparage and hate than appreciate and love.

I’m as guilty as the rest of them — I’m a hard-core naysaying pessimist — a hater extraordinaire. But I’m starting to appreciate how wrong I was. Any gift I’ve been given, I’d scrutinize, criticize, and let my suspicions run wild — never just a simple “thanks”. If I’m given something, it stirs feelings of anger and frustration and disappointment. Perhaps that’s why I never give things to other people, I’d just expect the same unappreciative attitude that I have.

And the same goes for the gift of life of course, I’ve done sooooooo much complaining about it. How could I be provided anything good in life, I’d simply rip it apart and remain paranoid about why I received it. Just as the crowd did, I choose Barabbas every damn day. “Torture the caring guy trying to help everyone!! Yeah! Get him outta my sight! Haha that pansy-ass! Free the bad-dude! Hell Yeah!” Every time I choose a bad attitude, adopt a pessimistic perspective, use an unkind word, focus on the worst aspects of a situation, ignore the great things around me, I choose Barabbas.

I guess I’m starting to feel ashamed about what a crappy guest I’ve been — I was graciously invited to the party, but I stood in the corner sulking while the host provided the best food and entertainment possible. At any attempt to coax me out, I hissed and cursed and held my ground. But I was never thrown out for my bad attitude. I was never denied the nourishment I needed, the clothes and shelter, nor even the slight companionship I’d accept into my tiny corner — I’ve always been looked after.

I recognize that I must drop my defensiveness. Life isn’t out to get me. And I realize that this isn’t the first time I’ve realized this — but I must make it a priority and make it stick this time. I thank Jesus for illustrating the importance of maintaining an appreciative and loving attitude. I also thank Jesus for explaining that the fundamental nature of the universe isn’t a crapshoot — I’m cared for, and I should care. And of course I thank the Creator for putting up with my nonsense and maintaining patience with me.

Jesus said that love-of-God and love-of-each-other are the greatest commandments — so in that vein, I love you, one and all. And I in return must receive love graciously. After Ebenezer Scrooge realized his lesson when the spirits visited him, he found out that Christmas wasn’t over yet, it wasn’t too late, he could right his wrongs and live out the rest of his life spreading Christmas cheer. I should be as ol’ Ebenezer, ready to spread the cheer, as well as receive it. As Tiny Tim said, “God Bless Us, Every One!”

Matthew Commentary 01

I just spent some time putting together a factual summation of Matthew. I think the biggest take-away is that the writer is not the best storyteller — pretty bad actually. My favorite part is the Sermon on the Mount near the beginning, but the end of the book is weak and paints Jesus in a negative light.

To characterize Jesus as he’s depicted in the first third of the book, he’s a guy that’s excited to get out there and help people and change the world. He truly cares about the common man and he wants the system to care too. He’s all about changing everyone’s perception of the world, helping them to experience existence without sickness and suffering. He wants everyone to get along and appreciate the world that’s been provided for them. He’s like a proud son that wants people to understand the great thing his dad made, and he’s doing what he can to fix any problems he sees along the way.

To characterize Jesus as he’s depicted in the last two-thirds, he’s a guy that’s disillusioned by the people he’s trying to save. He’s surrounded by incompetent followers that can’t understand him. He’s bordering on petulant at some points. Plus he constantly argues with, and outright insults, the religious leaders of his day — they may be wrong, but his methodology runs counter to his earlier message. Instead of a proud son, he seems like he’s given up and just wants to head home. It sounds like he had the highest of hopes when he arrived but the people’s rejection of all that’s good in life just sent him reeling.

Overall, way too little time is spent on his actual message and frankly it gets overshadowed by the dour ending. The final scenes are undramatic and anticlimactic, they’re over too quickly and lack significance. If I had to recommend the best section to read, I’d say chapters 4 through 9.


Although, the more I think about it, perhaps that’s the author’s point: the dejection Jesus feels because of the people’s unrelenting negativity. We the people blatantly choose negativity despite the available alternative. Jesus tried and tried to make people see the light before them, but they kept turning again and again toward darkness. People aren’t necessarily choosing evil, but they’re choosing pessimism and hopelessness.

Jesus kept saying that the kingdom of heaven is at hand — which can only mean that it’s literally within our grasp right here and now — it’s not a fantasy realm that awaits us in death — THIS is the fantasy realm, the one we’re experiencing right now. And when we realize that, the world can fulfill every wish we have if we simply allow it, all we need is faith the size of a mustard-seed.

But no, what do we choose? Barabbas, the notorious prisoner — again and again. Yet by choosing so, we imprison ourselves within bars of our own negativity. A gift given yet we reject it, criticize it, look for the worst in every crevice. Yet this gift-giver doesn’t give up, no, but provides us another chance — His son, His messenger comes to make us aware of our error. This world IS the garden He created, we’ve been in paradise the entire time, yet our perspective has poisoned the perfection that surrounds.

And all that is required of us, is to receive — graciously and with appreciation of course. When we read Matthew we should be shaken-awake by the sight of a light so bright extinguished unceremoniously by mankind’s pessimism. The message Matthew brings is that it’s not too late… Christmas isn’t over yet! We’ve received the greatest gift imaginable and we still have time to enjoy it.

Matthew – Factual Summation 01

Foretold by prophesy, Jesus descended directly from God. Seeing the underlying foundation of this world, he was not tempted by materialistic trappings. He told others of this foundation, relieving their confusion and healing their ailments. He said, the kingdom of heaven is at hand, they need only grasp it. The hopeless and the sad, the weak and the wronged, the caring and the good, the peaceful and the abused — all can experience the heaven they seek — comfort and satisfaction are theirs when they shine their light into the dark world.

But to enter this state, one must excel beyond the ways of mortal justice. Anger, impatience, cruelty, carnality, treachery, blame, vengeance, and intolerance — these are the evils that plague men’s minds, injustices that must be eradicated by those seeking the abode of God. Be warned though, that this perfect path should not be used as a means to impress other men.

Know this: that God already knows what you need — and God provides. By God we are forgiven, thus we must forgive as He does — God’s ways should become our ways.

Whatever you treasure, wherever you focus, that is what defines you. Therefore, put no faith in the physical world, but have faith in God the provider. Whatever nourishment and care you require, trust that God supplies it. Worry, only shows your lack of faith. Seek closeness to God, for by Him all things are given.

This world is not for you to judge and criticize. If by a condemning eye you see the world, then you shall find the negativity you seek. For whatever it is you ask, you’ll get. Knock, and it’ll open! Or do you believe God so inept that He would give less than your heart’s desire? To have others see the good in you, see the good in them.

This is not an effortless path without dangers. Beware those that claim closeness to God yet truly hunger to catch prey by trickery — differentiate them by their results — the wholesome produce what is wholesome, the rotten produce what is rotten. Know those that simply say they are holy, are not so — only those that follow God’s ways enter into his abode.

Let these words be the foundation upon which you build your life and you will weather any storm. Whereas those that fail to act upon these words will lack strength, crumbling under the storm. And so it was that Jesus spoke, having an insight beyond that of mortal men.

By their faith in what he said, many were healed of their afflictions. The diseased, the disabled, those tormented by darkness, and even the recently deceased — it took but a word to heal them all. Jesus regularly demonstrated the immaterial nature of the world — that which exists in the physical, doesn’t have to be — belief makes it so. Even the wind and waves obeyed his command. While others trembled, he calmed the surrounding turbulence.

The religious leaders of the day looked to undermine him and accused Jesus of wrongdoing, but he saw through their wickedness. What Jesus taught was a new way to perceive the world, an outlook where forgiveness and compassion prevail. Jesus was concerned for the people, as they were so lost to the world, and he wanted workers in great numbers to help them all.

But what he had were twelve, twelve disciples he told to travel by faith, relying not on their own considered preparations, but on what God provides along the way. Jesus told them to cast God’s light, healing those in need, those lost within a darkened world. Yet he warned them of the persecution they’d face by predators holding power in this world. But he told them to be fearless against these foes. That although this is truly a battle in which lives will be lost, lives will surely be won. That their service is of the utmost importance, and the reward great for such dedication and faith.

As Jesus spoke, the people as a whole did not listen. Despite the miracles performed, they could not grasp that the goodness of life, heaven itself, was within their reach. And as he predicted, the predators sought ways to convict him and his followers of wrongdoing. Yet he continued to tangle with these religious leaders, debating the supremacy of mercy and compassion over the law, and whether it was he or they with the best intentions.

Jesus explained to his closest followers that heaven is hidden from those that do not seek it, and so he spoke to the crowds with analogies that were difficult to decipher. The goodness of life, God’s kingdom, is entered into by a dedicated faith — a trust in its presence. And those that ignore these directions, give up easily, or succumb to negativity, will never see it. All these types of people exist together, but only those with faith truly see. And truly, the kingdom of God is worth more than anything already owned.

Jesus continued speaking to crowds and healing their sick. And at one point, in a remote location, having only a few loaves and a couple fish to feed them, Jesus blessed the food and all were fed until satisfied. Later on while he was praying near the shore, his boat-bound disciples found themselves tossed about by waves — seeing his form walking on water, they were afraid, yet he reassured them. One even attempted to walk to Jesus, until his faith faltered.

Jesus continued debating the religious leaders about their hypocrisy and how they teach the laws of man as if they come from God. He warned his disciples that those leaders were like blindmen leading blind followers into a pit with their dangerous teachings. Oftentimes Jesus would rebuke his closest followers for their lack of faith and inability to understand what he meant by his words.

Jesus then warned his disciples that he would soon suffer at the hands of the religious hierarchy — and if they continued following, they too would suffer. But if they continue, great will be their reward. Soon after, Jesus took a few followers up a mountain where he glowed like the sun before them. God himself spoke and confirmed that He is pleased with His son.

A man with an unwell son came before Jesus and said he first went to the disciples but they were unable to cure the illness. Jesus rebuked the entire generation for their unbelief and proceeded to cure the boy. He told his disciples that they were unable to offer a cure because their faith was so minuscule, yet if they had but a little bit more they could move mountains — nothing would be impossible.

At one time when Jesus was asked to pay a particular tax, he told his disciple to go and catch a fish — within its mouth was found the necessary payment.

Jesus spoke with his disciples about the supremacy of children, about attempting to win over those that sin, and forgiving those that sin against you. He told them of the difficulty in seeing God’s kingdom for those so heavily invested in earthly treasures. He also debated religious leaders about divorce, proclaiming a couple that joins together becomes one flesh through God and should not be separated by man.

Jesus warns that those seeking power and position in the kingdom of heaven come in last, whereas those that serve others come in first. And as Jesus went on his journey to Jerusalem, he healed two blind men with only a touch. Once there, he flipped tables and cleared the temple of those using the house of worship as a means to make a profit. And upon returning to the city the next day, a hungry Jesus permanently withered a tree for its lack of fruit and told his disciples that such powers are possible through faith, and that those lacking doubt have the power to cast even mountains into the sea. With belief, all things asked for are received.

In the temple, Jesus debated the religious leaders that challenged him. They tried to trick him into admitting fault but he saw through their wickedness — and with analogies, he rebuked them for their poor stewardship over the people. He told them their preeminence over others is coming to an end. When asked which was the greatest commandment, Jesus said it is to love God completely — and the second greatest is to love your neighbor — these form the foundation of God’s law.

Jesus then told the crowds that those leaders were nothing but hypocrites that held their positions for the esteem given them by men. He told the crowds not to seek status and titles, placing themselves above other men — you are all brothers and there is but one father, teacher, and leader above all. The greatest among you is he who humbles himself and serves others.

Jesus says the religious leaders prevent the people from entering into the kingdom of heaven, nor do they go in themselves. He calls them blind fools that care more about the superficial aspects of religion rather than the deeper meaning. They appear well kept on the outside but inwardly are full of uncleanliness. They willingly persecute and even murder God’s messengers.

Jesus then went out and spoke with his disciples warning them not to be misled, but hang-on till the end despite the suffering they may endure. He said they should remain alert for his return, ever faithful. They must do good with what they’ve already been given and by their stewardship they’ll be given even more. For when you care for and comfort those in need, you care for me. Yet woe to him that cares not for those in need.

As the religious leaders plotted to kill Jesus, he warned his followers of his impending crucifixion. One follower went to the religious leaders and offered to betray Jesus if they would pay him. During his last supper, Jesus made mention of this betrayal. Afterwards, he became troubled while awaiting the appointed hour. Eventually his betrayer came with an armed group ready to seize Jesus who offered no resistance because he knew what had to be done.

Jesus was brought before the religious leaders and asked whether he was the Christ, son of God. When he answered, they convicted him for blasphemy. And as Jesus had earlier predicted, one of his disciples denied even knowing Jesus when he was asked by a bystander.

Jesus was bound and delivered to the civil authority. The disciple that betrayed Jesus felt remorse and returned the money he was paid and hanged himself. Due to a tradition, the crowds were given the choice to release Jesus or a known criminal — the crowd chose to crucify Jesus. Prior to crucifixion, Jesus was whipped and mocked by the soldiers.

While hanging, those that passed-by mocked and insulted Jesus. Even those hanging next to him hurled insults. Eventually, after hours past, Jesus let go. A wealthy follower of Jesus came and asked for the body and had it placed within a rocky tomb. Because Jesus had said he’d rise again after three days, the religious leaders demanded a guard be placed upon the tomb so that disciples couldn’t steal the body and claim it had risen.

On the third day an angel came and removed the rock from the tomb and frightened the soldiers. The soldiers were paid hush money by the religious leaders to claim that disciples actually stole the body while the soldiers slept. But in truth, Jesus had returned just as he said and appeared before the remaining disciples. He tasked them with making disciples of all nations and said he’d be with them always.


This is my current interpretation of Ecclesiastes
(version 1)

part 1

Existence appears significant and solid, yet it’s merely a mirage. Man’s efforts produce nothing of value in the vastness of the eternal universe. Generations continually come and go, the sun repeatedly rises and sets, the wind forever blows round and round, the rivers flow constantly into the insatiable seas. Nothing is new, it’s all been done before and will all be done again, yet mankind fails to perceive this.

I am driven to seek knowledge in all things, yet it’s an unattainable task. As king I witnessed the efforts of mankind, yet life is nothing but a thrilling dream. The broken cannot be fixed and the flaws are too many to count. In my relentless quest for knowledge, I also found distress.

part 2

And so I sought enjoyment, but this too lacked substance. Laughter is a mindless reflex and delight accomplishes nothing. Like the merry masses, I drank of wine and let my passions lead the way. I accumulated great possessions and treasures, lived in lavish houses with lush gardens, all while served by many men and women.

I became greater than all those before me. What I wanted I took, denying myself nothing. I was pleased by all I achieved. Yet looking back, it was as if a daydream, fleeting and intangible. And so I compared the fate of the wise to the foolish, those that see to those that reside in darkness, and I realized their identical outcome. I wondered what use was wisdom if it simply vanished at the end of life. Because of this futility, I became frustrated.

All I had built by my skill and knowledge, I must leave behind to those lacking my wisdom — this is a hateful happening. Of what use is the fruit of strenuous work to the doer? Devotion to tangible things causes nothing but strain and grief.

I therefore came to this conclusion: eating, drinking, and finding joy in one’s efforts — these are the gifts of life. Those appreciative of these gifts receive delight, while the unappreciative languish in hard labor.

part 3

The happenings of this world occur at designated times within a narrative that’s gradually revealed. While engaged with this narrative, man is tasked with deriving enjoyment from the fulfillment of his life, appreciating the provisions of his nourishment, and perceiving value in his efforts. Life gives this opportunity to man.

The plots of this world are eternal, there is nothing to add or subtract, everything has been done and will be done again. Life lacks fairness and every man will find himself judged. And what of the beasts of this world? Man and beast share the same breath, as one dies so does the other — how is man any more than beast? From the earth both rise and fall, and no one knows whether they divert after death. Therefore man should be happy in his earthly endeavors, as that is his place — for what comes after his life he cannot know.

part 4

I then looked upon the condition of oppression. On one side were the oppressed, drenched in their tears, on the other, oppressors saturated with power — yet both lacked means to end their own distress. What a nasty state of affairs, so much so that I envied the dead, and even more so I envied those yet to exist, for they have not seen this evil.

I have witnessed the ways in which men compete with one another as rivals. But for what? While it’s foolish to remain completely dormant, a more relaxed approach is better than fiercely straining to overtake others.

Those toiling endlessly, lacking loved ones to care for, this too is a senseless way to live. Two are better than one, as one can assist the other — what help is there for he who falls alone? In cold, two can combine their warmth. And if attacked, two are stronger than one, three even more so.

Even kings come and go. The lowly rise while the high sink. Those celebrated by the masses can lose their favor.

part 5

Don’t demand life proceed in a particular way, and don’t make promises you can’t keep, simply watch and wait for life to unfold. Upon witnessing injustice and oppression of the poor, don’t be shocked at this drama, know that it’s set in place for a greater purpose — the excitement of existence is for all to experience.

Those that love money cannot be satisfied with money, and those that love accumulation cannot be satisfied by acquiring more — these are empty dreams. Of what use is abundance except to witness surplus waste away? Those partaking in a fair share sleep soundly, while those hoarding life’s treasures suffer a stress-filled slumber. Those that stash away wealth injure themselves, as riches provide only the sensation of safety yet are susceptible to loss, resulting in grief. As one is born with nothing, so will he depart with nothing — of what use is the stockpiling of sorrow?

Better than this, is simply to eat and drink while enjoying one’s efforts — this is the reward of life, not riches. And know that the strains of life will not be remembered by those focusing on its joys.

part 6

What good are the tangible aspects of life to those incapable of enjoying them? What good is a prosperous family to those discontented with life? The unborn are better off than those afflicted with such dissatisfaction. What good is longevity to those not delighting in life?

Man labors incessantly for sustenance, yet remains unsatisfied with existence. The wise gain nothing more than the witless and the destitute gain nothing more than the dead. It’s better to appreciate what’s attainable than to wallow in want.

What is, is. Man cannot alter the order of existence. On his path through life, a man cannot know the ultimate outcome of his actions, whether they be good or bad. And when measured upon an eternal scale, a man’s life is shadow, weightless amongst the entirety.

part 7

More so than a feast, a funeral inspires an appreciation for life. More so than laughter, a sad face inspires kindness. The wise seek the source of satisfaction while fools seek the facade. Resist the siren song of the fool whose sweet words leave a bitter taste. Though it be blinding, seek the light of the wise.

The fool seeks to abuse his power and influence, values pride over patience, is quick to anger, and speaks wistfully of the good ol’ days. The wise seek the wisdom that makes life livable. Man does not shape life, but is shaped by life. When satisfied be appreciative, but do not fear adversity, as life creates both conditions — simply watch as the narrative unfolds.

Within my life, I’ve seen everything. I’ve seen good men martyred and wicked men rewarded. Don’t take life too seriously, it’s not worth the anguish. Yet don’t be cruel or careless so as to finish life too quickly. Blessed are those seeking balance, respecting and appreciating this life.

Realize, wisdom is what provides strength in this world. Also realize, no one is without flaw, and as others criticize you, know that you have criticized others — so don’t give weight to careless words.

I sought the truths of life, yet found attainment of such knowledge difficult. Life beguiles man’s mind with desire and impulsiveness. And while under the influence of lusts, wisdom cannot be grasped.

part 8

The wise man is as a beacon burning bright.

I recommend obeying the law, since those with authority will do as they please without consequence. Even when distressed, have patience and a belief that all things have a proper time and place. No one knows what’s to come, no one has control over life, as ultimate authority does not lie in the hands of man.

Because wicked acts lack immediate consequence, people engage in them. But even though it appears that evil deeds go unpunished, it’s better to respect and appreciate the creations of this earth, for the wicked live as shadows, unable to grasp the goodness of life.

There’s a futility to what’s done on earth however, as it’s a place where the innocent can be punished and the villainous rewarded. Because of this I say: eat, drink, and be merry — there’s nothing better than that. No matter a man’s circumstances, he can try to extract enjoyment.

While seeking the truths of life, I came to understand that life was not comprised of truths, but of endless mysteries not meant to be solved.

part 9

No one knows the path their life will follow, yet every path ends the same. No matter one’s actions or intentions, all share the same fate. But surely it’s better to be alive, even as a lowly creature, than a noble dead one. Although the living know they’ll die, the dead know nothing, lacking even the remembrance of life.

So eat happily, drink cheerfully, enjoy whatever you do. Adorn yourself well while savoring time with loved ones, as this is the gift of life. Whatever you do, embrace it, appreciate it now, as nothingness awaits you in the grave.

I saw in life that nothing is certain, every endeavor is left to chance. The strong don’t always win, the smart don’t always prosper, and the skilled don’t always succeed. And like unsuspecting animals caught in traps, no one knows when their time is up.

Something else I realized, there was once a small city under siege, surrounded by a powerful force, yet it was saved by a poor wise man from within, but even so he was soon forgotten. Although wisdom is better than strength, a poor man’s words are without esteem. And so it’s the words of the privileged that are heard more than the words of the wise.

part 10

A spot of rot spoils a whole batch, as does a little foolishness spoil much good. Should those with power become angry with you, remain calm, as gentleness alleviates insult.

I’ve noticed an absurdity, where those that are low are high and those that are high are low. And those that intend calamity, may well find themselves caught by it.

Wisdom is like a freshly sharpened axe, allowing work without strain, And while words from the wise are an asset, foolish words are a destructive force, they proliferate while spoken, weakening all. A fool speaks with confidence about things he does not know.

Cursed is the land led by immature minds. While tending to selfish wants, they let infrastructure crumble. For them, money is the answer to all things. But do not denigrate such leaders, not even in thought, for it can result in nothing good.

part 11

Invest in life and in people, don’t be so cautious as to do nothing. Ignorant of the underlying hows and whys of life, don’t fret and just live. Keep busy, who knows which endeavors will succeed. Appreciate the pleasant, but also the unpleasant, as it’s all part of the show.

Follow the most lighthearted of passions, knowing there are consequences for wicked acts. Remove distress from your thoughts by perceiving life as a fleeting fantasy.

part 12

Appreciate life now while you can. And know that wisdom is what unifies the world. But as words are only words, life must be lived. Lastly, respect this realm and all within it.