The Factors In the Quest Of Comfort: IV. Wisdom

Three of the factors in the quest of comfort have now been discussed.

A fourth yet remains to be considered.

At first, economists spoke only of three factors in 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 take risks, leadership and ideas were just as essential to the production of wealth as land, labor and capital.

So it is with regard to the factors in the production of comfort.

We may bring to the quest of comfort a productive homestead; we may provide the necessary time; we may acquire the machines, but to these three factors we must add a fourth which shall play, in our effort to produce comfort, 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 which the existing state of art and science entitles us. It must make possible a spiritual1)Whenever the term “spiritual” is used in connection with comfort it is used as an antonym for “material” and without any intent to suggest anything mystical or religious.  as well as a material conquest of comfort.

Man does not live by bread alone.

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

It is the factor in the quest of comfort which transcends 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 also understanding.

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

For thus spoke Zarathustra:

If the goal of humanity is still lacking, is there not also lacking—humanity itself?

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

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

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

For you the reading of these lines may prove that accident.

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

Next Section | The Conquest Of Comfort

References   [ + ]

1. Whenever the term “spiritual” is used in connection with comfort it is used as an antonym for “material” and without any intent to suggest anything mystical or religious.