Is the purpose of one’s profession to make a living? [Surely] it is a means for it since we have to live. Yet, livelihood can be made by any profession. Thus, there is the question of choosing it and the person might be confused in that concern. All professions yield. Thus, there is a taste for this profession or that. There is an element other than the financial one. There is [a possibility for a] work that accompanies our inner reality, i.e., there is an enthusiasm of existence and the feeling of the necessity to produce through certain instruments and with different tastes. In order to obtain money there is the manner for creation, self-realization and the conviction of the person that something calls him/[her] to walk the path, which is part of him/[her]self. Profession is an expansion of the self, similar to the language that we use, or the clothes that you put on.
Thus, there has been the need for creativity, or that which we thought it is; in the sense that it might be frail. However, it is our contribution since there is kind of an inner drive which makes you feel that it is present in the work that you offer. Thus, you emerge through that which you produce and you receive from it some of existence.
Years ago, I have noticed that the food which a woman provides is definitely better than what another presents, though the used materials are the same. What is the difference between the two?
There is kind of creation, a kind of creativity, and a personality that is committed to the food or to its preparation. So are the properties at home. How did these come skillfully, while others appear in a studied manner? There are many innovators in the economic society, except in those huge industries, where there is no big space for subjectivity in production.
In creativity, there is praise to God the Creator; a kind of an expansion of God’s creativity or God’s participation, as Christian theology expresses itself [in these terms]. There is a kind of unity [or commonality] between us and God which elevates the material that we produce to a state higher than its being merely touched by our humanity. If it were other than this there would be a separation between humanity and divinity, and the earth would not have heaven as its goal, or as if there is subject cut-out from its predicate, or an ‘alpha’ which does not expect its ‘omega’, or as if there is a creation which was found in order [merely] to observe.
This is why economics will end up as theology. If it were otherwise, God would not be the source of everything. Is the human being thrown into the world in order to produce or to praise [God], i.e. to praise as he/ [she] produces?
You would be working with others; not only in the case of huge industries, but also in a simple factory for wood-work. Nevertheless, the feeling of unity presumes a spiritual community rather than a dry political society, built on collectivism in place of cooperation. A spiritual community, in a mysterious sense, is one entity or one existent, having an organism, and is to be conceived as one regardless of its plurality. This does not mean falling apart. To fall apart is a sin and it is contrary to sharing and the inner interpenetration among the existents.
What saves humanity is that money does not interfere in all domains, and thus, they do not become blurred. Blessed is the person who does not attach importance to money and acquires only little of it. At that point, one is free and is not forced to lie. When Socrates was asked by those who passed judgment on him, how could you prove your honesty? He said: I am poor. One of the greatest painters, Van Gogh, had died as indigent. This did not prevent the beauty of his works. The great, great ones, in all areas of art, most of the times experience financial lack. The creative one is then free.
All the saints were poor and were striving to live in poverty, in order that they might own the only treasure that is God, through whom they could give up everything. Those did not have something to eat, drink, or something to shelter them or to clothe them. The ‘nothing’ for them was the condition for the acquisition of the Holy Spirit, according to the statement of St. Seraphim of Sarov. Poverty was for them the guarantee for their emergence.
This dispossession is a condition to till the earth, as God has ordered us at creation. God has made it a possession with the condition of work, and in this way the human being comes to be on the image of his/[her] Lord. “My Father is working still, and I am working.” (John 5: 17)
The purpose of work is the human being and not production for its own sake. The purpose of work is the growth of the human being in virtue, and not constructions of thought or stone. This accompanies human advancement, which needs much complexity in order to occur. It might seem that we are after a culture that is about intellectual and material levels established for their own beauty. And the truth is that the purpose behind all our establishing of cultures is the joy of the human being by the angelic [or heavenly] state, which one might attain, and his/[her] establishing cultures is an image of divine life which cares for us from above.
The [notion of] work was in the paradise before Adam’s Fall, and the present world is the recovered paradise, or this is how it is hoped to be. However, this might not be realized unless each one of us does not complete his/[her] existence through that which descends upon him/[her] from above. Thus, that which is heavenly in our hearts unites with the earth that makes us, and at the very end nothing remains in us other than divine light.
Whenever we exclude those who follow a special ascetic method, nothing remains for us other than to work, which makes us think and through it we serve, whenever we aspire [to work] as a path to virtue, which is alone our light.
As we are surrounded by work we become saints, and sainthood [or holiness] is in the relentless pursuit, which knows neither tiresome nor boredom. In modern societies researches revolve around production, so that the rich and their countries eat and remain entrenched to the earth, as if they were independent of heaven. They would let the poor and their countries die. Our Fathers were not mistaken when they said: all sins begin with devouring, since it settles your body and declares it as independent of the bodies of the saints.
We need to construct a new philosophy as the foundation for political economics, which might reveal to us a new human being. That is, we need to bring economics back to God, and the inner reality of the human being to his/[her] virtues and the greatest virtue is love, without which there would be neither earth nor heaven.
You might repent, as you are in your work, whenever you find a way to become a new human being who makes good. Has the time for the Church, the bride, come?
Translated by Sylvie Avakian-Maamarbashi
Original Text: “الأرض الجديدة” –An Nahar- 03.12.2011