Friday, November 4, 2011

The Ultimate Forms of Savings

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also."  Matthew 6:19-21 (ASV).

More and more people are coming to the realization that things cannot keep going on the way they have been.  From the limited perspective of their own lifetimes, and possibly their parent's or children's lifetimes (even grandparent's or grandchildren's), they just see progress in the past and decline in the future.  Many are asking what is the best way to hang on to what they have.  For some, gold is the answer.  Others rely on a well-stocked pantry.  Guns and ammo are another popular option.  There are good arguments for all of them.  But none of them are ultimate; they can all be taken away or used up.

Obviously, the ultimate form of wealth is one that transcends death.  Various religions have different concepts of what exactly that is.  Jesus talked about "storing treasures in heaven."  Karma is another such concept for those who believe in reincarnation.  Spiritual growth is certainly a worthy pursuit, and I encourage anyone who is interested in this to find someone to help them.  I cannot however help you choose; the best I can do is relate my own experiences.

After your favorite deity, the next best thing to rely on is yourself.  Specifically, if you are looking to save what you can for the future, your knowledge and your health are the best investments.  Both can be maintained for most of a lifetime.  Neither can be stolen from you.  Others may be able to damage both, but they cannot in doing so make themselves smarter or healthier.  There are many options still available for improving both mind and body; I will touch upon a number of them in coming weeks.

After your spirit, mind, and body lies your relationships and your community.  In this world, other people will continue on after you are gone.  Hopefully, they will be there for you when your body and mind start to decline.  Many sources of advice exist for how to have good relationships with others, and from the statistics, many need help in this area.  How to build strong communities is a bit of a mystery to me.  Many attempts have been made, but in a majority of cases they only grow while the founders are still alive; the next generation just maintains what they have, and decline sets in quickly thereafter.

Resilient, cohesive communities are one of the most valuable assets on the Long Ascent.

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