It is good that we keep in mind a phrase like this: “do something good every day for yourself and for others.” Kindness is the best investment, as it reverts to good feelings, good experiences, and good consequences. However, sometimes we forget this in pursuit of something much less crucial and transcendental for our lives: money.
Recently, the news appeared in the media of an old woman who had kept the curious promise she made to her husband before he died. He asked him to bury him with all the money he had accumulated throughout his life and his wife, who was compliant like the most, made the statement in charge.
When asked by the relatives, she said that she had deposited all the money in an account and that inside the coffin she had placed a check with the value of that amount so that when she woke up she could go and collect it.
The truth is that we will not know if this rich deceased will ever be able to appear at the bank branch with such intention, what we do know is that the metaphor of this little story is enriching for us, because it helps us to rethink how we manage our lives.
There is life before death
In one of the interviews they did with Eduardo Punset, a great scientific popularizer who is known to most thanks to his Redes program, they asked him about his favorite phrase or quote. He replied that as a scientist he had been impressed by one he had read painted in one of the New York subway stations.
It prayed as follows: “there is life before death. ” Simple, straightforward and puzzling. It’s like saying, “living kills”, but beware! in the phrase living is before killing. In the end, the phrase represents one of those few sentences that would have survived the methodical and systematic doubt proposed by one of the great rationalist philosophers, René Descartes.
Following the thread of the great thinkers, there is a certain agreement that the western culture in which we are immersed has its bases in certain historical periods. One of them is Greece and its classical philosophy; another is the birth of Christianity and the influence that it would have on philosophy.
In the need for control that all religions have had over society, a Christianity emerged that pointed to life as a preparation for death, for the encounter with God.
Somehow life was relegated by directing our gaze towards the horizon, away from the mud that said we were stepping on. In other words, it was about surviving in order to live later, about walking to obtain a final, final and eternal reward.
What is left of paradise?
Religion during the 20th century lost much of its power, its ability to point the way and to be heard and obeyed. However, in our way of seeing the world there are still embers in this way of looking for our essence.
We continue with our eyes on the horizon, educating our children to study, prepare, learn a lot, earn a lot of money and be like 20 ants and that they do not resemble the cicada in the well-known children’s fable.
“The cicada was happy enjoying the summer: the sun was shining, the flowers gave off their aroma … and the cicada sang and sang. Meanwhile her friend and neighbor, a little ant, spent the whole day working, gathering food.
– Ant friend! Don’t you get tired of so much work? Rest for a while with me while I sing something for you. – The cicada said to the ant.
– You would do better to gather supplies for the winter and stop being so lazy – answered the ant, while carrying the grain, busy.
The cicada laughed and went on singing, ignoring her friend. Until one day, when he woke up, he felt the intense cold of winter. The trees were without leaves and snowflakes fell from the sky, while the cicada wandered the fields, frozen and hungry. He saw in the distance the house of his neighbor the ant, and he approached to ask for help.
– Ant friend, I’m cold and hungry, won’t you give me something to eat? You have a lot of food and a warm house, while I have nothing.
The ant ajar the door of his house and said to the cicada.
– Tell me, cicada friend, what were you doing while I got up early to work? What were you doing while I carried grains of wheat from here to there?
“He sang and sang under the sun,” answered the cicada.
– You did that? Well if you sang in the summer, now dance during the winter-
And he closed the door, leaving out the cicada, who had learned his lesson.
Moral: Who wants to have a good winter, while young, should take advantage of the time.
There is life before life
Psychologists speak of existential crises, of certain stops along the way that at certain ages do not cause confusion. These are moments when we look at our feet and feel vertigo because we are not used to being aware that they are actually a reflection of time itself, they never stop.
“Being the richest man in the cemetery does not interest me … What matters to me is going to bed every night knowing that we have done something wonderful”
I would say more than the phrase from the New York subway: there is life before what we think is life. Before we knew much, before we had a lot of money, before we got married, retired, or had children. There is life before waking up tomorrow and that life are moments that do not have to follow the conception of the path and of stages that religion once postulated and that even today, without knowing it, we assume as ours.
So it is best to do something good every day, because goodness is much more enriching than money both in the course of life and at its limit. At the end of the day it is about sowing to reap, so the question that arises is: what is better than planting goodness to reap wealth? The answer is clear: without good feelings in reality at the end of our life we will have … NOTHING.
That is why it is crucial that we keep this thought very present and that we do not stop repeating to ourselves “do something good every day, because goodness gives us true vital wealth, not money.” That will be our true reward: living life.