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Sunday, November 21, 2010

No Reason for Heaven - the Mercenary Personality

"Heaven offers nothing that a mercenary soul can desire." -C.S. Lewis

 Writers love to break the world down into categories. There was the big 4 Humors kick where everybody was trying to determine if they were melancholy, phelgmatic, choleric or sanquine. Later a fifth type was added called the "supine". There are the Myers-Briggs classification pairs based on the work of Carl Jung- extroversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, judgement/perception. And we all probably think of ourselves as either Type A or Type B personalities.

At the risk of adding to the general confusion, I'd like to add a another way of classifying people. I'd call it mercenary vs selfless or givers versus takers or even, to put it more bluntly - good versus evil. The classification gets to motivation. It's why we think we are here on Earth.

Are we here to server ourselves and our own needs or are we here to help others. Are we on Earth to take what we can get for ourselves or to give to those who need what we have to offer? It's a pretty fundamental difference and it pretty clearly identifies who you can trust and who you can't.

Even many people who pretend to be great givers, show themselves to be mercenaries in the end. They give to cover their efforts to acquire power, possessions or influence. It is the flaw of the progressive socialist. Under cover of universal charity, the leaders of the movement frantically acquire power and influence and work tirelessly to convince people to trade their liberty for the illusion of security.

Many of the capitalist persuasion hide greed and self-serving behind a facade of protecting liberty and freedom.

Liberal versus Conservative is a false dichotomy when you come down to it. Mercenary versus selfless is a far better way to clarify the motives of an individual.

C.S. Lewis' comment that heaven has no attraction for a mercenary heart gets at the great choice each human being must make. That choice is one we make inevitably. It is the final choice that determines the great "who we will serve" question that Joshua posed to the Israelites.

You will find mercenaries among Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians. Some of them are even, until the moment of truth, true-believers in their ideology. It's why the power-hungry are found among the churches. It's why good and kind men and women are found walking the halls of power, running political parties and leading men into battle. Whatever motivation brought them there, who they are will eventually be revealed - if not to man, then to God.

The great question is who are you? What do you believe is your ultimate purpose. On that question rests the eternal puzzle. Why am I here? What should I be doing while I'm here?

If you are here yourself, enjoy your time here, grab all you can get, because this is all you get. The world means all to you and your time here is the most important thing.

If you are here for others, you do what is right, suffer patiently and take no advantage. The world is only a means to an end and what comes after is the most important thing.

As someone told Indiana Jones once, "Choose wisely!"

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