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What Life Means To Me by Ammon Hennacy, June 1, 1948 - Catholic Worker odds & ends
September 11th, 2010
12:29 pm


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What Life Means To Me by Ammon Hennacy, June 1, 1948
1. Courage is the most important virtue, for, as Johnson said to Boswell, "If you do not have it you cannot practice the other virtues.

2. Voluntary poverty. The fundamental means of the Catholic Worker and Tolstoy; it keeps the radical from becoming bourgeois and selling out.

3. Pacifism and the Sermon on the Mount. I had learned in solitary and they provided a basis for a worthwhile personal life and for a philosophy upon which to meet all other social problems.

4. Anarchism is the negative side, but necessary to keep one from the treadmill of politics.

5. Decentralization is needed, of course, so that the above principles might work to best advantage.

6. Vegetarianism, which includes no drinking, smoking, gambling or medicine, is necessary to live healthily and to be efficient, otherwise with one hand you are pulling one way and with the other hand you are pulling the other.

7. Reincarnation seems a more reasonable theory than the heaven and hell or orthodoxy, although it may be just a deferred heaven that we have to earn.

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Date:September 11th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
An interesting list--especially what he says about poverty, anarchy, and medicine.

Poverty is inconsistent with being middle class, and would have the consequence of preventing middle or upper-class status. If truly voluntary, it would prevent selling out. Perhaps others have said the same thing with different words, but these seemed fresh.

I would not describe anarchy as "negative," just as i would not describe love as negative, no matter how hate filled the world became. I wondered if we all buy a little bit into the "bomb-throwing anarchists" image. (But maybe i'm too negative about negativity.)

The high cost of medical care and the widening gap in the care received by rich and poor have made me wonder what can be done to oppose this unacceptable and apparently unchangeable condition. Refusal to use medical care, if practiced by a large enough number of adults, might cause a rethink by providers and might have an effect. Since it is now a "health care industry," radicals ought to treat it as such. If medical personnel are prevented by administrators or economic forces or greed from practicing "professionally" they deserve no more respect than providers of other goods and services. It would help if we practiced better preventive care, though i am sad to say that i have done far to little in that area. Hennacy, of course, was talking about prevention.

Edited at 2010-09-11 07:34 pm (UTC)
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