Sunday, June 29, 2008

Where are values?

‘The child who is decked with prince’s robes and who has jewelled chains round his neck loses all pleasure in his play; his dress hampers him at every step.

In fear that it may be frayed, or stained with dust he keeps himself from the world, and is afraid even to move.

Mother, it is no gain, thy bondage of finery, if it keeps one shut off from the healthful dust of the earth, if it rob one of the right of entrance to the great fair of common human life.’

These words of the poet Tagore from his wonderful poem ‘Gitanjali’ remind me of St. Thomas More, who wrote of the mythical land of Utopia.

In Utopia, adults, in order to teach children of the worthlessness of gold, used it for the most mundane and ordinary things in life. The more disreputable an item’s use, the more likely it was to be made of gold. In that way, children grew up to see the yellow metal as having no value and therefore felt pity for those individuals who, not having had the ideal upbringing of Utopians, fought to collect as much gold as possible.

A few days ago, walking through London, I passed an art gallery where three paintings were to be auctioned. Admittedly one was a Monet, but all three were valued at £1,500,000- £3,000,000.

A short distance down the road, a very attractive sculpture made from pink stainless steel was valued at £12,000,000 and has 24-hour security throughout the several days that it is on display.

Where are values? To quote four former neighbours of mine from Liverpool, “Money can’t buy me love.”

God bless,
Sr. Janet