To be of worth – Kim Taylor, Renshi, CI Sei Do Kai Guelph ON, Nanadan Iaido and Roukudan Jodo

Mr. Nutt of Terry Pratchett’s “Unseen Academicals” wanted to be of worth. Me, I have always wanted to be of use. I suppose it’s the same thing, although I suspect “worth” is more tied up with self-esteem than “use” might be. It isn’t, my being of use is part of my self-image, my ego, what makes me “me”. I’m not unique in this, there’s a generation or three of us still around who were raised partly by grandparents who went through the depression and “the war”. Very little of the “Me Generation” attitude that supposedly came later.

Is this strictly generational? Not at all, my daughter is heading back to school this week and I slipped her a little cash. She felt guilty and I said “just don’t spend it on junk food, there’s good food in the fridge here”. “But I feel guilty eating your food” she said. Bless her heart, and who taught her economics? The thing is, both my kids have not been what you could call deprived, they haven’t been exactly pampered, no ponies, no car for the 16th birthday, but they haven’t been in a house with no food in the cupboards either. They became adults who can see beyond themselves, who can see that they are “still leeching off of the parents” and will try to be of some use in return.

This is simple. The world does NOT owe you a living. Life is NOT fair. Be appreciative for what you have. The very idea that there are people out there who will thank a god for giving them riches and will assume that the poor are being punished by that same god actually turns my stomach. Born rich? God must have loved your soul before you were born right? You’re god’s favourite?

Ugh, need more bitter-black dark roast to get the taste of sanctimony out of my mouth.

What are you except a drone, an ant, a waster of resources if you drift through life doing nothing but eating and crapping? There’s coming up on 9 billion of us chewing through the planet, how do you justify your presence, your damage to the place? God loves you? You keep the economy going by buying closets full of clothing made in sweatshops overseas and donate it all back to the sonky shop to be shipped back overseas? You buy a pickup truck that’s so big you would never be able to get a bag of grain in the back without a ladder? What use? What use?

Think a bit, think about the accident of you being here, and be a bit boggled at the chance you had to be a person. Use that chance for something other than consuming and disposing. Go to school, learn, learn more, graduate, get a job of some use to the rest of humanity, keep learning, become a better person, keep learning.

Be of use.

Learning got us to the point where we could extinguish ourselves from the face of the planet, and take a large chunk of the rest of the species with us. That may be true, but being deliberately stupid, turning away from that education that got us here is NOT going to solve the problem. Not in a way you want it to happen.

Believing in those who say vaccination is a bad thing will simply allow you to watch your children, and other children become sick, crippled and dead. This will not help the population problem, it really won’t. It will devalue the lives of children and promote the breeding of more of them. Vaccination = child survival = fewer children. Child mortality = more kids. These maths are not difficult.

What has all this to do with me, personally? Aside from skipping a generation and having two kids when I was in my 40s? When I could afford them?

I believe in the value of the martial arts as methods of instruction in humanity for adults. I believe it because the martial arts made me a better person than I was. They taught me about life and more importantly, about death. I learned, and I will continue to learn and teach for as long as I am of some use. There will come a time when I am not of any use, there may even come a time when I am in the way. At that time I hope that I, or someone else, will gently put me aside with a nice watch so I can listen to my time tick away.

I’m sure my students get tired of me asking, after just about every class, “was that OK?” I’m not looking for an ego stroke, (well not much I hope) I’m checking that I’m still being of some use.

Are you being of some use to anyone but yourself? Have you contributed to the “greater good” beyond you and your tribe lately? There’s too many of us to think only of our little hunting group any more, we have to think wider in order to be of genuine use. If not, we’re just taking up space.

Be of worth or be of use, both are better than being consumers to make shareholders rich.

By the way, fair disclosure, I have been a shareholder for decades, since I was in University, I looked at the economics and said to myself “do what the rich people do because they are in power and will do whatever they can to stay there”. The rich are actually lousy consumers when you look at income vs spending, compared to the poor.

Think about that.

Kim Taylor
Jan 15, 2019


April 6, Seito Bugei Juku seminar in Peterborough.

May 17-20 Annual CKF International Jodo and Iaido seminar and grading, (Kurogo sensei and Mansfield sensei) Guelph.

August TBD. Montreal Jodo seminar and grading with Eric Tribe, Ed Chart and Japanese instructor (TBA)

November 8-10 Annual CKF International Jodo seminar and grading (Kurogo sensei), Mississauga (Port Credit).
iaito, bokuto, bokken, jo, shinken, karate and judo uniforms, books, videos and other…

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