In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.
Jesus, it is true, shows no personal interest in gain, but he does speak of treasure in heaven and even of mansions as an inducement to follow him. Is it not further true that all religions down the ages have shown a keen interest in the amassment of material goods in the real world?
I have long been one of those tedious people who rails against the coronation of 'student-athletes.' I have heard the argument that big-time athletics bring in loads of money to universities. I don't believe the money goes anywhere other than back into the sports teams, but that's another story.
I was one those kids who had books on them. Before weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, funerals and anything else where you're actually meant to not be reading, my family would frisk me and take the book away. If they didn't find it by this point in the procedure, I would be sitting over in that corner completely unnoticed just reading my book.
It is a commonplace that the history of civilisation is largely the history of weapons. In particular, the connection between the discovery of gunpowder and the overthrow of feudalism by the bourgeoisie has been pointed out over and over again. And though I have no doubt exceptions can be brought forward, I think the following rule would be found to be generally true that ages in which the dominant weapon is expensive or difficult to make will be ages of despotism, whereas when the dominant weapon is cheap and simple, the common people have a chance. Thus, for example, tanks, battleships and bombing planes are inherently tyrannical weapons, while rifles, muskets, longbows and handgrenades are inherently democratic weapons. A complex weapon makes the strong stronger, while a simple weapon so long as there is no answer to it gives claws to the weak.
The lakes are something which you are unprepared for; they lie up so high, exposed to the light, and the forest is diminished to a fine fringe on their edges, with here and there a blue mountain, like amethyst jewels set around some jewel of the first water, - so anterior, so superior, to all the changes that are to take place on their shores, even now civil and refined, and fair as they can ever be.