Saturday, February 08, 2014

Outsourcing work - The Instructor on with whom we are to associate

This is a continuation of my series on Clement of Alexandria and his book, "The Instructor." If you are new to this series or are unfamiliar with Clement and his book, you may want to first read the introduction to this series.
"But really I have unwittingly deviated in spirit from the order, to which I must now revert, and must find fault with having large numbers of domestics. For, avoiding working with their own hands and serving themselves, men have recourse to servants, purchasing a great crowd of fine cooks, and of people to lay out the table, and of others to divide the meat skilfully into pieces... Many are eunuchs; and these panders serve without suspicion those that wish to be free to enjoy their pleasures, because of the belief that they are unable to indulge in lust. But a true eunuch is not one who is unable, but one who is unwilling, to indulge in pleasure." (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, Book 3, Chapter 4)
Clement would have never understood Twitter. He was a man who wrote according to a plan, a well thought out plan to cover his chosen topic with exhaustive toughness. One hundred and forty four letters? He could not get through his introduction with that! Clement next takes aim at those in his society who purchase for themselves large number of servants to attend to everything in their house thus eliminating from them their need to work and labor; purchasing for themselves time for idleness and the enjoyment of pleasure. They count themselves superior in their liberty to enjoy pleasure while those of true worth are those who are able yet refuse to indulge their lusts.
"The Word, testifying by the prophet Samuel to the Jews, who had transgressed when the people asked for a king, promised not a loving lord, but threatened to give them a self-willed and voluptuous tyrant, 'who shall,' He says, 'take your daughters to be perfumers, and cooks, and bakers,' ruling by the law of war, not desiring a peaceful administration." (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, Book 3, Chapter 4)
Such lives of abundance and idleness are not conducive to those who wish to live enlightened and holy lives. For such idleness, combined with the power to rule over servants, corrupts our gentle heart and transforms our compassion into pride and arrogance. Instead of loving and compassionate men and women we become tyrannical lords. Some say power corrupts, but never as fast as when accompanied by idleness.
"But those who impose on the women, spend the day with them, telling them silly amatory stories, and wearing out body and soul with their false acts and words. 'Thou shalt not be with many,' it is said, 'for evil, nor give thyself to a multitude;' for wisdom shows itself among few, but disorder in a multitude... 'Look not round,' it is said, 'in the streets of the city, and wander not in its lonely places.' For that is, in truth, a lonely place, though there be a crowd of the licentious in it, where no wise man is present."(Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, Book 3, Chapter 4)
When not busily making sure others are doing their work, the powerful idle tend to associate with other lords and ladies of tyranny, spending their days in idleness, speaking of and enjoying endless pleasure, sacrificing their souls for the sake of their flesh.

In a world that has sunk into licentiousness, wisdom is not to be found in her streets. If we make the world our friends, our companions, and our comrades then we will in no ways find the wisdom that comes from above. Wisdom is not found in the multitudes, but in those with whom the Spirit of Truth lives; these should be our friends, companions, and comrades. "'Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,' says the Lord." (2 Corinthians 6:17)

David Robison

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