COLLEGE PARK, MD –
Last week we noted that those that can navigate the ocean of possibilities in their lives are those who sail on the boat of principles.
Decisions are the wind in their sails as they journey forward. They become captains of their ships, not simply passengers. As such, they begin to produce – not simply consume.
We talk a lot in this column about giving. One can only give if they produce something to give.
Many of us are passive consumers of others’ production. Production can be cultural, agricultural, entrepreneurial, educational, or just about anything, really.
When we simply act as consumers, the only objects and ideas of our consumption are those contrived by others.
That leads us to live lives within the realm of possibilities offered to us by those who produce. We have little to no agency to chart a course tailor-made for us; we must accept the prefabricated lives the cookie cutters have made available to us.
Maybe that’s ok with some of us. For those who are not satisfied with that plight, no need to despair. There is something that can be done.
Having principles is the major difference between producers and consumers.
Let me clarify that principles are not always good. People can have negative principles that inform them to make decisions that lead to predatory production – production made to take advantage of the weaknesses of others.
That is not the description of a giver, obviously. A giver will have principles that are good and inform him or her to make positive decisions.
When they make positive decisions, the natural result will be positive production. Now that person has produced something others can consume and benefit from. They have something to give.
Whether or not one is a producer or consumer, positive or negative in what they produce or consume, and how they earned those designations is rooted in the decisions one makes that are born of the seeds of their principles – or lack thereof.
Decisions and decision-making matter.
As some thinkers have posited, those who strive to live a life in service of God must fulfill a cultural imperative to remain relevant in the society in which they live.
To effectively deliver the message of peace, love, and service that they carry, they must produce something to meaningfully and substantially offer society other than rhetoric. They must be givers to their brethren.
In the absence of that goodly production, the only products and ideas to consume come from more frivolous factions of society who produce on the basis of decisions they’ve made born from their frivolous or, even worse, insidious principles.
The bigger picture is that if we’re not producing, we’re not giving. If we’re not giving, others are. The one whose message will be most effectively articulated, will be the one who gives the most.
All this can reasonably lead us to the importance of believing.
If we truly believe, we’ll care. If we care, we’ll subscribe to a set of values packaged as principles. If we subscribe to principles, we’ll make decisions rooted in that subscription.
Those decisions will add up to a deliberate life. Those who live deliberately will become civilizational producers. Civilizational producers have something to offer the society in which they live.
Those with something positive to offer are givers. Life is always better as a giver.