For so long the other worldliness of the sage has been set against the worldliness of the the chief, king, CEO or senior comrade. The logical distinction is one of abstraction, but he who works with either exemplar must take care.
What we hold up in the sage is the pinnacle of being in but not of the world. The sage is guided by the unspeakable (dharma, tao, logos, malkut). His guidance by it is both mysterious, alluring, inspiring, challenging and inexhaustibly worth mimicking by the human animal who wishes to live well down here.
What we hold before the mind in the position of earthly power is more of a mixed bag. In our contemporary milieu it is common to hear speech that equates earthly power with evil (and evil is always to be condemned. Talk of annihilation or at least conquering often follows condemnation. Yikes!). But anyone who has listened closely has found that the condemnation of greed by the sage and the expression of the vile spirit of envy in he who has not achieved are outwardly indistinguishable. And herein lies a problem.
The thuggish coercive institution (government), having out-competed by coercion in the production of “education”, has taught the little ones from youth about “equality” and “democracy”. It has held itself up as both imperfect, but always getting better, while it points out others as the source of evil. It is constantly juxtaposing itself to them. So the young begin to associate evil with the monopolist, the owner of the means of production, the capitalist pig, the speculator, the producer, the voluntary trader. Any evil is sourced from these. Any prevention of evil is found in the halls of government. Never once do the youth see what is right before their eyes: that government is THE monopoly of monopolies, that every administrative law beyond the protection of private property is an extension of government ownership of the means of production, that free enterprise is the trough and government the pig, that the most terrifying speculation is by he who plays with other people’s resources taken coercively without permission.
What is true is that earthly power anywhere risks corruption and misuse. This is true of the capitalist pig but it is even more so true of the government administrator. It is he who holds the greatest power of all–the power of coercion.
To read the sages as demanding earthly weakness and diminishment is a mistake. What is obvious is that the one who achieves the most achieves becoming sage-like. To be in the world but not of it is one version of the eternal sage-like call. And while both Jesus and Socrates recommend calm acceptance of death when the moment of death is near, in neither is found anything like explicit recommendation of laziness, sloth, piddling, or otherwise wasting of time, energy, attention, effort, ingenuity, talent, virtue, foresight, insight, discipline, faithfulness, trustworthiness, self-denial that results in savings.
Here is the game to the Puritanical Libertarian: virtue and righteousness first. Earthly prosperity second. Earthly prosperity is a matter both of good social relations (wife, friend, employment) and gold (capital which is the result of choosing to consume less than is produced). When the Puritanical Libertarian awakens each morning he awakens to the new opportunity to make the tiny sliver of the world that he inhabits better. He hopes that if others do the same, then the betters made will converge and spread. But the bandit lurks.
What the Puritanical Libertarian has found so far is that THE SAME WAY maximizes both unearthly and earthly prosperity. The initial abstraction resulting in the distinct categories of sage and capitalist pig are blended. Do not mistake dear reader. The Puritanical Libertarian is a lowly nobody. But he claims to have discovered this centrally important truth: what he produces morally and materially is far more dependent on his moment-by-moment living well than on anything else.
That WAY is a matter of the denial of the moment-by-moment volatility of soul-feeling-expression and a conforming to the as-yet-not-fully-instantiated becoming. To train this here and now makes the Puritanical Libertarian a better husband, father, son, brother, friend, employee, speculator, citizen, driver on the road, selector of food at the grocery, selector of reading material, selector of what to do with this and that moment, and yes, it makes him a better saver of capital.
Day to day nothing changes. The whispers of boredom, the desire for change, the feeling of discontent express themselves. Ignore. Check in at a month, at six months, at a year, at five years, at a decade. Now you will see accumulation of good. Now there is evidence of the value of THE WAY.
Where are you dear reader? What capital most needs saving in your life? Patience? Endurance? Focus? Willingness to abide by commitments (like the commitment to not spend, not eat, not over-indulge in screen time)? Calm? Capacity to endure feelings of stress, anxiety, boredom, envy? Do not misexpect. This sets up for failure. But begin.
Make a promise to yourself. Something that yourself will find hard but the accomplishing of which will put you closer to the sage. Even in failure you will learn much. For how long was the promise kept? How do you treat the promise-breaker well? What were the conditions that resulted in promise-breaking? How can you better shore up the commitment? Try again.
The world is your oyster. It is the place and time that has been given to you for production. Embark. Know that the Puritanical Libertarian claims to be experimenting over here with his own ability to BE REAL. That is almost all in his ability to say “yes” to the sage and then to DO IT. And know that the Puritanical Libertarian has much work to do, and he will fail if history is any guide. But he has learned how to treat the child in himself so that he will be willing to get up and try again. That holding to high standard but maintaining willingness to walk determinedly toward that which the child inside has failed at is something worth finding. Onward.