Friday, 16 October 2009

Alan Baker - The Book of Random Access (50)

Through effort we develop our character. In this hexagram, wood, standing for our character, nourishes fire; through the good example of our character, we light the way for others. This gives meaning to our lives. At fifty, a man should be rich. But how many are? Money isn't the answer - it's transient and unworthy of our attention. The life span of a five-pound note is one year on average. Between 2004 and 2005, the Bank of England reported that 153,531,778 five-pound notes were shredded. Lakshmi Mittal, aged 55, is the richest man in Britain, with an estimated fortune of 14.9 billion pounds derived from his steel empire. But is he happy? My daughter, born Nottingham 1996, passes me a note: Dad please come up in 15 minutes with water and a Nerofen. I know this is a wrong spelling SOS. The phone is ringing. Hello? It's my mother, born Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1923. She's had a slight fall and spent the afternoon in casualty, but sounds OK now. Now it's time to settle my daughter down in bed. A glass of water and some Nurofen. And I've caught a cold. If I were rich, these things would still happen. We light the way for others. This gives meaning to our lives. My father, born Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1921, died, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1973, has nothing to say; yet his influence at this time is propitious, and worth more, I may say, than all the banknotes shredded by the Bank of England. And he wasn’t rich, or anything like it, at fifty.


Texts quoted:

A Guide to the I Ching, Carole K. Antony (Antony, 1980).
Schott's Almanac, 2007.

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