Mysticism And The Practical Man by Richard King

Story type: Essay

I wish the Mystics and the Practical Men could meet, fraternise, and still not yearn to murder one another. It would be of immense benefit to you and me and the rest of us who make up the “hum-drum” world. For the Practical Man who is not something of a mystic is at best a commonplace nuisance, and at his worst a clog on the wheels of progress. And the mystic who is only mystical is even less good to anyone, since his Ideals and his Theories, and often his personal example, fade away in the smoke of factory chimneys belching out the sweat of men and women’s labour into the pure air of heaven. No, the Mystic who is to do any good to his brother men must be at the same time a practical man, just as the practical man must possess some Big Idea behind his commerce and his success in order to escape the ignominy of being a mere money-maker, the inglorious driver of sweated labourers. If only these two could meet–and agree–there might possibly be some hope for the Dawn of that New World which the War surely came to found and the washy kind of Peace which followed seems to have thrust back again into darkness. True, there are some business men who perceive behind their business a goal, an ideal, in which there is something more than their own personal wealth and glory, the be-diamonding of a fat wife, and the expensive upbringing of a spoilt family. They make their wealth, but they seek to make it justly, to make it cleanly, and, having amassed their fortune, strive to benefit the lot of those by whose labour they amassed it, and whose future, and the future of whose children, are at once their charge and their most profound interest. But these men are so few–they are so few that almost everybody knows their names. The great masses of practical business men possess the “soul” of a lump of lead, the ideals of little money-grubbing attorneys, the “vision” of a chimpanzee in a jungle. They are “cute,” and, for the end towards which they strive, they are clever. But they are nothing more. And, because of them, there is this “eternal unrest” for which the ignorant blame “labour” and the still more ignorant blame “modern education.” (Ye gods–what is it?)

Leave a Reply 0

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *