Profits and Prophets

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green Desklamp

Words are powerful things. They are our chief means of communication—assuming you can move past all that ‘body-language’ mumbo-jumbo—and thus serve as our key to expressing all ideas, plans, and opinions about the world around us. They allow us to apply labels, transfer knowledge, and express complex concepts to one another—passing information along and allowing it to grow across generations.

Words are the building blocks of language. They afford to us the ability not only to share our thoughts with one another—but to comprehend them ourselves. They apply meaning and value in a world of chaos; functioning to give context and relevance to what may otherwise be inconceivable. In an earlier article, we’ve actually covered how intangible it is to consider a world ‘Without Words’.

Words have the ability to convey great and terrible concepts—elevating us above the mire, or dragging us to the depths of despair. In this strange world or ours, there are even words which are considered too heavy to be spoken, whether because they are revered as sacrosanct, or reviled as curses.

Lately, there are two words in particular which have been troubling me. They are phonetic-twins: identical save for their spelling, and their meanings too have become all too dangerously similar. These are ‘profit’, and ‘prophet’.

Profits refer to the net gains made by an institution: usually monetary. In times like these, with corporations pulling the reins of government, and the media touting the notion that true ‘freedom’ is for the marketplace alone, profits have become the apple to the wild horses trampling all good sense and civility from our society.

Citizen interests are sold out for profits. Veterans are left homeless for profits. People suffer and die without healthcare in defense of the all-mighty profit-margin. Profits, profits, profits. They’ve become the sole respectable merit, and the defining drive of a corporate machine racing driverless, determined only to see how far it can go, how long it can persist. It seeks profit, and any destruction caused in this pursuit is justified so long as it has no effect on the net-gains.

We’re often reminded of what is owed to us: this illusive promise of life, liberty, and happiness. Of course, we are further assured, money cannot buy happiness. So it’s up to us to find on our own…just keep your hands off the profits.

Prophets are those people considered to speak in place of god or any other deity—often via divine inspiration. Like our recent discussion on the ‘Insidious Threat of Legacy’, prophets often represent an increasing distance from the so-called source material, and too often become cited as justifications for acts of violence and other atrocities which can in no other way be reconciled with their foundational beliefs.

It’s as prevalent a threat today as it ever has been.

Wars are waged in the name of prophets. Buildings are toppled in reverence to prophets. Ongoing conflicts over which prophet is to be trusted and which to be eschewed continue to enable the endless global uncertainty to which we are all subject.

Profits, and prophets—they aren’t so different in the end.

Both represent the false ideals of a misguided population. A life led in reverence only to that which can be gained; a sacrifice of ideals in order to defend the sanctity of a decaying value structure. Many religious communities seem to have turned away from worship of their actual gods, and are defined now by strict adherence to the prophets who have interpreted them. So too the governments of the world—who have turned away from their true purpose of protecting their state and citizens—wooed by the unscrupulous practices of corporate lobbyists who promise to redefine the national priorities.

How can these threats be rectified? If profits are not the only sufficient motivator for directing the course of society, and if prophets have proven an insufficient source of moral guidance, then where are we to turn?

If the value of profit is in what it can accomplish, and the value of prophets is in the ideals they represent, then perhaps chasing these equally-listless sources is the wrong approach entirely. Here at Brad OH Inc., we would encourage everyone to take some time to consider the foundation beneath each of these—and that is value.

What really matters to you? If you had all the profits in the world at your disposal, what would you make of them? If you could speak as a prophet to the people, what wisdom might you impart? If you are honest with yourselves, we believe you’ll find the answers are not so dissimilar. More importantly, and herein lies the essence of the issue—you may find that both profits and prophets are red-herrings, distracting us from what true happiness might already be available to us, if only we can disavow ourselves of these tired and misaligned notions.

-Brad OH Inc.