On the Oppressors and the Oppressed

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The other day I went into a local bookstore in my hometown. After a few minutes of browsing, I ended up getting a book and started talking to the owner. He was a nice gentleman. He began telling me about how the bookstore business was difficult, and how he’d already been through one bankruptcy.

He had the usual complaints about how people didn’t read books, the economy was bad, and his selection couldn’t compete with the big corporate chains. As he was sharing his perspective, I was reminded of a line I had read in a book a year ago.

“It has been usual for men to think and to say, “Many men are slaves because one is an oppressor; let us hate the oppressor.” Now, however, there is among an increasing few a tendency to reverse this judgment, and to say, “One man is an oppressor because many are slaves; let us despise the slaves.” The truth is that oppressor and slave are co-operators in ignorance, and, while seeming to afflict each other, are in reality afflicting themselves. A perfect Knowledge perceives the action of law in the weakness of the oppressed and the misapplied power of the oppressor; a perfect Love, seeing the suffering which both states entail, condemns neither; a perfect Compassion embraces both oppressor and oppressed.”

From As a Man Thinketh

The oppressor and the oppressed are to blame.

Yes, the owner was facing economic and cultural difficulties. However, when I asked him if he had taken any alternative measures to increase business, he did not have any. The owner was next to several small restaurants – could he not make some kind of informal deal with them?

I do not mean to criticize the owner. I am simply saying that we must look at ourselves before we bow to our circumstances. While fortuna appears burdensome and rigid, she is actually just being deceptive (I forget where I read this but it stands as a truth).

[Recommended reading: As a Man Thinketh by James Allen]

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