Week 5 -’18 PIF: Hero or Knave

MKMMA | 0 comments | by Dr. Andrew Millar

Week 5 -'18  PIF: Hero or Knave

Pay It Forward.  It’s that time again in The Master Keys MasterMind Alliance (MKMMA) when we choose to offer the same opportunity to the next class that was afforded us; to wit: the 2017 class paid our tuition and now we vote as a group to do the same for the 2019 class.

Historically, ‘Pay it forward’ was used as a key plot element in the denouement of a New Comedy play by MenanderDyskolos (a title which can be translated as “The Grouch”). Dyskolos was a prizewinning play in ancient Athens in 317 BC; however, the text of the play was lost and it was only recovered and republished in 1957.

The concept was rediscovered and described by Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Benjamin Webb dated April 25, 1784:

‘I do not pretend to give such a deed; I only lend it to you. When you […] meet with another honest Man in similar Distress, you must pay me by lending this Sum to him; enjoining him to discharge the Debt by a like operation, when he shall be able, and shall meet with another opportunity. I hope it may thus go thro’ many hands, before it meets with a Knave that will stop its Progress. This is a trick of mine for doing a deal of good with a little money.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his 1841 essay Compensation,[3] wrote: “In the order of nature we cannot render benefits to those from whom we receive them, or only seldom. But the benefit we receive must be rendered again, line for line, deed for deed, cent for cent, to somebody.”

The Cliff Notes version if Emerson’s Compensation could be reduced to “Give, to get.”  And it is no accident that Mark J, the formulator of MKMMA, assigns this essay to be read this week.

Every great spiritual tradition emphasizes service as the activity most befitting man. How to ‘love thy neighbor’ other than to be of service to them? By now we all know there is no substitute for the heart-felt feeling we experience when ‘we do unto others what we have them do unto us.’

But first we learn to be kind to ourselves and we do that by chipping away the cement layers of self-judgement that compose our self-image.

Just like Kristy McCue concludes in her Week 5 MKMMA blog:

“ And like we have been told, I find myself with more time than I have had in years! I am loving the happiness and calmness that I experience every week. Last week while I was doing yard work, I thought to myself,”I feel my old self again”. Eureka! This is a good thing, seriously. My step-father passed away about a year ago and he kept every letter and card I sent him. Reading through those letters and cards, I thought “was I really like this at one time?” Because I seriously was so kind and thoughtful and did nice things for people all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not unkind or have disregard for people. But I am not as kind and wonderful as I was when I was younger, that’s for sure. And the most beautiful part is that I am learning how to live that every.single.day. For the rest of my life. And my heart is filled with gratitude.”

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