luxury vs. necessity

Most days, I get quotes from the Baha’i writings coming into my email inbox courtesy of some of the Baha’is in Montreal. I thought this one was really cool, it’s about luxuries. I was walking through the Rideau Centre (shopping mall) this morning, and passed a random store selling baubles and whatzits – a tall, colourful (and maybe a little presumptuous) graphic display inside the store shouted the following at me:

LUXURY ONCE ENJOYED BECOMES NECESSITY

That’s why I found the following quote so interesting. It’s from the book “‘Abdu’l-Baha in London”, on pages 87-88 [source]. Read it and let me know if you get the same feeling.

Luxuries cut off the freedom of communication. One who is imprisoned by desires is always unhappy; the children of the Kingdom have unchained themselves from their desires. Break all fetters and seek for spiritual joy and enlightenment; then, though you walk on this earth, you will perceive yourselves to be within the divine horizon. To man alone is this possible. When we look about us we see every other creature captive to his environment.

The bird is a captive in the air and the fish a captive in the sea. Man alone stands apart and says to the elements, I will make you my servants! I can govern you! He takes electricity, and through his ingenuity imprisons it and makes of it a wonderful power for lighting, and a means of communication to a distance of thousands of miles. But man himself may become a captive to the things he has invented. His true second birth occurs when he is freed from all material things: for he only is free who is not a captive to his desires. He has then as Jesus has said, become captive to the Holy Spirit.

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