Health, wealth and wisdom

Erica and her friends held a birthday party for their old friend Henry in his absence, as he passed away a fortnight ago at the age of 89.  On the birthday cake, three wishes were printed:  health, wealth and wisdom. These are the three important things in life, Henry believed.  Erica pondered whether these three words bear any hidden messages.  So, I replied:

Etymologically speaking, health means “wholeness, a being whole, sound, well  or uninjured” (in Chinese 冇穿冇爛).  Wealth is an analogy of health, and bears the meaning of well-being (a definition of health).  Of course, we tend to reserve health for our physical body and wealth for our physical belongings. Surely, health or wealth can apply to stuff other than physical, such as social, political, cultural or organizational matter.  Yet wisdom is always about our mind. In short, health is for body (身); wealth is for belongings (身外物); and wisdom is for mind (心).

These three concepts can be taken a bit more educationally by connecting them to a structure suggested by Guy Claxton (the four Rs in learning: resilient, resourceful, reflective and reciprocal).  Being healthy is being resilient (personally), that is being able to be recovered from illness or mishaps.  Being wealthy is being  resourceful (materially and socially). Being wise is being reflective (personally) and reciprocal (socially). I think Henry showed the goal, i.e. the direction and destination of human life,  while Claxton pointed out the pathway to reach that goal.

For me, I pray for the wisdom to be healthily wealthy.  I pray for the health to let me learn how to be wealthily wise.  I pray for the wealth to keep myself wisely healthy.


用中文演繹我的祈求:

I pray for the wisdom to be healthily wealthy. 但求有智慧取財有道兼有度:

無道則作奸犯科,無度則墮無底洞;有道則有規有矩有法度,有度則有節有制有公道;如此,毋用以共產專制整治資本權貴之貪婪,又毋用以資本財金化解共產人民之均貧。

I pray for the health to let me learn how to be wealthily wise.  但求有健全魂魄(人格與體格)承載「懷百川兼納百穿」之心智:

學海無涯懷百川,大智若愚納百穿,
逆水行舟和不流,身體力行定一尊。

智慧因積累而深厚,因納汙而廣博,積累在乎孜孜不倦的體魄,納汙在乎恢弘大度的氣魄;善學講求融會貫通,健吏力求和而不流,良朋不拘穿崩掛漏,正己不遺身體力行。

I pray for the wealth to keep myself wisely healthy. 但求有剛好不過的資源來護持中用而合用的仁體:

剛好不過的資源 (healthily wealthy),即有度之財富,剛好不過並非餐搵餐食餐餐清地捉襟見肘,而是適度有餘地積穀防饑,當然不同於貪婪聚斂。究竟要用剛好不過的資源來護持甚麼呢?仁體,即指身心俱全的人,要知道在戰國竹簡,仁字有時寫作上身下心。

怎樣才算身心康泰呢?神魂與體魄皆中用而合用。中用,即合乎標準,亦有助身心主人達到人生目標;合用,即合乎預期,稚齡嫰弱,年青力壯,老來衰退,皆合時宜,保健養生尚可,添加防腐大可不必了。

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