One City

Since the last quote provoked a surprising discussion, here’s another from Economist Jared Bernstein, Chief Economic Adviser to  Vice President Joseph Biden, and apparently, a fan of Buddhism. His book was given to me by Senator Eric Schneiderman, recently honored as the Greenest Senator in the New York State Government (who also practices yoga and mindfulness meditation)


“I once heard an allegory about mealtime in heaven and hell. It turns out that in both places, meals are served at a huge round table with lots of delicious food in the center. The food is out of reach, but everyone’s got really long forks.

In hell, everyone starves because, while people can reach the food with their forks, the forks are much longer than their arms, so nobody can turn a fork around and eat what’s on the end of it.

In heaven, faced with the same problem, people eat well. How?

By feeding each other.

“Protecting the rights of individuals has always been a core American
value. Yet in recent years the emphasis on individualism has been
pushed to the point where, like diners in hell, we’re starving. This
political and social philosophy is hurting our nation, endangering our
future and that of our children, and paradoxically, making it harder
for individuals to get a fair shot at the American dream.

This extreme individualism dominates the way we talk about the most important aspects of our economic lives…The message, sometimes implicit but often explicit is, You’re on you’re own.

-From All Together Now: Common Sense for a Fair Economy

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