New Proverbs for New Men


Wisdom has called in its caterers
and laid a feast for the hungry;
it has sent out its invitations
and asked the rich and the powerful to join it;
it calls the high and the mighty,
so that the earth might be lovingly ruled;
but only the poor and the meek will answer its call,
for only they are hungry enough to want to eat
and to feast themselves at the table of wisdom.
"Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!"
To him who is without sense she says,
"Come, eat of my bread
and drink of the wine I have poured.
Leave simpleness and live,
and walk in the way of insight."

The fathers hear wisdom calling,

and receive invitations to its feast;
and in fear they make other arrangements,
in terror they invite their own guests.
They send out men with promises of wealth
and scenarios of power and fame;
they send their agents into the families and the schools,
and urge children to be obedient and "good,"
to memorize the words of the fathers
and remember them on tests,
and in return they promise a glorious career in advertising
or on the stock market;
in return they promise money and power and houses and cars
and the fear and respect of the masses.
They send out women with promises of sex
and scenarios of fantasy nights;
they send their agents into the world of fashion,
and have designers create clothes for domination:
high heels, tight skirts, sheer low-cut blouses
to enslave men to fantasy and women to discomfort;
and in return they promise total satisfaction,
paradise in a ten-second release;
in return they promise freedom from commitment,
and a waiver on all need for love.

Which feast will you attend, my brother?

Whose bread will you eat, whose wine will you drink?
The food at the feast of wisdom is the stuff of life,
but the food of the fathers is ashes and dust.
Eat wisdom and you will have life and healing and love;
eat power and you will swallow death and the moldering grave.

He who corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,

and he who reproves a fearful man incurs injury.
Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
teach an open-minded man and he will increase in learning.
The love of the god is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the holy one is insight.
For by wisdom your days will be blessed,
and calm strength will be added to your living.
If you are wise, you are wise for many;
if you scoff, you will bring suffering to many.

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