"There are no problems, only opportunities for growth."  ― Dena Weinberg, Torah scholar

"Try not to become a person of success. Rather become a person of value."   ― Albert Einstein

“Work hard in silence and keep your success to yourself.” – anonymous

The second angel of the ‘Daughters of Science’ is ‘Labor’.  Webster’s dictionary defines ‘labor’ as “the expenditure of physical or mental effort especially when difficult or compulsory”.  With that said, we ask, “What is Life?” .  The Golden Seat answers, “Life is work!”  You’ll be terribly misled if you believe that life is supposed to be marvelous without effort.  It takes effort, physical and mental, to get the things we want in life.   As the saying goes, “Work hard or work smart”.  These days it seems to take both.  Will the fruits of our efforts be guaranteed?  Answering that query leads to the discussion of fate and will. 

Western culture, even the US constitution, owes much to the tenants of Hellenistic philosophy:  faith in and support of the individual.  That the aim of early Grecian philosophy was to secure personal happiness; that the average man could attain happiness by not changing the world, but by changing himself.  Philosophy became training to make oneself as far as possible independent of both luck, fate, the “gods”, of the environment, of approval and disapproval.  That we are the “masters of our fate, captains of our soul”.  What it means to be ‘western’ can be summarized by two key ideas: 1) ‘spirit of inquiry’, which we inherit from Grecian culture; 2) ‘resist the tyrant’.  Having witness the depraving conditions of tyranny in Europe, the framers of US constitution built a legalistic framework to protect the individual from tyranny – from the individual (dictator) and the collective (mob rule).

After visiting the antiquity section of the J. Paul Getty museum (Los Angeles, CA), the author of The Golden Seat wrote to the curator about the issue of fate and will.  His insights are still admired:

“Thank you for your email regarding the Getty’s antiquities galleries titled “Gods and Goddesses” that treats ancient notions of Fate.  That abbreviated text, like the Columbia History of the World, which you cite, necessarily simplifies a complex topic – one on which the ancients, like we moderns, do not always agree.  You are certainly correct that early Greek poetry and the Greek concept of the hero embodied the ideal of an individual succeeding by his/her own abilities.  Yet there are limits.  All humans are mortal, and the Greek word for fate, “moria,” means portion or lot.  This, ultimately, is death, which, except for a very few (such as Herakles) is unavoidable.  Yet Greek views were not consistent.  In Homer’s Iliad, for example, the supreme god Zeus desires to save the life of the warrior Sarpedon (his son by a mortal woman),  but Hera and Athena tell him that although he has the power to rescue Sarpedon, against fate, such action would wreak havoc on the order of the universe, for other gods would then seek to save their favorites too.  Thus Zeus reluctantly decides to let Sarpedon fall in battle. Achilles, the greatest of the Greek heroes at Troy, on the other hand, has the choice of two fates: to stay at home and live to old age in obscurity, or to fight at Troy and to die young, but achieve everlasting glory.  But once he made his choice, the outcome was unavoidable.  Likewise Oedipus could not escape killing his father and marrying his mother, as predicted by the oracle, no matter what steps they or he took, and other events predicted by oracles were also fixed, although the oracles themselves might be far from clear.  This prevalent notion of inevitability, it seems, gave rise to the later Greek philosophies that stressed making oneself immune to fate, and though this might seem to conflict somewhat with the notion that great men, like Alexander, could make their own destiny, this, one might argue, was the fate of great men, who are always different.  For the rest of us, the Delphic maxim, “know thyself” was key – to be aware of our lot (our fate, our portion) and to live our life within those bounds, always striving to excel within our station, for to reach too far would be hubris, though this kind of evil fate might, alas, be one’s lot.”
“My colleagues and I are pleased that your visit to the Getty inspired you to think further about this fascinating topic.  You message has certainly provided me with an occasion for reflection, as time spent in the galleries so often does.”

Kenneth Lapatin
Department of Antiquities
The J. Paul Getty Museum

Life & Labor
Life and Labor – quite the pair.  Are some ‘blessed’ and some ‘cursed’?  It depends on how you look at it.  The famous American film producer, Samuel Goldwyn once said, “The harder I work the luckier I get”.  On the other side of the coin, Mr. Goldwyn once demanded a script that ended on a happy note.  Screenwriter, Dorothy Parker, replied, "I know this will come as a shock to you, Mr. Goldwyn, but in all history, which has held billions and billions of human beings, not a single one ever had a happy ending!"

Some take the position that economic success comes mostly from luck and pluck, where pluck is the “courage or resolution in the face of difficulties”. Others take the position that comfort is an entitlement which should be given to everyone whether they work or not.  That economic success is a matter of divine right.  What side to take?  Mr. Lapatin, J. Paul Getty Museum Antiquities curator, gives us the sage advice with the Delphic maxim, “know thyself”.  “To be aware of our lot (our fate, our portion) and to live our life within those bounds, always striving to excel within our station, for to reach too far would be hubris”.  We all have certain themes (and sub-themes) in life to perfect such as Banner Carrier, Cause Fighter, Follower, Humanitarian, Justice, Manipulator, Poverty, Rejection, Responsibility, Spirituality, Survival, Victim, Warrior, Wealth, Winner, to name a few.  The point is to know your ‘position’ and to your best ability, not only stand up for your convictions, but to audit those convictions in the light of learning.  The 1960’s were rich with such ‘banner carriers’ as Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and other well-intentioned radical anti-war activists.  They were important to help society not take for granted all the injustices we live with.  The ‘cause fighter’ must guard against getting involved with petty or impossible causes and keep their causes worthwhile and not get into just any cause they can get on the bandwagon for, just to have ego satisfaction.  The ‘leader’ must guard against greed and power surges and change one's priority from one's own success by expressing leadership through exploring new, more socially relevant frontiers. The person with the ‘wealth’ theme has a precarious line to walk – with wealth comes power and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  On the other side, The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation ( is an inspiring example of great wealth doing well for the United States and the world (not to mention all the jobs Microsoft created, directly and indirectly).  The ‘winners’ must guard against squandering their money, security and life and the lives of their families with too many impetuous, undisciplined and uninformed decisions.

The Golden Seat takes the stand of trying to do your best; to put effort into the execution; to be tenacious; and to be grateful.  Like reverend Frank would say: “God wants brave souls.  He wants winners, not quitters. If you can't win at least try to win.  God loves triers”.   But also to be realistic and to know that utopian models that are clearly impossible are disqualified.  If we don’t get the expected ‘fruits’ of our labor we need to reexamine what the true ‘fruits’ are.  The spiritual message is that it truly is not the end; to know that it is all transitory.  All ‘themes’ are driven to succeed, whether positive or negative.

The Golden Seat takes the stand that the laborer makes their money from wages and that the entrepreneur makes their money from profit (business, whether it’s a factory, a restaurant or a recording studio, involves risk). And that good business is Clean Business.  If money is ‘evil’, why do we buy things called goods?  It's okay to want nice things, but when money becomes one’s ‘god’, that is the problem.  Money is a great deal like love – it comes in and it goes out. 

If you want to see more comfort in the world then foster a higher spirituality.  If someone does not have a car, then pick them up and take then where ever they want to go.  If someone helps you, show gratitude – it goes a long way for both parties.  That is a community thing.  But not a Communistic thing of having to share, that ruins the acceleration of the human thing.  It defeats independence. It defeats ambition.  The Golden Seat does not advocate Community-Communistic way of living.  It is important not to destroy incentive.  It is a terrible thing to destroy incentive.

William J.H. Boetcher, an American religious leader, is best remembered by authoring 'The Ten Cannots' that emphasizes freedom and responsibility of the individual on himself:

The Ten Cannots
 • You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
 • You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
 • You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
 • You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
 • You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
 • You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
 • You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
 • You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
 • You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
 • You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

Dynamic Capitalism

If We are to Build a Better World

Career Center