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#2 To be or to have?

This is one of the fundamental questions, why I have decided to design tarot cards. I have been looking for the answer for ages: Partly Erich Fromm, who was studying the question in his thesis To Be or to Have (1976), provided me the answer many years ago. He claimed:

I started to think about it intensively, lying in confinement, 4x4m, in hospital for 3 weeks. There was just a bed, a table, a chair and a TV. I was after bone marrow transplantation.

Bone marrow cancer is a beast, who came out of nowhere. I was lying in the bed, with an injected drip and artificial nutrition. Except of medical staff, nobody could come to me, because of my very low immunity.  I stopped perceiving days and nights, TV was good for nothing, and so I was just sleeping and thinking.

I knew I could not concentrate well, so I did not push myself into any thoughts, but I let them flow as they came. And it was good.

The thoughts were unplanned, varied, but interesting. I used them and marvelled, what could come to one´s mind in such a situation. And I started enjoying it. Instead of stress and fear of death, I calmed down and observed the dialog with me and myself.

“Hey guy, here you are! Transplantation can stop the cancer, but nobody knows for how long. Somebody has lived for more than 10 years, but the cancer came back many times. And what about my broken ribs and vertebrae? Will I be able to move? At least with the corset I will have to put on any time I will get out of the bed. And what about my kidneys? Will they keep working or will I have to go to dialysis? If I could even go somewhere!”

“Well, that is maybe true, but looking back in the past, I must say, I have really enjoyed my 60 years. It might be enough for much more than just one life. And do not forget I had been able to pay all my debts and now I am positive. I can leave with a clean slate then. What is more! Something will be left for my children.

“Be honest and admit you are afraid of death and of being depended on the others.”

“Fear? Everybody must be afraid in such a situation. It is natural. Without any fear, I would not be any human. Death is for everybody. It is only sad if it is a young one. Human should die if he is old and ill, so it is I. I have brought up my children to independence I absolutely do not worry. And my paintings and pictures! Hey bro! It is just an extraordinary feeling, because I can live forever in them.”

“But now, you have money, and yet if you stayed here for some time, you could afford things you abjured. Admit you like nice things. And what about your clothes? You’re actually a bit swank.”

“You are giving me a hard time. Of course, it has already come up to my mind, that if the One up gave me some more time, how shall I use it? You are frightening me with death and on the other hand, you are coming with material pleasures, in case of happy end. It is like in a film. If you do not have time you enjoy the life, spend your money like water.”

“Hey and what is wrong?”

“Wait! Wait! I am trying to think, what made me happy the most in my entire life? Was it when I had enough money? I remember. I made nice money. 20 years ago, I had a pretty good job, where I got a pretty good salary. It was nice. And what was it like then? I see! I was working a as manager in Prague, I was enjoying the work, having a company car, a company apartment and even more benefits. And my money? My wife was enjoying them she was meliorating our flat. And I? I was enjoying being a reputable expert. In my leisure time, what was I doing? Pole dance. Sometimes I went also fishing and… Those days I went to my friend´s wooden, thatched cottage with a fireplace. This was nice.

That remains me one of the stories from those times. I used to live in a block of flats, but I went to Prague and home by my company car, it was SUV 4x4. Very unusual after the Velvet Revolution. I parked it next to our block and there was my neighbour.

-Nice car, you are lucky, he mumbled opening his old Skoda car.

-Hi Karel, the car is maybe super, but it is not mine, it is a company car, see? As I finish there, I will give it back having nothing, but you will still have got you nice old car, get it?

-Yeh, get it, he replied.

-I am glad you´ve got it.

He was leaving, turning back his head a bit, and dropping a hint:

-But you are lucky anyway!

To sum it up, I cannot say the money are completely bad. Completely different thigs made me happy. If I could stay in this world a little bit longer, I would like to spend some nice time with my girlfriend, children and grandchildren or fishing and in a forest and paint some more pictures and finish my tarot cards. Enough?

“It looks like I haven’t got you, but I will come back again.”

“Feel free to come back any time, I like talking to you, time is just flying with you.”

To Be - Live - Nature

To Be - Live - Nature

To Have - Own - Civilization

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