THE EYE OF A NEEDLE
Once the rich really did manage to squeeze through the eye of a needle. It didn’t hurt that there were so few of them: only a small percentage of all those wishing to pass through. But this fact alone wouldn’t have explained their success. Nor was the rewriting of ancient codes so the rich could now take their fortunes with them. Many could barely crawl they were so burdened with this added bounty, yet still they managed somehow. No, the rich couldn’t have hoped to squeeze through the needle’s eye without the obliging help of certain men and women of the cloth. These men and women of the cloth also weren’t so numerous, but their followers were legion. And the force of those multitudes was what finally made the difference, the pliant bending of all those backs to the task of pushing a wealthy few through the eye of that needle. Without direction from the pulpit, even these efforts might not have sufficed, however. For there was the troublesome matter of the poor to deal with. So many of them stood in the way, blocking the narrow path to paradise. It took a concerted appeal by their spiritual superiors to convince these have-nots they should stand aside and let the haves go first. The poor would always be with us, this appeal noted, so they could afford to be patient. Their time would come. Surely there were other concerns they could be focusing on in the meantime. Values, for one. What would it profit them to gain the whole world if the values of that world continued to decline? Values were like money in the bank, weren’t they? The more capital you could claim you’d accrued, the more you could spend without touching much principal. In fact, no principal at all need be involved when you were confident of having values to burn in your account. It followed, then, that the poor would be wise to entrust their values to those who knew how to get the most out of them: powerful friends of their spiritual leaders who promised the greatest returns, if you just invested for the long run and waited patiently for the benefits to trickle down to you. In these terms, turning over one’s surplus values to those who’d already demonstrated such deftness in profiting from them in the past made plenty of sense. The rich and powerful could only help the poor and powerless if the poor and powerless first trusted their prospects to the rich and powerful. That also made plenty of sense. As much sense as bending one’s back in service to the blessedly well-heeled in this business of the eye of a needle.
Copyright © 2005, revised 2007, by Geoffrey Grosshans