Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Life at Work

Herbert Spencer was a British philosopher and economist. He is known best perhaps coining the phrase “the survival of the fittest.” Spencer was a supporter of Darwinism. Knowing that, it was interesting when I came across an anecdote ascribed to Spencer. He was playing billiards with a subordinate who was really good. Spencer missed his first shot, and the young man ran the table. The frustrated philosopher remarked, “A certain dexterity in games of skill argues a well-balanced mind, but such dexterity as you have shown is evidence, I fear, of a misspent youth.”

A misspent youth? That's strange from a man whose writings about society and philosophy have evolutionary ideas oozing out of them. Here's a man who argues that mankind's youth was no different from that of my golden retriever's or that salamander whose tail broke off as he ran into the hole in the bricks of my garage. Misspent youth? Weird words from a man who would teach that this world is all there is and that when I'm dead I'll be like Rover -- dead all over.

If human life evolved from single-cell organisms and all animals came from that same source, then why should my youth be spent in any noble or God-fearing way? If life is simply the survival of the fittest, then how can youth be misspent if I am still alive today. Today is all I could have hoped for yesterday, it would seem. If this life is all there is for me and when I'm dead, that's it, then why would playing billiards everyday mean a misspent youth. Give me what is good for me now! I want to spend my youth doing what is right in my own eyes, grabbing at every pleasure possible, if this life is it.

But this life is not all there is; and while I love to play pool, I love my creator, too. Loving him gives me purpose in life. I’ve got things to do today that impact eternity. You do, too. That’s Life at Work!

No comments: