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A. K. Coomaraswamy – Perhaps you are poorer than you thought

August 28, 2014

“Possessions are a necessity to the extent that we can use them: it is altogether legitimate to enjoy what we do use, but equally inordinate to enjoy what we cannot use or to use what cannot be enjoyed. All possessions not at the same time beautiful and useful are an affront to human dignity. Ours is perhaps the first society to find it natural that some things should be beautiful and others useful. To be voluntarily poor is to have rejected what we cannot both admire and use: this definition can be applied alike to the case of the millionaire and to that of the monk.”

(from ‘The Christian and Oriental, or True, Philosophy of Art’ [1943])

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