Where Did Walt Whitman Go Wrong?

I received a thank you note from one of the participants in my last Law of Attraction Live full-day seminar. The front of the card was a quote from Walt Whitman. I love almost every bit of advice in this quote. But there is one that just irks me. Can you guess which one?

This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.

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      8 Responses to “Where Did Walt Whitman Go Wrong?”

      1. Adam Kayce : Monk At Work on July 8th, 2007 8:21 am

        Well, I don’t know where you get irked, but I flinch at:
        – despise riches
        – hate tyrants
        – “stupid and crazy”
        – dismiss

        Whitman is cool, and all, but I’d rather focus constructively than destructively.

        Hating a tyrant only causes more separation, despising riches isn’t going to help me, my family, or all the causes I could aid if I had boatloads of dough, and judging/dismissing people as ‘stupid’ or ‘crazy’ isn’t going to help any of us.

        I’d thank the person profusely (since it’s their intent that matters), and recycle the card. 🙂

      2. Edward Mills on July 9th, 2007 12:27 pm

        Adam: Those all get me to some extent, but the first one, Despise Riches, is such an extreme example of why I think so many talented, creative, potentially-world-changing people remain in a position of powerlessness!

      3. Karen Lynch on July 10th, 2007 10:08 am

        “Despise Riches”!!!

        I knew it! It is so encompassing! It’s no wonder we have negative beliefs holding us back!!

      4. Easton Ellsworth on July 11th, 2007 1:03 am

        Amen. Seek first and foremost to do good; then seek to obtain riches in order to do good. While avoiding selfishness, do not confuse money with the love of money, or wealth with failure to share.

      5. Edward Mills on July 11th, 2007 8:43 pm

        Easton: Those are wise words! I especially like “do not confuse money with the love of money.” It’s easy to get caught in that trap.

      6. Edward Mills on July 11th, 2007 8:45 pm

        Karen: You got it! That belief pervades our culture and our collective consciousness – or unconsciousness as the case may be – and holds so many of us back from our power. Time to move past that and step into our abundance and power and do the great things that are possible with true abundance!

      7. James Soh on July 12th, 2007 1:43 am

        Hi Edwards,

        Thanks for sharing this post. There are many who believes that money and riches are evil and they despise the rich and yet they work hard for money and indulge in lottery in hopes to make it big. Then they wonder why they never had enough to spent on what they want.

        I have known multi-millionaires who are extremely charitable at heart and they donate in the millions to help the needy. So I support that money is neither good nor evil, it really depends on the individual.

      8. Edward Mills on July 25th, 2007 1:51 pm

        Hi James: I think you’re right on! It’s not the money, it’s the intention of the person that determines the use.

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