Spiritual Advice on Ethical Investment from a city gent in 1800s England


I was asking about the advisability of ethical investment.  I meditated and this is what came to me:

Advice about ethical investment.

A benign looking man in a black suit, pinstripe waistcoat and pince nez speaks:

Times are troubled, my dear, mind you, they always have been somewhere in the world, usually in many places at once. I worked in the city of London a number of years ago. City gents would arrive at their place of work wearing top hat and tails, if they felt they were of some importance.

There were fewer financial advisers in those days and fewer people with money. Current philosophy is that everyone is supposed to be financially solvent. There is a common thought that money breeds money, but of course prudence will enable that situation to occur, but profligacy will not.

Your dilemma is that you want to avoid subsidising unpleasant, dishonest, and disagreeable companies who make their money on the backs of unfortunate people who are killed, abused or otherwise mistreated as the result of the activities of those companies. I believe this is a wise and proper decision. After all, if nobody supported and sponsored them they would be unable to expand and would soon dwindle for lack of financial backing. It is a pity that more investors do not make this vital connection, or do not wish to make it.

In my day we had an organisation which helped to export people to parts of the world where they were needed as cheap labour- indeed as slaves. Their masters made their fortunes out of these poor innocents who had been either duped, doped or dragged away from their homes. It was a scandalous business that continued for many years because people were willing to turn a blind eye to it. It continues today to a certain extent in a hidden underclass black market of lives. It is a shame and disgrace on those who perpetuate it. They will be obliged to learn from their mistakes in ways which are not at all obvious to those observing from a distance, but learn they will.

Governments know that arms dealing is big business and brings in large amounts of revenue. They are willing to encourage warmongering, as long as it is not ‘at home’ in order to make money from arms sales.  If no tanks and weapons were available, how could there be wars?

When people can open their hearts and share in warm, loving relationships there will be no market for pornography.  Only those embittered by bad experience and faulty child-rearing will consider pornography as appropriate in their lives.  Sadly, there are huge numbers of people who come into this category.  Only love, compassion and good teaching and parenting will eliminate this modern scourge which demeans men and belittles and abuses women and children.

The mistaken belief that smoking was good for one led to almost every man in the United Kingdom becoming a smoker.  It is now well understood that smoking seriously injures the health.  However, many are willing to turn their back on this knowledge and to manufacture and sell this damaging drug.  Why invest in something which kills so many people in unspeakable ways?

So choose well. Even if you lose money in the short term, the world will be the richer in the long term; richer in spirit, in compassion, in love and in happiness.  Surely well worth investing in.

Story ‘Always in Trouble’ for children 9 to 13

Tale of Janek. A story for a very active boy who likes to challenge others and gets into trouble very often – request from Rita.


The Tale of Janek  

‘Always in Trouble’

Janek lived in the frozen north. For eight months of the year the ground beneath his feet was solid, hard and frozen. He had a sister called Sylvie. His mother and father kept the family alive by following the herds of caribou – a kind of deer from which they obtained meat and hide. Janek’s father had a very loud voice. He could shout across the frozen ground. His voice seemed to carry for miles. Janek loved to go out with his father to check on the deer. They usually went on foot, using short flat skis and ski poles.  Janek was the sort of boy who always wanted to try to make things happen. He was never satisfied with things as they were. He liked to imagine what would happen if he did this or that and often those things annoyed his parents. When they went to count the herd, Janek’s father always pulled a little sled which had grass nuts in a sack. With these he could tempt the caribou to come closer so that he could inspect them one by one to check for example if the females were pregnant or are if any were lame or wounded. He had to make hard decisions about weak deer. They were a burden to the herd and had to be culled. He didn’t like to do it, but he would shoot sick deer. He would perhaps skin them taking the hide if it was good enough but he always left the carcass for the wild animals to dispose of. He realised that if the wolves were eating carcasses from the culled deer they would not be killing the healthy young deer.

Janek was fascinated by his father’s gun. He was not allowed to touch it as he had shown himself to be a careless lad who could not be relied upon to take care of valuable equipment. He had borrowed his father’s tools and left them out only to be buried by the next fall of snow and not found again until the spring when they re-appeared rusty and useless. He did not listen carefully to instructions when people were explaining things to him because he always thought he knew how to do things even when he didn’t. Time proved again and again that he had not listened and that he did not know what he was doing. But Janek was not one to learn from his mistakes.

One day Janek’s friend came to stay for the weekend. Janek wanted to impress the lad. His father had gone off to deal with some problem in the village. Janek decided he would show his friend how good he was with a gun. Now Janek had never actually used the gun. He had watched his father use it and he thought it would be very easy to shoot down some tin cans that he set up on a low wall outside the family home.

He got his friend to line the cans up in a row and to stand back.

“Bet I can knock them all down,” said he.

Janek eyed along the sight of the gun and pulled the trigger. The gun went off with an almighty crack. It jolted back against his shoulder and hit him very hard on the top of his arm. The pain was terrible. Janek dropped the gun on the ground. He couldn’t hold it any longer. His arm was hanging down at a strange angle.

“I’ll get your mother!” shouted his friend disappearing out of sight. Janek felt faint. The pain was terrific. He managed to walk towards the house a little way then his legs crumpled beneath him.  He fell to the ground.

Janek’s mother came rushing out of the house. “Whatever have you done this time?” she cried in a voice both worried and exasperated. “Oh, you’ve dislocated your shoulder, how did you do that?”  But Janek didn’t speak. He didn’t want to tell his mother about this latest escapade. Firing the gun was strictly forbidden to him.

His mother used the radio to speak to the flying doctor. Three painful hours later a helicopter landed in Janek’s field. The doctor asked Janek how he had dislocated his shoulder. “I fell on it,” Janek lied. The doctor gave his shoulder bone a sudden painful push. Janek felt the joint click back into place. The doctor disappeared very quickly as once again the skies were leaden with heavy snow. That night the snow fell again. Janek’s father was unable to find his gun. The boy was too scared to tell him what had happened to it. For weeks the gun was missing, hidden beneath the snow. Its well oiled parts had become dull and rusty. Sick animals limped along with the herd. The Wolves took three young caribou that spring. The gun was never the same again. Janek’s father gradually pieced together the story and felt angry, ashamed that his son was a liar.

Janek’s family went to live in the nearby town. His father was so disheartened by the bad behaviour of his son, whom he could not trust to tell him the truth or to be safe or careful with anything. His father went off for several months in the year taking Janek’s sister Sylvie with him instead of his son. He could trust Sylvie. He said that she wouldn’t do stupid things and get herself and other people into trouble.

Janek felt ashamed of himself. It seemed to him that he had two voices speaking to him and he had always listened to the one which suggested he that he did stupid things. Gradually as he got older Janek started to pay attention to his other voice – the more sensible one which knew what the right thing to do was. As he grew older he did not hear his father’s angry voice shouting at him from a great distance because there was no longer any need for it.  His father had noticed that Janek’s behaviour was better.

Janek had started to listen to his own voice of reason and felt much happier in himself as a result. He did know how to behave well after all. He could make the right decisions. He wasn’t stupid. He could be trusted.


Did the story remind you of anything in your life? What?

What was the result of Janek showing off to his friend?

Can you think of a time when you did things without thinking about what damage you might cause?

Do you sometimes feel as if you have a sensible voice and a stupid voice both telling you what to do, inside your head?  Which voice do you listen to? 

How would you advise your friend who kept getting into trouble?