Monday, March 15, 2010

Life Hurdles

Poverty is perhaps the greatest impediment to a good life.  The second greatest is wealth.

Poverty inhibits life, health, education, family, relationships, and every meaningful thing.
Wealth does the same, and more.
These are key elements.  The absence of any detracts from
our lives.  Notice those affected by poverty and wealth.
At the social foundation:
Rights
Health
Safety
Structure
Resources
In the course of life:
Personal control
Healthy relationships
A voice in the community
Work and place options
Leisure

Wealth gives you fast food and packaged foods and soft drinks and desserts.  It gives you entertainment and distractions from life and relationships.  It gives you a flood of meaningless information to occupy your mind and emotions.  It can fill your life with work, and few find themselves doing something that is deeply satisfying.

For the wealthy, there's perhaps little time sitting on the porch, talking with dad after working together on some task.  There's probably few weekends spent with extended family in the sunshine, and little time for neighbors.  It's perhaps too easy to plug the kids into the television while you do your own things.  Wealth means a life full of busyness and distractions, and there's perhaps a measure of loss.

When we measure quality of life, we think about comfort and security, health and well-being.  We think about how happy we are with our lives.  Some find themselves with plenty of everything and remain somehow strangely incomplete.  Why might that be?

We understand that extreme poverty is deadly and that quality of life improves with increased income.  What is hard to grasp is that increasing income only improves our lives up to a point, beyond which it can ruin everything that was important to us.

Some interesting folks are pursuing the question.  What are the things that make life good?  Their work suggests there's much more than just economics.  Not surprising.

Depending on place and culture, economy and politics, needs can differ, and there are things that wealth cannot provide.  Of course.

Then there's that part about a camel passing through the eye of a needle.  There's probably a wealth of truth behind that comment, about how wealth can be an impediment to a good life.  Ever sat down with a friend to talk about it?  👪