"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing." -Socrates

Saturday, June 11, 2011

On Haves and Have-Nots

In present day United States of America.

According to what I’ve learned regarding world history, there has always been a division of classes. There have always been haves and have-nots, princes and paupers, land owners and slaves, servants and those being served. While there undoubtedly remains a middle class in the USA, this has not changed. There is still a divide between the rich and the poor.

I speak only for the USA, as this is the only country I have experience in and have seen with my own two eyes. Granted, I have not been to the richest areas, nor to what would be considered the poorest, but I have seen near the top and near the bottom of our societal spectrum in the economical sense. And as I would imagine the case in other parts of the world and throughout history, there is some bitterness from one group, and arrogance from the other.

For many, to envy others and want more is commonplace. However, this way of thinking is only reasonable by keeping your perspective narrowed to those around you, and in the same time of history. Comparing the modern conveniences we enjoy today to what was available just two hundred years ago, even a poor person could feel extremely spoiled. Looking just one hundred years ago, it’s as if we live in an entirely different universe. Due to technology, we now have conveniences and luxuries unimaginable by previous generations. I’m sure everyone’s heard at least once, “Kids have it so easy these days! When I was your age...” And these older folks are right.

So when looking at the division between the wealthier and the less fortunate, we must agree on how truly rich we all are thanks to the innovation and hard work of other people. We are all very spoiled relative to those who lived in past millenniums, centuries, and even decades ago.

But everything is give and take, for with added luxuries comes added complexity. More technology requires greater time for education on understanding what those conveniences do and how they work. In past generations and in other parts of the world today, food, clean water, and safe housing would be viewed as the greatest currency there is. Today, in America, time and energy are what we fight for. So with nearly everyone able to afford food, clean water, and protection from the elements, are we arriving to a time in history where the rich are actually the poor? Are we entering an age where those with fewer luxuries with more time to enjoy life are truly the wealthiest?

“Beauty is bought by judgement of the eye,
Not utter'd by base sale of chapmen's tongues” -William Shakespeare

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