The wealth of nations’ must never be about and can never really be about how opulent the opulent have become- rather it has to be a story of how richer poverty has got and how much higher as it climbed up the ladder to sustainable quality of life and aspirational meaningful opulence! Join me here as take a fleeting look into this space and try to decipher what really drives nations’, who are the powerhouses and what is that is right and so wrong about this space! So here we go!
Irrespective which nation you live in, chances are that as soon as you cross, what I call as the “Circle of Opulence” you will be struck by abject contradictions and challenges that seem to land up in front of you from some bygone era! The holidays are around the corner, if you can move (if it is safe, and allowed to move around), do try to move away from your radius of opulence (I presume that’s where you are), and observe what greets you! This circle of opulence can mean different things across different societies and even the very definition of opulence can range from as simple as being alive to enjoying the latest eclectic wine or having that latest gadget or business jet to fly around in! So how does one come to know that they are within the circle of opulence and and how does one know as they move out of it?
Well, it’s really simple, if you have the five things that are “good to have” and already have access to “the need to have”, chances are you are living “the opulent life”. What these “good to have” and “need to have” are will vary from society to society, but importantly- they will help you know how deep within the Circle of Opulence you are in and how far the edge of that is. You see, when you hear people speaking about the “up’s and down’s of their financial fortunes they are basically getting moved around – still within the circle of opulence- the only thing being as their fortunes deplete they begin to drift towards the edge of that circle and as they begin to amass wealth they begin to re-assert and plant themselves firmly towards the center and sure enough, each society will have their own definition of the center and highest manifestation of opulence and so also about the edge! This is from where all struggle, strife emerges in a society, the ones’ outside the radius want to get in, the ones’ inside want to gravitate towards the center and amass the most for themselves- what is right and wrong, is all contextual, what is absolute within this frame is the fact that, each society has just so much space at the center of the circle, within it and around it and as struggles ensues, you witness the victors and the defeated strewn all across this landscape. This is the very essence of humanity’s existential paradox, where everyone wishes good for the other but seldom facilitates that bit! Think around it!
All this ends up creating divergence within the society and although having diversity within societal blocks may be a good thing, but add to that a dash of divergence and if your further allow that too run amok, you will start to see issues emerge! What this does is, it further reinforces thoughts and feelings (which may not be always be true) among different people within a given society the feeling of being left back, neglected, intentionally side tracked and so on and so forth and when that happens, the human mind begins to look for patterns and tries to develop reasoning for what it experiences and this is how false narratives and incorrect assumptions begin to take birth. If this was not enough, people at the center of the radius, within and around it do what they can do build narratives majorly to stop people getting into that radius and at at times to shed off the exceed within the radius and this is the playground of politicians and policy makers who do what they- at times to help and some other times to harm- but each time they do what they do- they almost always end up helping few and harming few- who gets helped and who gets harmed- well that again is a contextual story! So what next?
Well, as long as societies go about doing what they do, oblivious to what is really playing out, the why and the who, the daily struggle and strife that we witness, will remain, intensity may vary society to society- but this ongoing discontent and chaos will ensue. Sure enough, I am not urging you to believe in any utopian or hallucinatory concept of a perfect place, society or nation, simply because imperfection is the hallmark of humanity and nature alike! So as long as the struggle is to correct what must be and what needs to be- it’s I presume a fair game- but the society must too think alike and a majority of it- when that happens- you have what we call a revolution, the arriving of a new age! When there is a disconnect among the various elements and narratives end up being competing and conflicting rather than being unifying and reinforcing- you have a society which is stationary yet travelling in all directions at the same time with a net result of being regressive rather being progressive! So what’s the plan?
The onus of course correcting a society resides with each one of us, however small that effort may seem, it is only when every element within a society aligns itself for the larger belief and direction that societies will commence to move in a decided direction with commonality of vison and purpose, sure enough this is a tall order and that’s the reason why mass movements that usher in change are so few and far in between! Societies do take time to arrive at a consensus!
What we must not forget is the abject paradox of the lives of humans around us- it is not only the opulence of material wealth, but it also is about the opulence related to the creative expression of the human mind- because that too is a benchmark of humanities progress! What hampers human progress is this paradox, you see, like I said in my previous article, we all come from the same bucket and the more complicated the bucket gets, the more chaotic, yet colorful our lives end up becoming! The human dexterity and ability to prevail over this space and put it to some sane use, is what actually defines what we are, collectively and individually and that further spells out where we will be and as what in the times to come!
The next time, you come across someone less fortunate then yourself, know a few things well, you too are part responsible for allowing that to manifest around you,simply because you are all part of the same social framework- you may not have intended for that to play out- but whatever you did intend for has manifested what you see around! I have for long believed that charity is a way to reduce the burden of guilt to a limited extent and that is what unfortunately it seems to be; as we witness,the way things emerge across societies in the world today! I leave you with these thoughts for today, urging you to take some time to reflect and figure out where do you reside as far as the circle of opulence is concerned and where are you heading- towards the center or are you getting edged out!
Ciao for now, will be back soon with another piece! Until then stay wise and stay anchored as you are meant to be!