If you thought anything and everything to do with poverty is all about access to money, food, shelter and varying degrees of opulence, well think again! Sure enough, these are important indicators and perhaps the most visible signs and displays of abject poverty the world over, but the real essence of poverty resides in everything and anything that allows these sad and inhuman scenarios to manifest! Join me here as we try to decipher what poverty is all about and what is that we can do and perhaps not do to manage this, the way we can!
Perhaps the most compelling and vivid memory or a nightmare to call it rightly about poverty is all the visually disturbing imagery, social struggle and strife that we come across through our daily lives. The whole concept of money linked poverty- in terms of ability to access or not access resources and opulence is perhaps just one way of deciphering and inferring about poverty based on broadly agreed social parameters. But this, if you ask me is no real meaningful measure to deal with poverty! The real and perhaps the only meaningful way of dealing with poverty, it’s definition, spread, control and mitigation is all about striking the very root of all that causes and allows this menace of poverty to manifest to begin with!
The whole idea and manifestation of poverty begins from impoverished thinking and acting! The never ending greed and desires to have more and more and all of it only for a few, is what hijacks and steers away any meaningful human essence for a social construct. Once societies agree to create rules that propagate variance and divide resources in a way that tends to serve a few and create dis-service to the many the stage is set for poverty to arrive! Sure enough, I am not promoting or advocating a social or a communist approach either, where- everything belongs to the state and there will be equality in distribution whether someone deserves that or not- no way- the point here is that we create rules and social markers in a way that people are simply left feeling and thinking uncomfortable about how and who they are- and this creates many a times unwanted and unwarranted self imposed pressure to race ahead and surge ahead- irrespective of whether anyone around really cares for it or not! No one is arguing over the ingenuity and the human spirit to progress and make their lives better and more comfortable- the whole issue is with the new age definitions of comfort and opulence and this is where the root of all modern day poverty resides!
If you closely observe, the commonality about being associated with varying levels or poverty or opulence the world over almost always is a conversation about, “where you study”, “where your parents works”, “where do you live”, and “how and where you spend”. This is all about it! All it takes is these few seemingly innocent enquiries and our socially conformed minds are more the happy to quickly start creating buckets and mental brackets to slot in the acquaintance and then either create a sense of happiness on how you are better then the other person in a few areas or start to sulk- because the other person has access to what you are yet to achieve and perhaps have always aspired for! So in a matter of few conversations- a connect with a fellow human- which could have been so many other things and facets of enrichment and exchange of ideas- almost ends up being a transactional encounter aimed at calibrating your own myopic approach and thinking on the world that you have given to yourself- due to the limitation of your perceptions! There are hundreds of examples around us and needless to say, no matter ho well we try, we too can succumb and we do, at some or the other point of time! Whether it is the chatter among growing kids, the grapevine and gossip in the offices or the monitoring of evolving opulence among the business and political class, each one of these instances are an example of impoverished mindset at play- which is the real radical and fundamental root and facilitator for all other visible manifestations of poverty!
No one is saying comparing is bad, no one is saying growing and making progress is bad- the challenge really is within the motive behind all the hustle that gets played out! You may have a great and long successful run- but if the fundamentals of your motive are pivoted over the mistaken understanding about poverty and an impoverished mind is at work- all that achievement and success will eventually all come apart- at some or the other time- simply because all that you build and do will have nothing to offer to the many and as long as that remains- you will be vulnerable and constantly working out of this insecurity to ensure you don’t have to “go back” which again is another fallacy of the over-thinking mind!
The vivid and repulsive play of poverty; really speaking is a measure and indicator of the impoverished thinking within a society and how myopic the leadership thought is as far as the approach to the subject and the chosen solution for it! These leaders could be the mass leaders from the political class or even the community leaders, but another grim and intriguing reality to this is, also about the space of “self drive” or the ability to lead oneself meaningfully by calibrating to the social confirmation, wisely and deliberately by choosing a trim level so that one does not get sucked into the endless and meaningless rat race to seek “socially conformed narratives for not being opulent or being one”!
The real issue around poverty is more to do about impoverished minds trying to create imagery and narratives that limit the many and liberate the few! Only once this is changed and thinking transcends form being impoverished to empowered thinking, will people be really able to see with impeccable clarity- their true value, worth and perhaps carve out a purpose which is more meaningful, enduring and sustaining, irrespective of where they stand- based on what social conformation narratives! The real problem around poverty the world over is not about varying resources and inequality of access- rather it is the minds who go on to create these and foster these to facilitate the agenda of a few while dis-serving the many! The only hope for humanity with regards to doing away with the menace of poverty of all kinds- intellectual, materialistic, social, psychological and spiritual is by allowing fellow humans to have enough time and space to experiment, fail learn and develop themselves on an ongoing basis, for that alone can provide empowered thinking and it is only empowered minds that can create empowered actions to bring about enduring and sustainable lives and livelihoods! Until this happens, each one of us is living an impoverished life in some or the other area and more often then not- the control dynamics will be with someone else!
I leave you with thoughts for now, urging you to take a pause and reflect upon the kind of approach that you would want to embark upon to at least end the pattern of impoverished thinking for yourself- it is only when you are empowered that you can share the spirit of empowerment with someone else!
Ciao for now, will be back soon with another one, until then stay safe, stay wise and stay empowered with empowering thoughts!