If you ask someone if they are wealthy almost certainly they will deny it. Everyone feels they want more. There is a hunger in money that is based on human desire. It is not greed. It is expectation and anticipation. We must consider wealthy to refer to a condition of wanting for nothing. Many of the richest people in the world are hounded by anxiety. They build castles on islands and hide the entrances in case they are attacked. These people are poor. The quality of their lives, while surrounded, no doubt, by lavish accoutrements and possessions are lacking in some of the most vital of human needs. There can be little trust or love shared in such circumstances when one has to ask ‘are they friendly towards me because I am rich?’ Perhaps this is why I declare that poverty is a better friend than riches.
But we are all caught trapped in the world of money in the global economy and eventually come to realise that the wealthiest people in the world are those indigenous people who have learned to live in the world taking their provision from the environment without depleting it. If a bow breaks they make another one. If an arrow is lost they find a suitable branch and so on. The environment is their larder. They find food everywhere. They have the confidence to match themselves against Nature and wrest a living from it. They live on the edge, knowing that one false step could lead to a snake bite or confrontation with a deadly predator, and living so close to death they acknowledge it as a part of daily life. Most of us do not, and, in the modern materialistic world, many run from death as something to fear and something to be avoided – as if such a thing were possible.
It is a failure of modern education to integrate Death as a vibrant part of the life cycle. Vibrant? When the body collapses and lays on the ground or in the bed inert and unbreathing, the spirit itself is rising into realms of light which are indeed vibrant, though silent. Perhaps radiant would be a better word to use. However, despite the finality that those left in the world of the living witness at the loss of a loved one, the one that has passed is still as present to their situation, as ever they were before, and it is only the failure on the part of those left to acknowledge the presence of the lost one that drives them away. This is indeed poverty.
As the wealth of the richest has grown larger the habitats of all creatures has shrunk, and, where some may claim that this is the richest world we have so far created, in truth it is the most impoverished. As further species are lost to the world we are each impoverished by the loss. We live in the poorest world humanity has yet managed to create, careless, lacking in social justice as well as compassion. The tragedy is we are getting poorer day by day.