Contempt for the Poor-The Canadian Way?

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March 10, 2011


Fortune bestows its favor unevenly, always has and inevitably always will, in the form of genetic advantage, family fortune and the resulting access to better education, the general economic state of the land in which we find ourselves and simple lack of bad luck, none of which can be considered to be in any way earned.

Folks of all nations, probably the overwhelming majority, will rationalize relatively greater personal good fortune by attributing it to their innate superiority or, inversely, to the inferiority of those less fortunate. We should hardly be surprised when polls show that Canadians do also.

It is a comforting kind of ignorance, but there is a price to pay for it.

There is obviously no necessary correlation between financial potency and wisdom, awareness, good intention or the capacity for kindness, all far more legitimate qualities of well-being than capital in any of its forms. To bar yourself through arrogance from access to the experience of them or the opportunity to learn them, wherever and in whomever they may be found is, ironically, to settle for less of what is truly valuable.

It is pretty obvious that the manic struggle for personal wealth and the ability to display it is immensely damaging, to individuals, families, children, relationships and to the planet itself. Beyond that it is indicative of denial at the deepest level, of a failure to incorporate into one’s perspective the passing nature of individual existence.

But recent polls indicating that Canadians are like other folks in blaming the poor for their circumstances doesn’t alter or ameliorate the suggestion that we do this more now then has been the case.

There was a time, I like to think, when Canadians wouldn’t have tolerated on their airwaves for long a Don Cherry; a guy who brings to the television screen what most of us in this country thought and perhaps still think of as the worst kind of American-style arrogance and who does it by purporting to be an example of what is truly Canadian.

How could a guy like Kevin O’leary manage to spread his toxic, sociopathic presence across various media in this country if in fact Canadians were not a declining force for balance and sanity in the world? “Money, money, show me the money;” a mantra for idiots if there ever was one.

I’m more of an “everything you own owns you” kind of guy. Opulence and excess strike me as willfully generated trash, taken out of the hide of an already badly-lacerated planet. But then I also see castles and cathedrals as pathetic in a world that has mountains, vast cities as tumerous and the exponential expansion of our species across the planet as a form of ego-driven metastasis.

Yet withal, ever cohabiting with contradiction, here we are, each living being a small universe replete with wondrous chemistry, physiology, psychology and spirit, wealth that is truly incorporate. Loving and being loved. Striving to be manifest in ways that we can believe to be of some kind of intrinsic value. The magic of our lives not to be denied or measured by accountants.

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