|8 Feb 2005 @ 18:45, by Craig Lang|
This weekend, I got quite a view of the disparity between incomes/lifestyles that seems to characterize our society.
We spent a couple of days visiting a dear friend (who lives in a warmer climate). She was retiring after thirty years of government service and so Gwyn and I attended her going-away reception, etc. We then spent a couple of days with her, catching up on the details of her life and times. We swapped family photos and local politics.
That evening as we went out on the town, I had one of those epiphany experiences that hits each of us every so often. In this case, we were standing on an escalator in a neon-bathed commercial area. I noted that next to us was an attractive, well-dressed, thirty-something woman. She wore what looked to be some pricey designer clothes. She also seemed to have the bearing of someone accustomed to having money. She carried a number of packages, a few bearing the name/logo of some trendy stores. I concluded that she had been shopping at the more upscale stores in the mall nearby.
Only a moment later, I noted a stark contrast to the lady I had just seen. This was the presence of what appeared to be a homeless man who was simply hanging out. He had a far-away look in his eyes. He looked dissheveled and was surrounded by old shopping bags. His clothes were ragged and looked as though they had been continuously worn for some time. He wasn't begging, but he also looked as though he wasn't really present. It was not clear how long he had been there. Yet to me it looked as though it had been for quite some time.
The contrast was stark in my mind. I wondered if either this man or the wealthy woman were ever aware of eachother. I wondered what occurred to either of them to set them on such different life-paths. And I wondered at the contrast in personal fortunes that seems to be such a hallmark of our civilization.
There are indeed many aspects to the question (furthermore, perhaps one or many of my observations were incorrect). There is the bipolarity between affluence and want. Which side did either person choose? Which person had more/less freedom? Were they both in their life-situations by (lack of) choice? Did the currents and eddies of life carry them there? Who was happy and who was unhappy?
I thought of the idea that each of us has choice, free will and abundance - if only we can understand and manifest the choices that the Universe offers us. I am told that each of us has a Universe available to us, yet many of us follow our life-paths in often-predefined ways. What constraints did each of these people feel? What resources might they acknowledge they have recieved from the Universe?
As we stepped off the escalator I resolved to make another donation to a Tsunami relief fund. The wealthy lady melted into the crowd, and the man continued staring into space.
8 Feb 2005 @ 21:10 by martha : Here is another link Craig
you might like.............There are many homeless people around Pasadena
A society is reflective of how they treat their mentally ill and children. Our society is cruel, heartless and blind and I am embarrassed to be an American most days.
8 Feb 2005 @ 21:33 by : Thanx Martha
I have often wondered how history will judge our society.
8 Feb 2005 @ 22:20 by vibrani : Craig
did you say anything to the man - did your eyes meet his?
9 Feb 2005 @ 15:06 by : Interesting question
We were pretty much in the distance in both cases. Also, I don't think the man had eye contact with anyone - except maybe God.
There were a considerable number of people who were closer to either person than we were. So if he made eye contact with anyone it was probably someone closer to him than we were.
Another thought was, did the woman have eye contact with anyone? I can't remember noticing whether she did or not. My sense was that she didn't, however.
Thanx for the perspective.
Other entries in Poverty
5 Jul 2005 @ 12:01: Reflection on 3rd world poverty
30 Jun 2005 @ 23:55: This Saturday's Live8 Concert
17 Jan 2003 @ 11:50: Free cure for almost everything