|Chalk Cliffs on Rügen by Caspar David Friedrich|
Some rich people stand on the verge of the cliff...
I am not against the rich and (not always) beautiful; being so would be hypocritical of me – after all, my name is Max not Marx. I am, however, surprised at how some individuals misuse their wealth, lose their focus because of it and how some others actually feel guilty about being wealthy.
Being wealthy is a blessing: either one worked very hard to live comfortably or someone in the family did (meaning that future generations should always honour their ancestors’ enterprises & heritage).
Being rich doesn’t mean that one sits around doing nothing, au contraire; it means that one must work even harder to maintain the family’s wealth or to increase the family’s power & influence or even to be able to create a solid foundation to help the less favoured.
Work sets you free!
It is such a waste when heirs grow up to be playboys and imprison their spirit by leading shallow lives. When an heir doesn’t know what it wants from life, he/she could work to better his/her community. This individual could travel abroad and help developing communities around the globe. By Jove, there is so much a person can do in this world (but I guess the alcohol, drugs and contraceptive industry would suffer from this ethical metamorphosis)!
Then we have those wealthy folks who actually feel guilty about their social status. Suddenly they begin handing out the proceeds of their family’s sweat & blood, without even realising that they may be encouraging laziness and other societal malaises. They join leftist parties and become the most radical anti-rich voice in the nation, while maintaining the life style they were brought up in, bien sûre. They get angry with the establishment and then all the rich people become “they & them”. They get consumed with guilt and in utter depression they may pen down something like “Das Kapital”...
Being wealthy is a privilege: when one doesn’t need to focus entirely on providing for the basic needs one has more latitude to focus on developing its spirituality, its sense of ethics, decency and common good. One has more room to transcend the Self and see beyond matter. But one also has more time to ponder on personal & political strategies.
Of course, there are those who being less favoured achieve these very same things (which is highly commendable) but, without a doubt, not having to worry about the bare necessities of life facilitates the process.
Wealth is not a carte blanche to oppress others. Wealth is not a permit to intolerance. Wealth does not equal waste. Wealth requires polished manners. Wealth requires mainly wisdom, understanding & knowledge.
When some people do not understand these simple rules they, indeed, sway on the edge of that dangerous cliff...