Resenting Rich People may be Neurotic, but it’s also Good Fun!

Via on Jan 12, 2010

prince pauper

Is resenting the rich an obstacle to embracing our own sense of unconditional wealth, in the here and now?

~

A friend shared this quote the other day:

“There is always more misery among the lower classes than there is humanity among the higher.” Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

To which another friend said,

Sad but true.

To which I responded:

I’ve been told to stop resenting rich folk. I’m trying.

To which my friend said:

Ah…yes, I do not actually resent rich folks, nor do I believe that poor folks are necessarily miserable…But the quote has a poignancy—and a truth, though not universal—that made me feel it was worth sharing. I did have the “Hmmm, I don’t 100% believe this,” thought as I posted it.

I guess I need one of those “The opinions represented here do not necessarily reflect those of [me]” disclaimers. Though they reflect them enough for me to represent them..!

To which I said:

I think it’s the isolation / insulation money gives people from reality. I remember being a child wishing some rich person would give my 2-job-working single mom $1,000, how that woulda changed everything for us.

Now, I’m friends with many rich folks…and their attitude toward $1000 is beyond cavalier in some contexts…and beyond stingy in others.

To which the “sad but true” friend commented:
It’s difficult not to feel somewhat frustrated (whether it’s resentment or not) with economic or emotional disparity, however it is manifest. Resentment of the rich connotes attachment to/desire for the wealth and lifestyle, which more or less perpetuates the disparity.

I wish that people would realize that we are each other. If we were able to see that, we would be much more generous with each other. My 2¢, for what it is worth. (I must be “poor” – only 2¢!)

Anyway, Happy New Year to you both!

I thought it a conversation which touched, if lightly, on some interesting notes, seeing as how I’ve spent most of my 35 years being poor, and thinking about being rich, and having many rich friends, and resenting their bubbles, sometimes.

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4 Responses to “Resenting Rich People may be Neurotic, but it’s also Good Fun!”

  1. ARedLotus says:

    Agreed. A lot of this is resenting the bubble more than the people. That is a frustration with ignorance. Often, that frustration is coupled with a frustration that some lives are unnecessarily difficult and could be less so with simple actions by others whose bubbles isolate them from possibilities. Yes, the question remains as to how much that frustration contributes to some people's misery and prevents people from seeing the wealth in their lives. Does a desire to improve the world cause misery because we are not accepting the situations as they are?

  2. Right, and there's the concept of "poverty mentality" as taught by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the Buddhist teacher…why would we feel resentful if we didn't feel some lack in ourselves? We're fundamentally fortunate, whether rich or poor…we're alive and have our six senses (mind is sixth sense in Buddhist tradition).

    Still, when I see how the bubble tends to warp my wealthier friends' sense of money, and then, outside that bubble, you see hard working people struggling…my heart twinges. "Socialism" or "spreading the wealth" isn't the answer, by the concept of noblesse oblige might be a good start. You know: "with great power comes great responsibility"…to exert that defining human characteristic (vs. animal kingdom)…mercy. Compassion. Richness in mind and creativity, to help the world, not just oneself. For there's a poor-ness to stinginess in rich people, too.

  3. Greg says:

    Waylon, you hit a rich note here. If we resent wealthy people, we are unlikely to become one as we would not think of becoming that which we hate.

    But the real issue is not wealthy individuals per se but the misuse of the wealth. It is the lack of integrity and responsibility that tends to draw attention.

    Socialism is not an answer, as you point out. Usually, as a practical matter, socialism enriches a very small circle who hold political power and impoverish the vast majority. During the height of Chinese Communism, I met a fellow who did business there. He would go to the plushest country clubs (in China) in a Rolls Royce to meet with the power structure — while the "people" struggled for survival.

    Our current administration, unfortunately, plays this same game. Rich and powerful gangsters behind the scenes gain power through their (fake) concern for the "people." All such "games" end up with very, very nasty results.

    It seems there are no shortcuts to widespread enlightenment. Seems that while we have a period of (relative) wealth our efforts should be full blast on spreading enlightenment. Perhaps the best thing that could happen would be a series of seminars and retreats for the wealthy with truly enlightened spiritual leaders.

  4. Farnoosh Brock Farnoosh says:

    I love the rich. I think that just as much as we have a right to what we earn, they have a right to what they have earned. I think people resenting the rich only feeds the terrible omens in that the rich will resent everyone else and they have the power to show it. It may be good to remember just how much we owe the rich. Think of the generous donations made by multi-bil or millionaires They could buy an island instead of helping a nation. We say gratitude and compassion in everything. Why are people with thicker pockets above that? I love the rich and I think many miseries will and have come to this world by the "redistribution of wealth" and rewarding the people who don't' want to work but just feed off the government and punishing those who have found a way to find a nice comfortable living. Oh and I do LOVE Victor Hugo but he was probably referring to a particularly snobbish class of "upper class" back in France in his time frame.

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