Money and Morality: Are the Rich Different? The Rich Buddha Weighs In
I’ve always been partial to Hemmingway’s (apocryphal) take on the question: Yeah, the rich are different. They have more money.
EDITED TO ADD:
The webcasted potion of the discussion ended with Matt Hutson suggesting that we’d be better off if we could shed the “just world theory rationalization”, and my suggesting that would result in our species as a whole sinking into an irreconcilable existential funk. After the HuffPo host signed us off, Matt, Paul and I chatted a while longer, and Paul had an interesting take.
What he said is that people at the top tend to see their position in the world as being earned, and people at the bottom tend to see their position as being a product of fate, and that both groups probably over-emphasise the role agency or fate in their circumstances, and he has some research data to go along with the observation. What he suggested is that what’s important is maintaining a balance between the two views, to realize the circumstances of our birth are accidental, as are many of the things that happen to us between birth and death, but that along the way we do have the opportunity, if we take it, to alter the trajectory of our lives, for better or worse.
What I realized in that moment is that a lot of the writing and rumination that I do is a long-running version of the Serenity Prayer, but rather than being a mediation in service of overcoming addiction, it’s a meditation in service of urging myself to take best advantage of my circumstances and what agency I have, without losing sight of the fact that what agency I have rests on a foundation of happenstance.