Poor and happy? that is the question

in blog •  16 days ago


Today I am trying something new and different - stepping out of my comfort zone - hmm. I received this tip in the comments from @botefarm to #freewrite. It is a bit scary because I like to plan. I've had tons of thoughts in my head since yesterday from a Discord chat that I was unable to finish with @burlarj and @imbigdee.

We talked about happiness and poverty. One argument was that money and love brings happiness - another was that a poor beggar can never be happy.

I disagreed about the beggar but it depend on the real situation of the beggar. There are more layers to this and it is easier to express it here on my blog.

I have travelled to many countries and sometimes it was truly humbling to see poverty and how it was handled. People were welcoming to strangers, happy and eager to share. Dignity was apparent - no-one wanted a hand-out. There was a strong sense of community and a close bond with family and friends. I returned home realising that I do not need too many possessions. That the "things" I have are truly to facilitate my western lifestyle but it is not what happiness is about. It re-inforced a concept that I already knew. Could it be that the security of belonging to a close-knit community is the secret?

These people had a level of comfort although poor. All had a "roof" above their heads and something to eat.

  • What if there is no roof and no food?
  • What if life itself is threatened as a result?

Now that is a different level of poverty - there is no comfort there. The beggar on the street might be content with his daily collection and he/she might even dance joyfully when realising that there is more than expected. Rich or poor - one can dance. The poor can be joyful when there is a glimmer of hope too. However, the inequality comes with sadness when it is at this level. Being impoverished is no laughing matter.

I am no researcher on this subject - I am just expressing my thoughts as they arise - so please bear with me.

Do you recall learning in school about Maslow's hierachy of needs. Here is a photo for easy reference.


Source:SimplyPscychology.org

If the basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, sex, sleep, security etc. are not fulfilled - then life indeed is miserable and sadness will persist; it is not possible to be happy then. The poor recognises that they do not have something that they desire and hence know and feel the emotion of lack. Is there inner peace at this level? or is it is all about survival as one lives in constant fear?

  • What about that rich person who is not happy?
  • What if he/she apparently has the basic needs met and all the material luxuries the poor might envy him/her for?
  • What is the issue then?

Could it be that sometimes in the pursuit of self actualizing - the rich forgets about or neglects his/her relationships then miss that element of sharing and caring? or
Could it be that all appears well but some basic needs are not really fulfilled earlier in life and that rich person is still yearning subconsciously for them? or
Could it be something about one's personlity? or
Can the rich also live in a state of lack?

Yes - there are indeed more questions than answers - but I am sharing food for thought.

We all need a sense of belonging - to fit in - somewhere. Maybe that is the answer. For some it is friends and family or any environment in which one feels a sense of belonging.

As humans we will seek solace if basic needs were never met. Gorging on food or buying more things etc. during crisis periods will fill a gap - but only temporarily.
Also as humans we are always comparing ourselves even if we do not realise it. That becomes less so when the basic needs are fulfilled then one can truly relax and be oneself. Seeking approval and recognition from the environment then begins to dwindle. Then one can start to focus on oneself and being an individual. Truly be-ing - not existing.

The impoverished however is only existing - survival is the concern. Actually for the impoverished happiness and inner peace might seem far-fetched.
Even so, the rich can also be as impoverish as the poor.

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Great post MoMo..My 2cent....Life is a mystery and one unending cycle. We humans are never satisfied with our wants..A rich man insatiable wants and needs will put him constantly on the path of fear. Fear of losing all or fear of earning more. The rich and tge poor both have something in common and this will be WANT....They both won't stop wanting and when their needs are fulfilled they have temporary happiness until they have the urge to acquire more. Then tge unhappiness begins....We all are poor when our needs are not being met and we are rich when we are satisfied with what we have.

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Absolutely- one can be poor in spirit. So you believe that someone with no shelter and food can be happy?

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I never said that..lol

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Haha - I never said you did. I should have phrase like this - So do you believe etc?
I am trying to stimulate conversation about basic needs - oh well :-)

I believe many rich men use the money they have to get more money, power and fame, all to their advantage.

I know a friend who said to me seriously that he would prefer to be rich and very sad, than to be poor but happy, just because of the benefits attached to it.

Even in the area of love, I believe that you need finance to run romance. How would you make the love interesting when you can't afford some things that would ginger it?

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Hmm very interesting viewpoints. Money is needed for so many things but will it have any impact on how one feels inside or will some just keep wanting more?

Inner peace is not dependent on abundance or lack. It's dependent on the perception and reaction of the individual to the abundance or lack. I've seen unhappy and unpeaceful rich people and vice versa. Someone can still be joyful and peaceful regardless of the person's poor state.

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How can a poverty stricken person have inner peace when he is worried about what to eat and not to die of starvation... I still don't think poor people are happy.. Are you saying those beggars on the street are happy with the way they are?? Or they just accepted their fate...

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I can see wisdom in this. Indeed, it is not until you have money that you can be happy. I have swwn poor people who eat garri with happiness, and rich people who eat fried rice angrily.

I have met people whom are exactly where they want to be on the streets. These individuals viewpoints go outside the norm where the systems we live in are the problem with society. Who’s to judge a persons happiness when it’s only within themselves to know? My buddy Ryan, rest his soul, was happy on the streets doing what he wanted making random pieces of “garbage art” as he called it yet always had aspirations for more. He was happy till getting into drugs which came from the crowd he was stuck with ultimately because he did not fit into the norms of society pushing him further down. He was viewed by most as being crazy yet he was always harmless rather he was just troubled. I personally think we need to break the stereotype of people without personal possessions being crazy just because it’s not what we would want. Just because he did not want to live in an apartment with a bunch of drug addicts he was unable to receive resources from any agency and ultimately was forced to beg. Being troubled and easily influenced he very quickly was hooked on drugs by a dealer taking advantage of the situation then using him as a mule to get his daily fix the whole time refusing to live in a house ultimately resulting in no way to get clean or help from the systems in place.

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@dk0013 Thanks for sharing your story - I am really sorry to hear about your friend. It is indeed correct that some people - a small percentage (I would imagine) on the streets are where they want to be. It is the case everywhere. Some people do make that choce but a large amjority would prefer otherwise. What do you think about those who would prefer to leave but feel as though they have no choice?

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I consider that societies failure at inclusion... go back to Greek and Roman times, the “beggars” had functions as informants to “unwanted goods” pedlars or even just paid attendance to events.. we called them beggars but if they were really only able to be on the street it was due to lack of personal trust for the person.... now we see everyone standing above that line with a lack of sympathy for anyone labeled homeless or in poverty as if they are now a threat for what you may have... thievery has always been a thing but if it is easier to not require to steal then most will not chose to do it!

I really do believe that it’s more a problem of inclusion for differences in life style that creates this issue, sure everyone wants that new shiny thing but even when you have it you not happy with it. It’s society brainwashed consumership widening the gap between what we physiologically think is rich and poor. Does money bring happiness? No it brings sufficient distraction. Why does everyone desire this distraction? Simply for the fact we have been told to with the entire fiat system just being the newest form of slavery but instead of forced we are given the illusion of choice. Be with the system or a homeless outcast for one reason or another.

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If it a system that does not take care of it poor then theft is unfortunately a consequence. As you stated things do not make one happy but the media creates the fear then sells the produce. You are right - we are fooled about making a choice - only few realises.

Happiness most times can't be gotten by just having money. Who a person is influences how happy that person will be than what they have. A poor man can choose to be happy whether he has to eat or not.

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I agree - true happiness comes from within as we discussed before. However what are your views on the impoverished who indeed scrounges for his daily food?

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Some people may not truly have all they need in life but lack alone is not a good template to judge who's happy or peaceful and who's not. happiness can stem from anything. Hope can stir happiness and so many other things. When someone has something to thank God for, that thing the person is thankful for stirs happiness in him

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You are correct - I totally agree. However I wonder about the person sleeping on the street and wanders around searching for sustenance. Yes they would have glimpses of hope and at least be grateful to God for life but there is not much more. Would that person be happy?

Hi @momogrow I found this post interesting to read after you referred me to it in response to a comment i made on one of your other posts.

As you predicted we were in general agreement on the topic even if we were looking from our own angles.

I would like to add this thought to the discussions as i think it suits the narrative:

One of the most valuable assets a human being can posses is good health. I wonder if a man with no monetary concerns can be described as being in 'poor' health or should they only be referred to as unhealthy or in a bad physical condition?

My view is the answer to this question supports your closing statement.

Good job @momogrow and good luck with your future endeavours.

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@the-one-true-dan apologies for the late response. Thanks for the feedbavk. Health is so important- without good health nothing matters - certainly not money. Unfortunately, lots of really poor people cannot eat healthily. Again it depends on the level of poverty one’s discussing.

-If the basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, sex, sleep, security etc. are not fulfilled - then life indeed is miserable and sadness will persist; it is not possible to be happy then. 

You finally get my point.... Money is needed for those things that makes one happy

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Money is good but it doesn't guarantee happiness. So many things can stir happiness aside money. There are many unhappy and frustrated rich people. The money is there but the happiness isn't there.

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I dont support this. Money does not make one happy, but then, neither does being poor. But then, at least, through money, we can get things to make us happy.

Another wonderful post, @momogrow :-) You're clearly concerned with your fellow human beings, which is a beautiful thing. I myself have very specific and rather extreme viewpoints on money and economics and consider the existence of unwanted poverty one of our greatest failures. The fact that we produce foos for 12 billion people but aren't able to feed the 7.4 billion there actually are, the fact that almost every major city has lots of empty buildings, but also have countless homeless people, the fact that millions of produced cars don't get sold or "recycled" long before they're used up... I could go on and on. We have enormous abundance, yet poverty exists. That's a failure of economy and government. And when in a democracy we are supposed to be that government, that makes it our failure.

Just my two cents :-)

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Thank you and great viewpoints. As a society we are constantly wasting. Poverty could be eradicated if we weren’t focused on profit and greed. However, do u think a poverty-stricken person can be happy with no basic needs met?

I don't believe that happiness is only a property of the rich. I believe that happiness is a choice, and no matter how broke or poor you are, if you chose to be happy, you would be.

I know that having money has a lot of benefits... The ones that can make people happy. I also know that money when not used properly can bring sorrows to their owners.

I did not grow up with money. We were many, but I found happiness with my siblings. I knew rich people who were not always happy. They would come to church with their big cars, I would start envying them, but when it is time for prayer, they would go to meet the pastor and kneel down.

It was then I knew that not having money is not a restriction to happiness, and having money does not guarantee happiness, though left to me, I would prefer to be rich and happy (lol)

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Thanks for sharing your story. So you will agre that Money is not equalto happiness.
Do you think the poverty- stricken person can be happy with no basic needs met?

Personally I believe happiness is subjective... It's not an objective idea, so people can be happy with or without money.
Even though this world has put so much value on money, alot can be done without it. Food can be gotten from farms, if you inherited a piece of land you can build your home from basic material, and remain happy.

Just my thoughts though

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@winarobert I agree with you - money is not always needed. The question was raised about the the truly impoverished with no assets like that piece of land you described-what then?

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What the fuck are you thinking about writing this comment? tell me. you don't like it move on or flag it. This is not a divisive platform and I don't think talking to people in such a disrespectful manner is going to build anything that is going to last. what do you think?

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Uhm, yea, he went a Lil bit far with his rude remarks...

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comments were fine, I am not censoring his point of view but but disagree with his opening remark. This is a person writing this blog, and should be treated with respect, not to mention my friend and fellowing steemian.
Disrespect all you want in my opinion, that's what flags are for. Thanks for the support.

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Oh my, never knew you guys will take it too far, I was just joking with the whole thing and never meant it that far, trust me while writing that comment I was laughing here.

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well you ain't funny, you are a sociopath, "young man" or more accurately LITTLE BOY. So sit down, and shut the fuck up.

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Since I've made this post, I've felt sorry for it over and over again. Countless time.

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https://discord.gg/VAynU2k someone told me you are cool, please come to the discord and I will give you the opportunity to redeem yourself.

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The link has expired sir.

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The link has expired sir.

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Let me know if the link on my blog banner is still good

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@botefarm I am sure you are aware that you can express your opinion and I can express mine. However, some common courtesy would be appreciated. I expressed my thoughts above and I have an opinion which you can agree or disagree with - but do not make assumptions.
As I mentioned above, I have seen ** 2 types of poverty** the poor with a roof over their heads who were still dignified and welcoming and those who were miserable and of course unhappy. I have clearly stated said that therefore our take on the second category is the same. Obviously you did not see that.
Thanks for pointing out the omission of sourcing - you were kind enough to point that out.

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Never knew you guys will take this too far this way, oh my, sorry for that, the post is hidden already.
I was just been sincere and trying to say it lightly. Never meant to hurt your feelings bro.
I was writing that comment jokingly.

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And my comment was the punchline :)

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And mine was the stab wound.

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You said it all my man... Poverty is no joke... No money no happiness.. Not a must to be very rich, but money is needed to live comfortably

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@burlarj - Money is needed and is certainly a means to an end. However, what do you think about the sad rich man?