Prosperity: what is it? Who has it?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread
It's been stated by some that the US is the "most prosperous country in the world". Is it? What does this mean? How do YOU define prosperity?
Here's my own philosophical opinion on prosperity. I'm prosperous if I have am not likely to be hungry for more than a day at a time, if I have the freedom to do what I want, as long as my actions do not adversely affect others, I am not thirsty, I can travel wherever I need to travel, I can speak my mind both in private and in public without fear of harassment by others, I am warm in the winter, I have a safe place to lay my head at night.
To be prosperous, I DON'T need to have: television, lots of "things", better "stuff" than my friends and neighbors, smart looking clothes.
I could think of more, perhaps, but I'd like to hear your views.
-- joj (email@example.com), March 18, 2002
Everything you said Joe, plus land enough to raise crops sufficient to feed myself and my family and animals. In other words, a homestead.
-- Green (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 18, 2002.
We live WAY below the average of what this country DEEMS to be prosperity. Yet, everything we have is owned by us and we are debt free. I consider this more prosperous than those others that have a whole bunch of stuff that they are paying for by working themselves to death. I am prosperous with time. I am prosperous with a wonderful wife and family. I am prosperous with good health. I am prosperous with everything except MONEY! If you are just asking for financial prosperity, then I fail to live up to the standards of our nation. But, everywhere else, I am probably way above standards! This is more important than a HUGE bank account.
-- http://communities.msn.com/livingoffthelandintheozarks (email@example.com), March 18, 2002.
-- Rick in SW West Virginia (Rick_122@hotmail.com), March 18, 2002.
I feel prosperity has more to do with whether a situation is improving or not. No matter how rich one might be if you are going down hill you are not prospering and on the other hand a poor person who is enjoying an improvement is 'prospering'.
IMHO, a country is prospering when each generation is generally 'better off' than their parents.
-- john hill (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 18, 2002.
All I need to feel prosperous is my common sense, perspective to look at life from as many angles as I can to achieve the path best suited to me and the guts to always be truthful to myself and the world if it can handle it.
-- Jay Blair in N. AL (email@example.com), March 18, 2002.
This country is made up of a wide variety of people,in all shapes,sizes,colors,religion,etc. We each have a self sense as to what is prosperity and each others views will differ from the next view but one thing that everyone can agree on is "Good health" without that you have nothing. It does not matter whether you have 30 billion dollars or two dollars to your name,if you own everything out- right or have payments to make,if you are down and out with crippling arthritis,or have migraines constantly,or a liver condition,or cancer,or one of many other health problems it becomes very tough to work,travel,eat,talk,stay warm,sleep,protest, etc.
So for me Good Health is the posperity foundation that I build all my other fortunes on.
-- TomK(mich) (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 18, 2002.
I agree with John Hill .Human kind needs to improve his current situtation all the time in order to feel prosperous.Once you have what you wanted, what you though would make you feel prosperous, you get used to it after months or years.You get bored with it.It doesn't stimulate the senses .The routine gets old and your mind starts to stagnant from being at the same level day after day. The feelings of prosperity (content,happiness) fade.What you acomplished in the past that made you feel prosperous yesterday no longer forfills your needs either physicaly or mentally today. Humans need and desire change . We change our priorities through different stages of our life .What we wanted when we were 20 years old is different when we are 50 years old. Staying at the same level while desirering change isn't prosperity . Going down hill( having less comforts)is change but not prosperity. Improving ones current situtaion to attain the situation that is desired would be prosperity.Until a new situation is desired.
-- SM Steve (Unreal@msn.com), March 18, 2002.
Hey Joe!! We agree again! Although I'd add a little bit to it, like having reasonably good health myself, and not being in debt. I loved Ernest's answer!!!
-- Doreen (email@example.com), March 19, 2002.
Ernest pegged it.
-- John in S. IN (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 19, 2002.
What ernest said and SM Steve:
Being satisfied with what you have is hard to do if you depend on society dictating what makes a person 'prosperous'. What makes us think that bigger, better, more, BIGGER, BETTER, MORE is always an improvement? Until we learn to find what we REALLY need to have to make us happy, we will be chasing that rainbow (or paycheck)!
I wonder how many of us could change our lives by having a forced financial reversal for at least a year. A year to let us know just how much it really takes to live a fairly decent life. Be interesting, to say the least.
-- j.r. guerra in s. tx. (email@example.com), March 19, 2002.
I think that what can help with how one feels about prosperity is to really realize that there will always be someone worse off than you.
Too many people know only their own little local area and have no idea of how people in the rest of the world live. The last time gasoline was at a pretty high price, some other woman at the library mentioned it to me, and I said, "Well, at least we don't pay as much as they do in Europe, and by the litre, at that". Her response: (and very cross at that) "Well, I don't live over there, I live here, and gas costs too much." Totally clueless. I don't mean you actually have to go to Europe, but gee, at least read a paper once in a while (at the library if you can't afford to subscribe).
Even the homeless in this country live better than many in the rest of the world.
It is all a matter of perspective.
-- GT (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 19, 2002.
All kinds of thoughtful, and thought provoking answers, folks!
I want to add one more thing: a full wood shed. (with two years+ supply of madrone)
As far as always needing change to find prosperity (or happiness?), wouldn't you say that a goal to strive for would be to accept what we already have, instead of needing more and different things? (I do agree that our desires change as we age--I have no desire for a fast 1957 Chevy anymore!)
I can say that I haven't gotten the least bit tired of sitting in my rocker having my morning cup of J, watching the view. The view changes all day, almost every day. Different snow levels, different shadows in different valleys, different rain clouds, cloud shadows, fog in the bottom lands usually, but always to a different depth, etc. Maybe I'm just getting easier to entertain as I get older?
-- joj (email@example.com), March 19, 2002.
The brief answer is IMO the ability to be content and engaged with what is. Thats what JOJ is talking about in his last post.
-- john (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 20, 2002.
Let he who doesn't desire to improve his current situation and has no wants throw the first stone.
-- SM Steve (email@example.com), March 20, 2002.
I'm working on contentment myself. There is nothing wrong with that so long as it isn't complacency you are achieving.
-- Doreen (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 20, 2002.
SM Steve, I don't want to throw the first stone, nor the next.
I have to admit that it does seem necessary to improve some things in my life; for instance, I'm stringing some very taught bob wahr around the bottom of my chicken wire fencing to keep Bambi out of my fenced in area. I suppose that matches your definition.
On the other hand, I have decided that I don't NEED to find the "perfect piece of property", as has been my lifelong goal until I built my current house. This place has its downsides, but I can either decide I need to move, yet again, because I can't stand to hear the freeway a mile away, or I can choose to accept the freeway noise as just being there, and not allow myself to get worked up about it. We discussed this before building here, and decided, in the balanced, the land has so much going for it that we'd choose to ignore the freeway noise. We rarely even think about it, I"m happy to say.
I also have always wanted a creek suitable for hydropower. Maybe in my next lifetime, if I don't come back as a cat, or something.
All I'm saying is we don't HAVE to keep getting more and more, or better and better, if we decide to be happy with what we have, for the most part.
-- joj (email@example.com), March 20, 2002.
I have prosperity. I carry it in my heart, in my dreams, in my experiences. I have prosperity in knowing that a life can be broken twice as quickly as it is built. I have prosperity because I have overcome any illusions that my knowledge absolves me from compassion or understanding about others who have not yet found what I believe to be true prosperity in life.
I have prosperity because I am loved deeply by my family. I have prosperity because my spouse and I share sincere loyalty and friendship, and I have security in knowing that he will stand by my side under the worst of circumstances, as I will his. I have prosperity in the birds that sing outside my window, the rain that wets the ground, the wood in the stove that keeps me warm.
Prosperity is good health, comfort, a full belly, a soft place to sleep, freedom from bodily harm and threats, being loved sincerely, soundness of mind, and the security of knowing that barring unpredictable disasters, tomorrow will be exactly the same as today.
Prosperity is not made any greater by owning many expensive things, and likewise, it cannot be measured by what you divest yourself of. It is the pinnacle you reach when you find your life so full of goodness, that you feel compelled to reach out and share generously with others.
-- bantling (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 20, 2002.
Wow, you guys are too cool! Thanks for all the really thoughtful responses.
I'm pleased that not a single person said that prosperity is a fat bank account, or a new SUV, or a Beamer.
-- joj (email@example.com), March 21, 2002.
Well it IS a fat bank account, an SUV and a Beamer, IF that is what you value above all else! In other words, properity is in the eye of the beholder.
-- john hill (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 21, 2002.
joj , The stone throwing thing was my attempt of a joke that ,We're all guilty of wanting other then what we have in one way or another.Even if it's just another herb in my garden that's used for aroma theropy .. the last line in my posting says:(Improving ones current situtaion to attain the situation that is desired would be prosperity.Until a new situation is desired.)It like saying it an endless pursuit,a trap in the maize of life.Like Albert Einstiens therory of karma, for every prosperity, there's an equal failure.For every failure theres an equal prosperity. (why am I getting dizzy )To have your paradise you have to take the hell that goes with it. If this questain every gets asked again and I find myself tempted to respond,I'll just say a mobile home with 7 dogs under the porch, a case of cheap beer my women a couch and a tv with remote control. (another attempt at a joke)
-- SM Steve (email@example.com), March 21, 2002.
I agree with Jump-Off Joe, with one exception. I am prosperous if I am free to worship God. Without that nothing else is worth anything.
Little Bit Farm
-- Little Bit Farm (littleBit@compworldnet.com), March 21, 2002.
Dang; I knew the God thing would come up sooner or later. Oh well. Count me out. I can't handle the stress.
-- joj (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 22, 2002.