Roots of poverty

I would like to write about the disgraces of poverty as it exists in hard core reality and thereby help jump start action to aid the indigent.  I have experienced dire lack of funds myself.  I have worked with children who have no toys at home, who come to school in the morning hungry and depressed.  I have seen the inner city poverty we tolerate around this country.  But poverty, at least the economic kind, really is a relative stranger to most Americans.  We may be poor, some may even be hungry, but there are enough open doors here to ensure that all of us can avoid poverty if we so desire.  Notable success and riches may not be so available, but basic decent living is.

So what weighs on my mind this Blog Action Day is the cause of poverty more than its manifestation.  We Americans are comfortably shielded from its worst effects, but we participate daily in its causes. 

Poverty, different from being poor, is absence of opportunity, hope, or ambition.  The destitute are those who have no options, whose lives are wasted in the endless hunt for something to eat, for shelter and clothing.  Poverty is where humanity sinks back down into the animal kingdom.

And poverty is the state of mind that accepts “the poor ye have always with you,” that considers the destitute part of natural life, that glories in its own power and patronizes those less fortunate with token gifts.  Poverty is the world view that pits one human against another, that attributes to luck or savvy the success of the ‘haves’ and feels only superficial responsibility for the rotten estate of the ‘have-nots.’  Poverty is winner-and-loser thinking, an us-and-them attitude.

This poverty of the spirit is the true enemy.  We are slowly waking up to the bodhisattva perception that none of us is saved unless and until we are all saved.  Kiva and the other organizations with new ideas about sharing our resources with those less fortunate are operating according to this understanding.  They are helping third world countries progress, but far more importantly, they are nurturing human evolution into a species that values the spirit, that is universally rich in compassion, that respects the poor but refuses to tolerate poverty.

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1 comment so far

  1. […] The Roots of Poverty Mary H. Ruth talks about poverty and state of mind, and the idea that “none of us is saved until all of us are saved.” Very nice. […]


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