Bob? I was going to say that since I've never been wealthy, I can't really agree nor disagree with your proclamation that being wealthy is "nice".
I'm pretty sure that if I looked at my financial situation comparatively, I might be considered wealthy. Yep. In fact, I'm confident that if I could teleport a person from say...Haiti, they might be overwhelmed by the contents of a shruggishly kept pantry. (Beans, bean, ramen noodles, and lotsa save-a-lot side dishes?) But yes, I am pretty confident that the fact that I have much more conveniences in my life than that fantasy teleported person might have, would place me in the "comfortably" wealthy bracket which you deem "nice."
It's actually more than "nice". This "nice" situation allows a person to dream bigger and better dreams, because we, as humans, are animals that aspire. I can only assess your intent from the words you've written here on these blue pages, so I'm assuming you understand the psychology of environment which lends subtle signals of "hope" to people--even people who live in a hovel in a city of hovels. (I wish I knew how to find it, but I recall a story of a flowerbox campaign which took place in a poor neighborhood in New York City--can't place the year of publication, but I do believe it was a Reader's Digest issue.)
I also thought about Forrest Gump. That excellent film, and his innocence with lack of glee, after being told that his money had been invested in one helluva payoff--APPLE, inc., and what did he say:
"Well, good. One less thing to worry about."
But that's in the movies. Money is NOT less one thing to worry about. It's a helluva lot MORE to worry about. For money to have any value at all, it needs to have movement, energy. It proves or disproves one's value system. (And please understand I'm shifting focus just a bit, from just you, to everybody.)
Money is a challenge of moral responsibility and integrity. Where you decide to place that value indicates--no, PROVES who you are as a person. I think about the uber-rich at times, and I'm reminded of a story that Kathy Griffith tells of meeting Cher. She describes Cher's "home" as having its own zip code. She further described security stations with armed guard, high gates, and a "home" so vast that when she was finally allowed in to see this cultural icon, she called out to her:
And after she recovered from the shock of hearing an ECHO of her own voice in someone's home, an assistant appeared and smiled at her. She told her that she could holler all she wanted--Cher couldn't hear her. She was directed to take a seat, after her offering of a piece of birthday cake wrapped in aluminum foil was taken from her. (Her offering to Cher, a piece of Kathy Griffin's own birthday cake.)
Kathy Griffin tells the story better, but I felt a qualm of something cold inside of me, and actually had sympathy for Cher. Her life, as described, sounded very glamourous, but also very lonely. I thought as I listened to Ms. Griffin, that her visit may well have been a welcome respite for Cher. A chatty girl moment, which I'm sure Cher was well aware would become part of the Griffith act.
I thought that was sad too.
I think about Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Howard Hughes, and Kurt Cobaine. I think about how it really doesn't matter if someone has talent or not--they become a celebrated person because they made (or inherited) lots of money. And they become the focus of our peasantry attention because we are animals of aspiration.
And it's just that very focus that daunts me, an my own aspirations. It seems to me that wealth isolates people--it forces them into community of elite, by necessity. Not only are they hounded by the love and acceptance they craved, they actually become dehumanized into a commodity for product placement advertisements, as our hunger, our curiosity, the very admiration/love and attention that we bestow on them traps them into a surreal world which requires some very expensive protection in the form of security--high walls, deep moats, big men with big guns and big dogs--stylists, agents, PR agencies, attorneys...none of this sounds like quality to me.
Me? I dream of solar panels, so I won't have to worry about the electric bill in July.
I'm really interested in a technology that turns ordinary water into gas. Even in a swamp, I like the idea of rain retention--it's raining right now, but yanno? I'd like to be able to test that rainwater for pollutants, contaminants ...
My ide of wealthy quality is still pretty much hippy-do-well--some beefsteak tomatoes, squash, basil, eggplant, and a nice barter system for services rendered. (I mean that in the nicest way. ) Really. I'm too old for dirty joke now--it's just..gross.)
Wealthy Quality, Quality Wealth.
I think we all know it's just paper, but that stuff has energy, and with proper intent, it can do a lot of good. Would that we were all as conscientious as Essorant, and as pragmatic as Grinch, with the combined fortitude of you, Bob, and Mike, with the long-suffering patience of our host, Ron, the exuberance of Noah Eaton, and the prodding thoughtfulness of our too-silent philosophers, who know who they are.
And a little bit of my wit. Just a little.
Karen just wants a nice garden, a good library, company who calls before coming, and good conversation accompanied by sweet tea in the day, pinot in the evening, and maybe some berries, vegemite, and drool-till-ya-sleep tv on occasion. THAT would define quality of wealth for me. Occasional worship, but no pictures, please.
and OH--an orchard would be way cool. *s*