The true meaning of poverty is.....

  • Lifeisgood

    Posts: 46

    Oct 18, 2007 8:29 PM GMT
    I'm not going to take credit for this subject because I heard it on a talk show but I thought it was a very interesting topic.

    As gay men, we do tend to fall into SOME of the stereotypes, comparing who has what, who lives where, what kind of car people have, do they wear designer clothes - the basic shallow side of anybody, not just gay men, but gay men take the brunt of this shallow sterotype.

    A wise person once said "the true meaning of poverty has nothing to do with monetary worth, but whether or not you have self-worth."

    That means: do you truly know yourself, do you value yourself, do you have self esteem, and do you treat others with respect and dignity without judging them.

    This topic might be too deep but I'm going to give it a shot. I know there are nice guys out there who will comment on this.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16305

    Oct 18, 2007 11:03 PM GMT
    I totally agree. I've always viewed a side of poverty to be the ability or the inability to cope with life.
    Think about those with money, but they still can't seem to cope.
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    Oct 18, 2007 11:17 PM GMT
    This is an issue of nomenclature. With an economic perspective, poverty has nothing to do with any sentiments or emotions but has everything to do with a person's financial status. It all depends on the context of the situation. "Poverty" could be attributed to the lack of anything and everything, so the "true meaning" of poverty depends on its usage... as is true with almost every other word.
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    Oct 18, 2007 11:55 PM GMT
    I consider myself somewhat qualified to speak to this topic in that, in my childhood, my family was below poverty level income-wise, for the era and this country. My mother was a single parent w/ 3 children and made the choice to take a job that was rather low income, but let her be home to be w/ us and we weren't latch key children. Our situation was unique in that my grand-parents bought the house we lived in, the car she drove was her grandmother's old car, we qualified for food stamps - so all in all we were okay, there just wasn't any expendable income. Well, she remarried when I was 7 and the situation, monetarily speaking couldn't have been more different. Years down the road, when I was in a bit of a mood and stressing about money, Mother asked me, "What was the happiest time in your life?"

    Easy answer, I said, "when I was little, and we lived at the little house." To which came the reply, "Hm, interesting, and that was when you were the poorest." I've contemplated on that a lot in the years since that conversation, and count it as one of the most important lessons I've learned.
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    Oct 19, 2007 12:45 AM GMT
    notarealjock wrote: "...That means: do you truly know yourself, do you value yourself, do you have self esteem, and do you treat others with respect and dignity without judging them...."

    Is there anyone who has ever lived whose self perception is so that they would not say that about themselves?

    Hitler liked dogs and painting oils. He rewarded those who supported his vision, and killed those who opposed him. I am sure he thought he was a great person. He certainly had an abundance of self esteem.

    Stalin loved the ballet and especially film. He loved his family and walking in the quiet solitude of the russian forest. I am sure he perceived himself as a visionary leader and pioneer. I think the millions who disappeared into the gulags might disagree.

    Most peoples capacity for self deception far outweighs their ability for self analysis and compasssion for others. Little is remembered 10 minutes after you are dead for the vast majority of people.

    The founding fathers of our republic knew that the eyes of the world were upon them, and that only history would judge them. So dispite their considerable private flaws, they weere carefull of their public decisions. Cynical - yes, but today we have the cult of our founders.

    For some people, perhaps most, that would be enough.

    The question most people with a legacy never ask is "Is that enough for you?"

    R
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    Oct 19, 2007 2:57 AM GMT
    The Poverty Scale:
    1. Those who reach out to others to help ... (least poor)
    2. Those unsatisfied with their world, but do not act to change it
    3. Those only able to care for themselves: keep to themselves, ask nothing, take nothing
    4. Those temporarily incapacitated: overwhelmed by grief or loss
    5. Those incapable of taking a care of themselves: most dejected and demoralized ... (most poor)

    It is easier for a camel to pass thru the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to get out of poverty.
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Oct 19, 2007 4:03 AM GMT
    For the purposes of the original post, I would say that it is necessary to clarify what you mean by "poverty" when you refer to it.

    A poverty of mind, spirituality, or whatever phrase you may use for the sensory-thought-conjunctions (STCs) that determine us as individuals is different from a poverty of resources (and poverties of resources may have to be specified, such as a poverty of basic necessities, poverty of disposable income, and more).

    In my opinion, neither of them are more "true"; applying such a label to them works as an assumed argumentative reality, implying that one of them has a proven greater importance than the other (which, by the way, should lead to questions of what "truths" you consider important in your life and to what extent you project that importance onto others).

    The "shallow" trophies of famous designer clothing, socially exalted cars, and real estate do not, in my mind, relate to monetary poverty (except for relative poverty).

    ***

    I want to note that I consider the poverties of resources to have different properties from the poverties of the STCs. The former poverties have quanitifiable properties (income, expenses, surplus / deficit) while the latter poverties do not have such readily quantifiable properties (as far I as I can recognize).

    The quantifiable properties of poverties of resources makes them more manageable to rectify, at least on a larger, social scale. Poverties of resources are also, from my version of a socialist standpoint, structural and human-made and human-perpetuated; therefore, it is incumbent upon us to work toward their rectification.

    Rectifying STC poverties requires highly individualized approaches (unless you seek something similar to cultic indoctrination, which may merely provide a facade solution to such poverties).
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    Oct 19, 2007 4:22 AM GMT
    QUOTE"the true meaning of poverty has nothing to do with monetary worth, but whether or not you have self-worth."


    Ugh lol. Quotes like this make me feel sick to the core. Do you know who has time to make up such quotes? People who don't know wtf poverty is. Someone searching desperately for food isn't going to be bothered with luxuries like 'respect' and 'self-worth' and I doubt most people in their shoes would either.

    I know the quote isn't literal. So this is just a tangent icon_smile.gif
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    Oct 19, 2007 4:25 AM GMT
    I agree with Rune 1000%

    My first reaction seeing that quote is: stupid priviledged dumbf***. You wouldn't feel that way if you were living on the street wondering where the hell your next meal would come from.

    It's really insulting to REAL poverty victims to try to co-opt the word this way.
  • Lifeisgood

    Posts: 46

    Oct 19, 2007 4:34 AM GMT
    As a matter of fact, I am in the worst possible financial situation of my life, have nothing, own nothing, and struggle every day. Things will change, they must change.

    So I am trying to take stock of my life and get some comfort from the fact that even without monetary benefits, I am still very well off in the blessings that I do have; among them, compassion for others.

    So for you to sit there and call me a "stupid, privileged, dumbF" as you state, you have simiply proven my point.

    Thank you.


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    Oct 19, 2007 4:38 AM GMT
    I don't think he's calling you that, just the guy who wrote the original quote.

    But the fact that you're posting online on forums shows you're not at the level of poverty me and greg are talking about
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    Oct 19, 2007 4:42 AM GMT
    Two men, alike in dignity and wealth, are wiped out in the recent real estate crash. One is devastated by his losses and very depressed. One sees his property go, but retains his wits and spirit about him.

    Which is poorer?
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    Oct 19, 2007 4:46 AM GMT
    On that note, this "new" definition of poverty is also kind of getting to me. Since when is not having some luxuries poverty? I grew up both well off and relatively poor (life took a turn for the worse at one point.) We're talking about a family of 4 living off 25-30K a year salary. You know what? I still had good food on the table every day. I still had heat every day of winter, and although I had a fairly small wardrobe and not the latest in brand names I still had clean clothes every single day. Sure, I didn't have cable, and instead I had an old black and white TV to which I hooked up a makeshift wirehanger antenna to watch TV (one of my first engineering projects and wildly successful!), but that's not poverty. I didn't have internet until they came up with those free add based ISPs, and my first computer was a $40 dollar Toshiba Laptop my mom bought me off some guy who had stolen it and was just selling it in the streets next to where she worked (needed a computer for school and was teh only way I could afford one.) Stuff like this is NOT poverty. I have no idea what it's like to go without food or heat or clean clothes. Compared to the people I was refering to, I was very well off.
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    Oct 19, 2007 5:04 AM GMT
    Compared to the people I was refering to, I was very well off.

    That's exactly it Rune, everyone has an idea of what poor is in their mind, but that's not necessarily what the next person is thinking, and the word is vague to begin with because we do apply it to many different situations.

    And certainly what is defined as poverty in this country wouldn't count in other countries, but again it's how you define 'poor' and it's related terms, and not that the word is being misused, but how it's applied within the context.

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    Oct 19, 2007 5:19 AM GMT
    wow britney spears must be dirt poor then.
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    Oct 19, 2007 7:16 AM GMT
    Leave Britney Alone!

    I'm sorry, I couldn't resist.
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    Oct 19, 2007 12:32 PM GMT
    What I found offensive was the phrase "the true meaning of poverty has nothing to do with monetary worth" (emphasis added).

    That's insulting to people who have real financial difficulties. What it's saying is that a person with low self-esteem living on the street is the same as Brittany Spears (or take whatever example you want), because monetary worth is irrelevant.


    The only people who ever think monetary worth is "irrelevant" to life are the people who have (at least some) access to monetary worth.
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    Oct 19, 2007 12:41 PM GMT
    The meaning of the wise man doesn't have to be strict poverty in terms of money.

    You could be poor on the inside, lacking emotion, or respect for your fellow man. Sort of how the rich gay snob from the city wouldn't give the time of day to anyone who doesn't have 6 figure income.

    That kind of man would in poverty. For all his wealth he isolates himself from most other people so his experiences with people are more limited.

    Who is poorer? : The man who only thinks in terms of money.
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Oct 19, 2007 12:44 PM GMT
    As to the hypothetical raised by Caslon, I would say that they are equally financially poor. As to their mindsets, you fail to provide details as why one is depressed and one has high spirits. Such analogies make for useful soundbites, but I would not trust them for the purposes of prescribing reality.

    Having high spirits despite a loss of resources does not necessarily entail a well mind; it could indicate a blasé attitude to the world, a disassociation from the effect of financial resources on human life.

    Being depressed due to a loss of resources does not necessarily mean that the person has a poor mind. The person in question may have dependents, may be frustrated by the cause of the crash in question (the real estate build-up and crash could have been a consequence of other person's decision-making; in other words, he suffers due to foolishness or cruelties of others).

    ***

    There is also a correlation between wealth of finances and wealth of mind (not necessarily in extraordinary circumstances). Obtaining and maintaining a healthy mind requires resources; some examples: learning how to communicate (including reading), access to nutrition, security, and constructive external influences.
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    Oct 19, 2007 12:49 PM GMT
    ok one second trance. How poor are we talking because if we are talking out on the streets doesn't try to help themselves out possibly a lunatic poor then i certainly would not consider them an option. however if we are talking living from paycheck to paycheck or working on getting a job poor as long as they are overall my type i would be that gay guy from the city regaurded as a snob because of how i cary myself. So. How is everybody this morning?
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    Oct 19, 2007 1:03 PM GMT
    Let me preface this by saying that I have seen the poverty of the American streets having worked with homeless and runaways at outreach centers; and I have seen true poverty in the shantytowns of Mexico City, Rio, and a dozen African cities.

    I admit that although I grew up blue collar, we were never poor - or at least never considered ourselves so. Today I also admit that I am priveledged to have a lifestyle probably available to only the top one half of one percent of people in the world economically speaking.

    I have always looked at poverty as a scaler model, but one whose basic truths were reflected in FDR's idea of the Four Freedoms:

    Freedom of speech and expression
    Freedom of every person to worship in his own way
    Freedom from hunger
    Freedom from fear

    Provide those four freedoms for all human beings, give them the dignity they deserve as individuals and as part of our communities, and you will have eliminated poverty.

    Just my opinion.


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    Oct 19, 2007 1:08 PM GMT
    yeah...we need notarealjock to come back and define the proposition better considering the varied interpretations here.
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    Oct 19, 2007 1:14 PM GMT
    The world and it's resources are finite. Distribution of those resources will never be correct. Some will always have more and some will always have less. Some will hoard and some will destroy and some will never get at all. The numbers of all categories of all people will only ever increase. Global birth control will never happen. If you have no children, for whatever reason, then, you've done more than most to help alleviate the problem. For as long as the world has existed, it has been this way.

    I used to think of my childhood as a bit impovershed, but all is relative and as poor as I thought we were, were still lived better than 50% of the world (at least). There are places in the town I live in where you would swear you were in a developing country on a strange continent.
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    Oct 19, 2007 1:50 PM GMT
    This discussion recalls Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs." In his thinking, which has been somewhat disputed since his original formulation, basic physiological needs,security needs, etc., must be met before "self-actualization" becomes of much concern to people:

    www.businessballs.com/maslow.htm

    While it's easy enough to talk about being "rich in spirit" (or whatever), American consumer culture makes it difficult to separate a sense of wellbeing from material success. And, of course, the "American dream" is all about rising above your humble beginnings to achieve success -- an increasingly dubious assertion as a new gilded age of plutocracy emerges.

    I have a somewhat different personal story, having, I confess, grown up in a very wealthy family. I wouldn't even talk about this most of my life because, while it's okay to talk about how poor you were as a child, people don't want to hear about the negative effects of the opposite kind of upbringing.

    This experience, as my partner will tell anyone who will listen, left me with a dual value system -- an unfortunate sense of entitlement and complete contempt for money, because I rebelled entirely against my family's very Republican values. (And, no, I don't have any inherited wealth.)

    Having seen the damage wealth can do, I have never cared enough about it to pursue it. Thus it has been very routine in my life to get a job running a large magazine, making a very good salary, and, then, when I got bored or disgusted, I'd literally walk out the door and might spend a year doing something I enjoyed that paid shit. This has made my life quite entertaining but it hasn't made me rich.

    I have seen countless clients in very lucrative careers they hate but are afraid to leave. (I seem to attract miserable lawyers in particular.) I am flabbergasted when someone not yet 30 tells me he can't possibly abandon his career and find something new to do. In my view, Americans are more materialistic now than they've been in many years.











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    Oct 19, 2007 2:38 PM GMT
    I am definitely not rich...never have been. But I have a very rich life.

    Semantics aside, I appreciate the spirit of the original post. As a kid I used to get mad at my parents for being poor, because I wanted to be like like all my wealthier schoolmates. My Mom would correct me and claim that our family was rich because we had each other, we enjoyed life, we didn't judge, we knew love, we dealt with problems openly, etc. At the time I thought it was typical parental BS, but of course as I grew older I came to appreciate it. It's part of what got me out of the corporate world and into what I do now, which I love, despite the modest income.

    I think the original poster was speaking in terms of economic positions somewhat near the middle of the economic spectrum. Of course true economic poverty, that which makes basic human needs hard to come by, is a totally different deal.