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Why we feel poor

Photo by Kseniya Lapteva on Unsplash

Whether we feel we are in plenty or feel in lack doesn’t depend on how much we have but depends on how much we participate in exchanges. Exchanging our personal time and not our material wealth with the output of the personal time of others. Actually occupying ourselves with doing things that contribute to the world around us and make us feel connected. The experience of doing things that is not motivated by selfish reason gives us a perspective about ourselves that is invaluable.

When we participate in an exchange, there is a remnant that wears off in us that makes us feel that we have something worth giving. No amount of receiving anything will equal this feeling. Many of us want to feel valued, but mistakenly think that only receiving money or some material wealth is a symbol of value. But value can be symbolised by the means of many tokens. One of these tokens can be the consideration that they have the capacity to participate, to contribute… Being recognised as having the capacity to contribute can uplift our self-image so that we actually feel that we are special. Not being cogs in a big machine is freedom from the oppressive concept of being replaceable and dispensable. A lot of other facets of life actually dissuade us from feeling special. Spiritual thought, the job seekers’ propaganda and the dogma of creating egalitarian societies — all dissuade us from setting ourselves apart from the crowd. Dissuade us from feeling special.

But I will explain.

I do not mean to say that what I am saying here is more profound than what others have said in other contexts. But there is a subtle difference. I am not speaking from the philanthropic space. I am not saying that participating in an exchange is good for the society. I am saying that it is good for the participating individual. The individual who participates in an exchange does so because s/he feels that there is something to gain without gaining actual value exchange tokens in the process.

We are dissuaded from setting ourselves apart from the crowd because it is thought to be not good for our ego to do so. But these are two different things. Our ego feels inflated when we feel special when we think it is our flesh and bones (our personhood) that are special and not our situation. Feeling that our situation is special is in a way like recognising our privileges. The specific value of our situation only gets accentuated on participating in an exchange. The field recognises what we have and so what we have to share. So we become a part of the field in a more wholistic and recognisable way.

Our individual personhood is not entirely responsible for our situation. The context we were born into and the value that wears-off by association are also responsible for having arrived in whichever situation we have arrived into. But if we are not happy with our situation it might be because we do not realise the privileges we have enjoyed or because we feel that our journey could have been easier.

To participate in an exchange, the trick is to realise that no matter how deprived, we always have something to share. Being conscious of what we have to share and what we need is only setting us up for participating in a more wholesome exchange.

We can potentially need anything. But is it a need or a want/a desire? The passion of our ego charges a desire to masquerade as a need. So we start feeling that we need all that we in fact want (and truly speaking can do without). Thus frame of mind is not supportive to be ready to participate in an exchange. It ends us making us feel poor.

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