Definition of POVERTY
a : the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions
b : renunciation as a member of a religious order of the right as an individual to own property
a : debility due to malnutrition
b : lack of fertility
Middle English poverte, from Anglo-French poverté, from Latin paupertat-, paupertas, from pauper poor — more at poor
First Known Use: 12th century
the first definition of merriam webster's dictionary seems to give the poverty by comparison as more common meaning. the 3rd meaning: debility due to malnutrition is also caused by the voluntary lack of nutrition, caused by the desire to be super thin, a mental ailment of well to do young female models.
in the above two pictures the distinction between the real and imagined poverty is very clear. the african poor are too debilitated to stand up. the laotian custom demands the donors to lower themselves from the begging buddhist monks, who by having renounced the mundane way of life are considered higher in social status. all monks, of all religious beliefs, though figuratively having taken vows of poverty live in spacious and ornately rich monasteries and eat well, if not as well as the rich. it is ironical, that in modern culture, the ideological poor and the imprisoned convicts eat three square meals, while the lower wrung of the service industry do not get adequate nutrition.
the physical undernourishment -- though nothing like that seen in the african child in above picture -- may become the stumbling blocks with which to pave an uncommon avenue of perception whence the segregation of classes seems to be reinforced not by the power of wealth, but by the acceptance of the poverty as "karma". this karma is not of the present living keeping one poor, but of the karma of the past life, the fate. and this belief is propagated by the church sustained by the rich. the rich built the humongous pagodas and monasteries and temples of every religious belief to provide a place for the belief to lure the believers, and the believers sustained the begging monks' living by offering them the steaming hot dishes specially prepared for the offering. in the pretended poverty the only missing thing one would experience is that of salvation despite the extreme efforts, as what mother teresa's notes depict. or it is a ploy that enables the believers to distance themselves from doing what they praise.
the founding fathers of all belief systems, religious, political or socio-economical are all dead. but the systems they have created have formidable popes and dalai lamas and ayatolas and gurus, and also guru-denouncing intellectuals like krishnamurti, who all have managed to uplift their respective belies to the level of state religions. even the so called secular state as the u.s. has in it currency printed: 'in god we trust.' and religious as the americans are, would not forego the notion of charity provided they are endowed with the means to be charitable. what made buddha renounce his stately living and become a beggar made him much sought after by the rich who were impressed by his renunciation of the riches. in ecologically biological terms the act of giving up must have felt to him nothing more than shedding of the burdensome extra that eventually starts to show its ill effects as many biological ailments and social ills.
real poverty is shaped in the untimely skeletons barely covered by skin. and it is caused by the very means that makes a person to be rich enough to be charitable. but unlike the believer throngs for whose sake the rich builds churches, mosques, temples and synagogues, he is himself not a believer. nor is he disturbed by the sight of the four great miseries that caused the buddha to be disturbed enough to seek the remedy for it. he had been led to live a protected life in the likes of prince charles or lady di, the children of the wealthy. but unlike theirs these were his first glimpses, the electronic media not being around yet to invade his palace life. whatever the disturbing sight, loses its impact in its repeated display. and the news media does just that, whether knowingly of its effects, or unawares. recently the second richest man, bill gates has stated that he has no need for money any more as he is “well taken care of for food and clothes." what makes bill gates and others like him rich is the notion of comparison. rich compared to poor. homeless poor as against living in a 40 room house.
the beatles' song: 'i don't care too much for money, money can't buy me love,' is the realization that comes after making too much money; and giving up a part of the money may buy bill gates some praises, but not love, for true love happens only among equals. and among the rich there is the rivalry for one upness, but no sense of equality.
but the comparison is only for a living in thought, for, in biological terms one is unable to fully occupy even the "full size" bed. the only time the rich are unable to escape their biologically formed size is when they sit on the commode. they cannot expand the poop hole. any pretended form of existence is an ailment caused by a thought out stance that has no real justification. it is this pretended giving up or giving away in charity that is the greatest lie to commit which the class distinction are created. and everybody who is working for somebody is toiling for the rich. it includes not only the assembly line blue collar workers, but also their white collar managers and the governmental workers, including the presidents of countries that have the rich/poor distinction as a way of life. the so called self employed artisans -- architects, painters, musicians, singers are toiling with their skills to please the rich.
all through the past, and in present times, the buddhist perceptions have mostly attracted the rich, who were intellectually impressed with the idea of letting go of the extra, but could not dare to let go of the fear of anonymity. the spiritual retreats of every religious belief offers them the taste of austerity in a make believe way for the duration their otherwise accumulative ego-oriented living would allow. being successful in material or intellectual sense does not in itself make one automatically expert in other areas of existence. and giving away some of their wealth earns them the praises of the poor, which also softens their image of ruthless exploiters.
budhha's explanation for the causes of the great pains and suffering of the humankind was that people act in ignorance of what is, as is and why of it. it creates an aware living. on the other hand judeo-christian and islamic and hindu commandments are an imposition regardless of one's agreeing with it or not. since the ten commandments were made for the strict following in order to retain the socioeconomic apartheid, without which there would be felt no need for the prayer for the deliverance from the misery, the rich and the clergy saw it fit to "lead the flock towards the green field."
and the duality is a conditioning for which the schooling is made compulsory. it teaches to separate living from earning a living. grade schools are for sorting out workers by grading the students in the manner of grading potatoes. the grade a go to college, and a a to graduate
school. by the 10 grade one may begin to feel the implications of what the schooling is and whom for. enrolling in graduate school may enable one to observe the function of the grade a a potatoes, which, in the words of the buddha, in one of the ten precepts is: "i shall abstain from dance, song, music and theatrical performances." the fine arts are for the amusements of the rich. and artists are the star performers.
the word: rich is the politically correct identity of the king -- rich < reich < rex -- in a democracy. and without the arts there is nothing else that can distinguish the rich from the poor. artists -- architects, writers, painters, poets, musicians, dancers all make the living by prostituting their skills with the taj mahals, pyramids, palaces and performances that fatten the egos of the rich. and schools provide the artisans.
oftentimes, one who happens to have experienced poverty that was initially imposed by being born in a family that could ill afford to have breakfasts , or its child to go in lock steps with his rich schoolmates from grade to graduate school puts all one's efforts in some skill that is in demand by the rich. and it enables one to climb up in the ladder of the socioeconomic apartheid. many 3rd world people who migrated to the u.s. chasing the american dream, strive to portray themselves to be more americans than the caucasian natives. there is a gujarati saying arising from a hindu converting to the islam for the material uplift in the muslim kingdom: "the convert muslim says his prayer louder."
but from the same region comes another observation:
for the thirsty drink from cesspool is good,
as is for the hungery the discarded food;
the sleep sees not the broken cot,
as for love caste or creed matters not.