2005/03/01

Fishing Lessons

Good Morning.

I'm reading a wonderful novel by Saul Bellow called "Ravelstein."

At one point in the story, Mr. Bellow is trying to illustrate how sometimes people with money don't understand the plight of people without means, and seem to make the assumption that everyone is either, as well off as they are, or could be or should be if the the poorer folks would just work harder, or be smarter, or do whatever it takes to "pull themselves up by the bootstraps."

The illustrations he uses regarding the sense of entitlement and aloofness of many folks who, for lack of a better term, have it made, are priceless.

One anecdote related is about a poor man who came to a rich woman's house and knocked at the door. When she answered the man told her that he hadn't eaten a mouthful of food in three days. "Well for goodness sake" she responded, "force yourself!"

Most everyone I know who has any money seems to think that either (a) they deserve it, and those who don't have it are either stupid or lazy or both, or (b) that if you give money to a poor person that they'll just "waste" it and end up right back in the same situation they were in before - which is true if the the help given is sufficient only to put out an immediate fire.

A side note to this attitude, or philosophy really, well absorbed by the "haves," is the old bromide that if you give a person a fish, they'll eat for a day. But, if you teach them to fish, why, there'll be food aplenty till death grabs them.

The problem with the logic is that if a person can't afford to take the time to learn because he or she is busy tale chasing trying to cover last month's electric bill, or can't concentrate clearly enough to learn well because of the constant worries they face, the whole idea quits holding water. There are times that just providing a nice trout would be more appropriate.

Think of the people you know who have had to turn down incredible opportunities because of the lag time between getting started and the obvious reward.

Then again, in the current economic climate, where the wealthy reap the benefits of policies specifically designed to make them even wealthier at the expense of the rest of the population; and where the rare person who does invent a new and more lethal mousetrap is held up as an example (by those same policy makers) of what could be typical (if the poor weren't so damn lazy); I'm reminded of that man who, after being invited out on the fully rigged and stocked bass boat by his wealthy friend for an extensive fishing lesson, discovers to his shock and dismay, that even though now that he knows what to do, he can't afford the tackle and bait, (or the really cool polarized sunglasses), let alone a boat to get to the reef his friend who'd taught him said was THE spot to catch a good dinner.

Be good to everyone.

7 Comments:

Thank you Surrogate. I believe there is an epidemic of the attitudes you describe right now in the US. It seems large numbers of people, most of them calling themselves Christian, have lost their empathy for their fellow human beings. The concept of the common good has fallen by the wayside, especially in government.  

Posted by Sarah
3/01/2005 05:29:00 pm  
Nice one, Surrogate :-)

"even though now that he knows what to do, he can't afford the tackle and bait, (or the really cool polarized sunglasses), let alone a boat "

No doubt Kender will prove to you that it is this man's own fault, and that if he had gotten off his lazy ass, he would have a boat of his own with all the gizmos. After all, all he had to do was ask one of the charities, right?

Yep, those lazy sods get what they deserve, i.e. to die - that'll teach the bastards! 

Posted by WhyNot
3/01/2005 06:40:00 pm  
Sarah,

"large numbers of people, most of them calling themselves Christian "

I think this is perhaps what astounds me most. Do they read their bible upside down or something? 

Posted by WhyNot
3/01/2005 06:42:00 pm  
Thanks Sarah,

Yup. Remember the speech a couple of years ago (was it a State of the Union address?) when Bushie suggested that the solution for people outsourced out of their jobs was to go back to community college? I think that's when this sort of callousness on a mass scale beacme apparent to me.

That glassy eyed mug spewing (false grin securely displayed) as though he knew what he was saying was complete and utter shit, talking that 'we can do anything we put our minds to!' rah rah thing, (as though he himself didn't fail in every last endeavor he ever undertook in the business world.) T'was more than I could stomach.

Meanwhile these same pricks spend MY money illegally but efficiently promoting all these bogus ideas to the dimmer members of society with blatent lies, cooersion and propoganda. Which means, of course, that in the end, aside from the actual harm being done here in our country, it forces us, too often, to keep our focus on all this bullshit instead of using our collective resources and talents helping others even less fortunate.

Plus, it really yanks my chain that by convincing great numbers of fools amongst us to vote entirely against their own interests - as well as the interests of the rest of the world - that by virue of their righteousness and therefore - rightness on these many issues which is what allowed them to harvest the too large "stupid vote" like water into a sponge, that now they seem to also be getting away with claiming a mandate for their treachery.

No chance.



 

Posted by surrogate
3/01/2005 06:48:00 pm  
Well said as usual, Surrogate. It's nice to hear a sane American voice on this issue. 

Posted by Dianne
3/01/2005 08:41:00 pm  
"I think this is perhaps what astounds me most. Do they read their bible upside down or something?"


Yes they do. It's a three year course of study to learn the trick.
 

Posted by Anonymous
3/02/2005 03:22:00 pm  
"It's a three year course of study to learn the trick "

LOL, it wouldn't surprise me. 

Posted by WhyNot
3/02/2005 04:29:00 pm  

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