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Privilege - is this a challenge?
We often hear of people who have overcome adversity, poverty or handicap to achieve great things in their life. We are uplifted and inspired by them, that despite the odds against them, they have succeeded or reached their goals. Their own strength of will or moral character saw them through the tough times and supported them when it would have been easy to roll over and die. Survival itself can be a great motivator, because the consequences of NOT striving might be simply ceasing to exist.
But, what of the challenges of privilege? How does being born into wealth and status, challenge our inner nature? Without a motivator as strong as "survival", would our character flaws stand the test of "sufficiency" and propel us to achieve something for ourselves or merely confirm the old adage "easy come, easy go"?
Would we succumb to the fear of losing what was handed to us on a plate and become mean and miserly?
I once read an interesting article about charity and the generosity of the "haves" and "have nots". It seems a charity collection day for a lifeboat appeal went well in the lower end of town - people with not a lot to spare, still gave what they could to help because someone may be in dire peril one day. However, charity was less forthcoming from the occupants of the "big houses", who ironically were more likely to call on the lifeboat services as they were the ones who could afford the luxury of sailing boats!
How often has the fear of loss or the greed for more been demonstrated by rulers who were not content to rule just one domain but went on to conquer other lands? If not undertaken by force, perhaps then by stealth, cunning, alliance or marriage.
But, what about lower down the food chain - what of the manipulations and contriving that some people undertake to claw their way up the social ladder, to be seen in the right company and rub shoulders with the "upper classes". The lack of inner security can be as big a motivator as physical survival for some. When fear shakes the foundation of self balance, and the character is not up to the job, then the outward demonstration can be a downright nasty piece of work, that is prepared to do anything and remove any obstacle in order to be the one on top!
And does a lofty viewpoint also have us looking down on the less fortunate?
Do we want that rung of the ladder all for our self or are we prepared to offer a hand up to someone lower down? Or possibly we inflict our help on others rather than really aid them, with our sense of self-righteousness sweeping aside their own desires, wants or even rights, because "we know better"! History is testament to legions of "do-gooders" who had the best interest of their subjects in mind when they took away their children or saved their soul by torturing their body!
Privilege can be a challenge. It can test our inner nature and provide opportunity for our character to really demonstrate it's ability to sustain inner balance.
When the scales of equity
are tipped in our favour and our hands control more power than our inner
strength can manage, our weaknesses will be what others know us by.