Living in Los Angeles, in a neighborhood that’s near Bel-Air and Beverly Hills, enclaves of wealth and luxury that neatly summarize all that is grand (achievement, possibility, beauty) and horrible (excess, vulgarity, greed) about America, one has ample opportunity to reflect on the pros and cons of consumer-driven capitalism.
The question that comes to mind almost daily is, What are we all chasing?
A better life? Apparently that noble concept takes the form of more money, more power, more things, all of which, one eventually realizes, aren’t really better at all, just more. We pay lip service to the good souls who actually do something for the greater good, the teachers and organizers, scientists and volunteers. But we continue to lionize the rich and famous, granting them our highest cultural honor: attention.
One day, when our species is gone (or reduced to foraging through the fields, like our ancestors), the planet’s inhabitants will look back at their antecedents with wonder and fear. How could a society be so rich yet so poor?