Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world


I sit here in the comfort and safety of this “Luxury Retirement Village” and the television informs me hourly of the appalling things that are happening elsewhere. And not just in remote corners of the world! Winchester prison was featured tonight (not fifty miles away) with details of the criminals locked up there for serious offences and the savage attacks launched by them on the warders.

Was the world always like this, and can nothing be done about it? I knew nothing about it when I was young, but perhaps that was due to a sheltered background and to little or no media coverage. Maybe it was always going on.

I am a devotee of the poem “The Vision of Piers Plowman” in which all the good and the bad of 14th Century life is portrayed. So I know that it was present in those days. There were people who had none of the world’s wealth and thought “This is unfair. I ought to have some of these goodies the rich are playing with. I will get my proper share by crime and violence”.

That leads back to the question of how the ‘have-nots’ get to be that way. The common answer is they are born to other ‘have-nots’ and that parental behaviour has far more influence than the education that society provides for them. Society has no shortage of well-meaning social reformers but none of them have eradicated the section of society that is impoverished and resents it. So, was it always like this? Yes. Can anything be done about it? No.

Or maybe that last answer is too pessimistic. A problem can be ameliorated without being solved. Poverty is relative, of course, and as long as the “better off” exist those who don’t qualify are going to feel poor. But attempts to provide more goodies for those who don’t have them can make things better, as can attempts to change attitudes and to show that wealth can be won by hard work and determination. We commonly use the term’Role-Model’ but we focus too much on the status that such people have gained and not enough on the circular sequence of desire>effort>failure > increased effort>success that such people go through. How did the role-model get where he or she now is?

One must also remember the Bible story of the men given talents. (For currency read ability). We are not all born with the same talents and what matters is how well we use what we have been given. As much recognition is deserved by the person with few talents as is deserved by the person with greater. It is fulfilling your capability that matters. Society is getting better in this respect. Perhaps we are not quite so impotent as it seems

Getting back to Piers Plowman, the seeker after truth is constantly frustrated in his search but ends the poem with determination to go on seeking. If anybody wants to see my take on PP, try praisingpiersplowman.com



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