Once in a while, we receive comments or emails criticizing and sometimes accusing us of a lack of social conscience, social insensitivity, callousness, shallowness, self-indulgence, and all manner of social ills from individuals who seem to have sprung from the mythical Pandora’s Box. It is almost as if Marie Antoinette herself — disparagingly called “L’Autrichienne” [ “the Austrian” but actually “the German” ] by the Parisian nobles — was reborn as Toto Gonzalez in Manila in the 2000s. Apparently, some narrow-minded readers of this blog do not read and comprehend very well. We already said our piece in the page “Mistaken Impressions” months ago. This blog is about personal reminiscences and is NOT a Filipino “society” magazine. How many times do we have to say that???!!!
What is it like to be rich? For sure, it is not quite like the fantasies of everyone else about the rich. Like the poor, it is waking up everyday to a host of problems; however, there are various solutions available, although there are no guarantees. There is always something going wrong in a life, no matter how gilded. Money equals problems: the bigger the money, the bigger the problems. One must maintain, and continually increase, one’s financial, political, and social positions — one slip and they could all be gone. Indeed, Life has a way of forcibly extracting — sometimes devastatingly so — from one’s holdings, no matter how honestly earned. You instinctively know everyone wants to “take you for a ride,” to take advantage of your money, properties, and other assets, and even your own family is no exception. Worse than war, There is no family when it comes to money: father, mother, brother, sister, son, and daughter are all fair game. A good night’s sleep is increasingly elusive, for one is always thinking of business, business, and more business, money, money, and more money. Financial crises drive one wild. One goes on expensive vacations only to escape the maddening pressures of business, politics, society, and even family — at least until the Blackberry and Pinkberry ring. Money should provide refuge, but it does not; ironically enough, it makes one vulnerable to the whims of fortune. There is no peace, only endless anxiety.
What is it like to be poor? Yes, it is everything that it is, and more. It should literally be hell on earth but it isn’t; Ignorance can be bliss. Like the rich, it is waking up everyday to a host of problems; but unlike “the other half,” there is very little one can do about them. Money is non-existent but the pursuit of it is all-consuming. Survival is all. There is no peace, only bitter surrender.
What is it like to just have enough? It can be idealized and it can be reviled, but it is never extraordinary. One simply “gets by.” There is a bit of everything. There is never enough money to do everything that one wants. There is no peace, only uncertainty.
Such is the sad lot of humanity.
I think it is just a case of the pasture being “greener” on the other side. After all, It is human nature to want what is not there.