You would have to create a specific definition of reality. For me, it is all the things that modern society struggles to get away from for its own comfort. Central air conditioning. Soap operas. Fabric softener that makes irons obsolete. All those little pieces and bits that on their own don't add up to much but have a tendency to build on top of one another and bury us.

I recall an example from a fine book called Four Arguments for the Elimination of Telelvision by Jerry Mander. The author's son was asking where oranges come from: "You mean they don't grow in supermarkets?" How much harder will we have to work to reinstate the obvious as we evolve, to whittle back into reality the things we so easily forget about because our cultural structure allows for such benign ignorance.

It is a challenge to not relate escapism directly to the acclimation of wealth in America, since the media and trends point in that direction constantly. Nor is it easy to avoid that the opposite is true, that those of us on the poorer end of the spectrum are somehow more aware of what is really going on around us simply by default. It is an argument similar to the idea that those who are the most intelligent are often the most mentally unstable and likely to go insane, that the more you learn, the more you are burdened (not liberated) by what you understand about the world around you.

I am tempted to believe these things about myself, that I am better prepared to deal with reality or life in general because I have little protection from it, financial or otherwise. At the risk of seeming pompous or at all better than anyone else, I am sure the reader would agree that even if this theory were true AND could be applied to me, it is not that great of a consolation. Rewards like these are inherant; no one else is going to think them beneficial at all, but I do.

In cases of true poverty, reality is supplanted by survival. Your definition of reality, which is quite valid, is based on the agrarian myth and is the antithesis of supermarket oranges-- growing up on the farm and killing our own cows and making our OWN damn shoes. Building some character. It's a hard life, you've got to work for it and fight for it but you always have just enough. Just look at us using all these big liberal-arts words to descibe it.

People who are really poor don't have the luxury of wondering if they are closer to reality. Its so much of an accomplishment just living day to day, without getting shot or raped or starved. These people can only dream of central air conditioning or fabric softener because they have nothing else to live for but the vague hope of a better life. Which they almost certainly will never achieve.

Last year, I decided to try an experiment. Will I become a better person by being poor? So I told my parents not to pay my tuition, rent, or food. Because I didn't demonstrate any financial need, and my academic scholarships totalled about half tuition, I was left with a bill of about $20,000 a year. So I got a job or two, refused any loans, didn't touch the principal, and tried to be poor.

So here I am, coding for 18 hours a week, and paying the bills, and I'm technically poor. But my lifestyle hasn't changed-- I still shop at Barney's though I wait for sales, I still go to the same parties and the opera and do the same volunteer work (though I currently do not have air conditioning). I can't get my Fiat fixed every 3 weeks anymore, and I walk rather than take the subway or the bus. All the while thinking that I am closer to reality, I'm noble, completely unlike my other classmates who don't pay for their tuition, or accept financial aid.

But then it hit me-- This doesn't mean shit. How dare I call myself poor, and glorify in it, when there are children starving on the streets?

Reality has nothing to do with money.

Look at it face value. Reality is subjective. One's perspective, no matter how shallow, deep, close to nature, etc. is always their definition of reality. The book "1984" illustrates this fact. If there was a war against Country A last week, but you and everyone believe there was at war against Country B this AND last week, what is reality? Ironically, someone disagreeing with my point would help enforce it, as this idea i believe to be true isn't part of their perspective.

There is certainly validity to the idea that "poor" = "better grip on reality". For example I work at a department store, because I must have steady income. If I'm shopping in a department store with someone who doesn't have the responsibility of paying for things themselves, they won't know the effects of actions they may take (like messing up product facings). Like the saying "don't we pay someone to do that". Yes we do, but if you had their job for a couple months you would take care of it yourself, or atleast realize how you are affecting that "someone". Although again "poor" is subjective.

I'd say wealth and understanding of reality are not proportional.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.