I recently posted a book review for King Solomon's Mines. Something that has been on my mind since then is the attitude of one Sir Henry. He goes on a quest to find his brother. The quest, if successful, promises vast wealth, but Henry declines this wealth. He states that if it is acquired it be shared equally by the other members of the group excluding himself. Now the reason given is that he is already independently wealthy, and he truly only wants his brother back.
This seemed very unlikely to me. Now did the English of the 1800's truly possess the ability to be content with what they had? I know if this story were written today (or more likely made as a movie) the characters would all be motivated by greed with at least one double-cross in the movie. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the movie concluded with the "team" killing each other.
So was this character poorly portrayed by the author? Was he given magnanimous characteristics contrary to reality? Or is today's American truly so far removed from our more noble roots? It certainly seems that our wealthy work hard at becoming more wealthy. And in general the stories that I see regarding large gifts of charity seem to be redistribution from the middle class on down.
Could this have to do with our shortened attention spans due to the immediate gratification supplied by television and cell phones? Could this have also shortened our viewpoints where we no longer think about our effect on posterity, but rather only our immediate happiness? Is this still a bounce back effect from the Great Depression? People who grew up having nothing are now hoarding everything - including money? Are all of the non-profit organization giving people the excuse that they no longer need to help? Or is it simply a lack of morals? A socialite purchased a dog house for $325,000. This is more than 6 times the average American household income. With 15% of our population under the poverty line just think what that dog house could have done for these families!
Please don't get me wrong. I am not against people having nice things and money - I just feel like it's become an obsession, and if only we could learn to be content with a little bit less everyone could benefit.