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Written by Jim Jordal   
Tuesday, 26 October 2010

HOW TO BE COMFORTABLE WITH POVERTY

By Jim and Mary Jordal

Do you become upset over media reports of poverty and suffering associated with floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, wars and other worldwide disasters? Do you inwardly groan in empathy for children caught in awful situations seemingly beyond human help? Do the empty, pleading eyes of the suffering children just destroy you? Does your heart clench up when you see oil-soaked, helpless turtles, pelicans and other oil-spill victims? Are you too kind-hearted to endure such endless disasters?

Well, we have help for you! You can become comfortable with poverty, injustice and crushing disaster just by following these 9 simple rules. You need never suffer again in useless empathy with human or animal victims, no matter what the cause or effect of their plight.

  1. Learn the mental skill of compartmentalization. Learn how to separate your feelings from your actions. Just because you feel sorry for people does not mean you must take action to help them. Put your religious or moral beliefs in one compartment and don’t allow them to have any effect upon what you do. Beliefs are beliefs. Actions are actions. They do not need to be congruent.
  2. Never admit that you are in any way involved in the suffering of others. Always answer the question "Am I my brother’s keeper?" with a resounding "No!"
  3. Find some form of religious justification for your views. That places you on "God’s side" and gives you the moral high ground. "They" can struggle for survival; you can bask in the moral superiority that comes from knowing you are right.
  4. Be thoroughly persuaded that the poor deserve to be poor because of their personal failings. Insist that people "reap what they sow." Learn to blame them for their failures without feeling or accepting any responsibility for your refusal to help them.
  5. Believe that suffering is a normal and necessary part of human life that can be remedied but never eradicated. Understand that poverty is inevitable and unconquerable. It just is!
  6. Become a rugged individualist. Accept the truth that you are center of the universe and are responsible only for you. Become thoroughly self-centered. It is all about you and what you want. No one else really matters. Deal with your problems before feeling any concern for the problems of others. After all, you can’t help anybody else until you first help yourself.
  7. View the poor and other "unfortunates" as "small" people who are personally and morally inferior to you. They are "different" from regular people and do not perceive events and situations the same as you do. (Note: This one really helps to overcome unproductive feelings like empathy or sympathy).
  8. If you can possibly avoid it, do not go where there is any poverty or suffering. If you don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. If you must go where "they" are, then refer back strongly to rules 1, 4 and 5.
  9. Understand that well-meaning attempts to help the unfortunate only weaken them in the competitive struggle for existence. Welfare creates dependency.

There you have it! You can conquer negative, unproductive, useless feelings like responsibility, accountability, empathy, sympathy and guilt—especially guilt. You can now carefully step over their dying bodies as you claw your way toward success. Many of our financial, corporate and governmental leaders have long ago mastered these skills. You can too! Go for it!