from the Gospel According to St. Matthew (NIV):

A) from Chapter 19...

16 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"

17 "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."

18 "Which ones?" the man inquired.

Jesus replied, "'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'"

20 "All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"

21 Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23 Then Jesus said to the disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?"

B) from Chapter 6...

24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat and drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet their heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

I love Dr. Zappa and a great deal of the music that he has left us - he is truly a blessing from God. But I choose other places for wisdom-hunting. Did you know it's Wisdom Season? Shhhh! Be vewwy vewwy quiet! I'm hunting wisdoms!

You'll probably find yourself a whole lot happier when you're over this little fit you continue to throw.

"The net worth of the 225 richest people in the world now equals the combined income of the poorest 2.6 billion, who comprise 47 percent of the world's population."
-- (UNDP's 1998 Human Development Report)

If we eat those 225 rich people and distribute their money between the 2.6 billion poorest then we have:

To broaden the subject a bit, as it’s a bit dominated by the issue of wealth being the sole marker of what class is, and the sole reason to be envious. This may the case in the allegedly meritocratic American system, but in other societies the issue of class is determined by more than just dollars, such as good breeding, religion, various cultural markers and of course, knowing which implement is the soup spoon. I’d like to show how it is the United Kingdom, and how class envy can go down as well as up the social hierarchy.

In the United Kingdom class is a still a fairly hot topic, it is blamed for preventing those with ability from achieving their full potential, witness the latest furore over university admissions, over whether elite universities should give preference to working class applicants (who only comprise about 1 in 10 of top institutions such as Oxbridge, Imperial, LSE, and Bristol).

Also class and class envy can make England a very strange place to live and observe. Class types go in and out of fashion like clothes. One minute young middle-class men start to transform into Mockneys (an impersonation of working class Londoners). Then you have surveys that reveal that roughly 75% of the population claim to be middle-class. The Upper Class is definitely envied as such in Britain - but not solely because they have more money - and yet it is usually maintains a vast degree of respect from the rest of the British public. Some people refuse to accept knighthoods and Lordships because the idea of become part of the upper-middle class dominated establishment is repugnant to them.

(I personally have a terrible fear that at some point in my life I'll rise to join the Middle Classes. It's not because I envy them, I have to pity those poor souls to obsessively whine about tax and whose sole reason to live seems to be know how much their house is worth. Save me! I’m quite happy (and proud guv’nor!) being working-class and I don’t envy anyone except our banal and idiotic Royal Family who I think should be disposed of before the inbreeding starts to get serious and results in a future King with three ears and thirteen toes.)

To conclude: I would put the reason for all types of class envy in Britain down to a perception that many members of society are getting a better deal than they are. Here is a generalised explanation of how class envy works in the UK:

The Upper Classes are envious of the vast political power that the Middle class hold over British governments, as it was the middle classes that replaced the upper class post-1945 as the most important demographic group. They are also envious of the working classes because they believe the poor people are always having lots of fun and few problems, enjoying the exciting escapades of crime and violence. This belief probably comes about from having no real experience of working class life, and a superiority complex that presumes working class people are very satisfied with their position in society as they don’t know better. Upper Class people are often found "slumming it" with the "proles" for a taste before returning to the safety of their mansion.

The Middle Classes deeply envy the upper classes because they believe them to be the real power behind Britain, that they know Royalty and members of the Government they think all of the upper classes are fabulously wealthy, they look to the upper classes for their taste in wine, food, literature, and decor. The Middle Classes envy the working classes because they believe they have a vibrant underground culture, and seem to be so satisfied working in boring low-paid jobs, and can smoke and drink heavily without really worrying about the consequences. They also envy the fact that their taxes mainly go to support the working classes.

The Working Classes envy the upper classes because they are fed-up with being poor and always having to worry about money. They envy their luxury of not being able to think about money. The working classes envy the middle-classes because the middle class lifestyle is much more tangible and conceivable an ambition to hold: to own their house, and have some disposable income to choose how to spend would be a dream to them.

As the joke goes "If you put three Englishmen on a desert island within an hour they'll have invented a class system" - I would add that they'd also all become envious of each other’s position within two hours.

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