Sunday, 4 March 2007

Having had a long career as an urbane, urban gardener I've worked in most of the nicer parts of the city .
Ironically, the nicer the area the less nice its inhabitants. There seems to be a direct link between the amount of personal wealth and the level of personal fulfillment and happiness.
When I started years ago as a young man from a humble background I couldn't believe the opulent world that my clients inhabited. It was another world and turned my head.
They have the freedom to do what they want when they want and I was green with envy.
But as time passed and I met more wealthy people I became aware that they were never happy or able to relate on a human level.
This I suspect is the root of the problem too much of anything is bad for you, too much choice, too much freedom, too much comfort and especially too much free time to focus on oneself. minor inconveniences become full scale disasters capable of ruining the whole day.
I have seen a grown man have a complete temper tantrum in the street because his chauffeur arrived at the front door 30 seconds after he did. He had to wait in the street for 30 seconds, how awful. I would love to see how he would cope waiting for a train in the rush hour but this experience will never be his.
You would think knowing you would never have to use public transport would be enough to make anyone delirious with joy but no it doesn't work like that.
The rich believe they are better than everyone else simply because they are rich. Even if all they had to do was to be born into wealth that is enough to make them superior.
They lose the ability to relate to people who have less and only tolerate their presence because they need them to make their own lives more comfortable.
It's this inability that I believe makes the wealthy unhappy coupled with distrust, everyone is out to get them and rip them off. This may well be true in some cases and causes intense anxiety for many wealthy people.
It's tough being rich, perhaps the uber rich should learn from Bill Gates and give most of it away, less to worry about .
Too much or too little money can both cause problems but I suspect for most of us the former is preferable at least it allows you to be miserable in comfort.