Stoicism in Inequality

In modern America, there’s a lot of talk about “income inequality”. Now I’m not going to get into the politics of the issue. Rather, I’m going to talk about the mindset of the issue. And since Jeff Bezos is the usual target for these discussions, I’ll be referencing him.

Let’s get one thing straight: the net worth of Jeff Bezos is staggering. All my assets combined equals less than one-one thousandth of one percent of his assets. Doesn’t sound fair, does it? I should be pretty envious, shouldn’t I?

Well, as the good emperor once said:

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact; everything we see is a perspective, not a truth.

With that in mind, let me compare myself to Bezos again, but this time with a different perspective. I have a house with cooling and heating, just like Bezos. I have a car to get me places, just like Bezos. I have well-made clothes, just like Bezos. I always have food at hand to eat, just like Bezos. I have the means to entertain myself, just like Bezos.

Now, is Bezos’ stuff, his house, his car, his clothes, fancier than mine? You betcha. But what is “fancier” save a state of mind, an opinion? A perspective? My stuff functions just the same as his stuff, and that is an objective truth.

I can’t control the lifestyle of Bezos, so why worry about him? I can, however, control my lifestyle. And so long as my needs and even some wants are satisfied, what cause have I for complaint?