www.whyville.net Feb 8, 2009 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

The Value of Wealth

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Author's Note: This was and English assignment. We had to write about an abstract word. My angle was making the reader redefine their meaning of the word "Wealth".

Over history there have been many great leaps achieved by mankind. The impossible was made possible. But at what cost was greatness attained? There were many grand empires won by creating a path of destruction and decimation. Was our moral code compromised on the journey to wealth? We have overlooked the wealth that we already have in the search for monetary wealth. We create two spectrums of wealth when we pillage and plunder the land for all its gold and silver, eventually losing all of the wealth in love and friendship that we already had. This creates a divide between those who have money and those who do not.

The Native Americans of South America had a profusion of monetary wealth and they didn't even realize what they had. To them, wealth was their relationship with their gods. They lived completely fulfilled lives without realizing that they had a colossal amount of material wealth. Imagine the fear that the Native Americans felt when these strange people entered their land and started searching through their villages for something that they never valued.

When the empires of Europe found the new world they brought disease and war with them all on the course to wealth. Spain wanted "El Dorado" (the golden one) so bad that they sent two conquistadors to explore the land. One of them quit because of famine, disease and war that killed the soldiers that accompanied them on the mission. Francisco de Orellana was the first to explore the Amazon, but that was not what he was searching for. He was searching for the elusive golden city. Eventually Spain gave up their quest for the golden city. But at what cost did they choose to search for the city? They lost many Spanish lives and resources.

When people fight in the name of something good does that automatically make it acceptable? The Crusades were issued by the Pope to take back the control of Jerusalem in the seventh century. He executed the wars in the name of Christianity. In doing so, he killed both Christians and Muslims, and caused many hostilities that still exist today. If a war in the search for wealth is performed in the name of something that stands for good is it acknowledged as something that is good itself?

In Europe, during the middle ages bishops were selling pardons for people's sins, called an indulgence. Indulgences were a way for the Roman Catholic Church to make money. But in many ways this was wrong and deceitful. This provided a way for the wealthy to essentially get a "free ride" into heaven. Where as the peasants had to repent their sins and beg for forgiveness.

On the Titanic, when it was sinking there was a limited supply of life rafts. The captain decided that the wealthiest should board them first and then the lower-class people could board what was left. Even in the most dire situations we choose the wealthiest to get the better accommodations. In that sense, we create a divide between the people that have wealth and those who don't. But everyone has wealth of some kind or another so we really shouldn't segregate ourselves that way.

Henry VIII wanted a son so intensely that he killed many of his wives, created a new religion, and sent Catherine of Aragon away to live out her days. He didn't realize how strong Elizabeth, the daughter that he already had, was. She ruled her country alone never marrying, proving that he didn't need a son to secure the country of England in its wealth. Henry was rich the first time he married but he was so clouded by the pull of the country to have a son that he judged too quickly.

When the stock market crashed in 1929 a lot of people lost their jobs and it was hard for a lot of people. But one beneficial thing came out of the Great Depression; they got a reality check. It helped a lot of people comprehend that money isn't everything and you can be rich in many things, not just in bills.

We need to realize that money is not everything and that we are all capable of being rich in friendship, values, love, etc. and that we should not just throw those away in the conquest for material gain. Wealth is not solely monetary and should never be viewed in that way. It has many faces and will continue to elude us all.



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