I stood by today watching a half dozen South American foreign nationals (here on work visas) setting rebar on a building expansion and thought to myself “these guys work twice as hard as I do for at most half the pay, only because they were born into different circumstances than I.” While it is time’s like these that I am glad to be an American, I was also a bit perplexed as to why exactly we make it so difficult and time consuming for others to pursue the same citizenship status, and furthermore call many “outlaws” for border jumping. Here I am, considering all of this, while our elected government officials work half as hard as I do debating immigration reform getting paid at least twice as much as I.
I was troubled by the same question many people before me have been troubled with. After some thought, I considered a scenario discussed with a good friend of mine some time ago. Theoretically speaking, let’s say we were to take 100 people and put them on an island; take away everything that they have and redistribute it evenly among them. After a month or so, we would return to the island and likely find that the people who had more to begin with will still have more and the end. The same would likely apply to those who had less.
This thought led me to recall the story of “The Good Brahmin,” by Voltaire. The story, in short, can be summed up with the all too well-known phrase “ignorance is bliss.” Voltaire was simply presenting the question of why those who are not ignorant would not give up all their knowledge and understanding if it meant living a happy life. It’s a paradox of human nature. Those who live a less lavish lifestyle only understand enough to find complacency living in it.
In light of all of this, it just means that I don’t really have much room to complain about my lot in life. This is the human condition defined, plain and simple, and sometimes it requires reflection to maintain sanity in spite of the absurdity of reality.