Friday, 2 July 2010

I'm real. Or not.

"She is SO out of touch with reality."

How often do you hear/say that? I hear (or read) it all the time, about this or that celebrity/politician/head of organisation/other outrageously rich person. Honestly, it bugs me a little.

What the hell is reality, anyway? Isn't it subjective? What makes Paris Hilton's life less real than mine? Apparently, the richer and more privileged you are, the less you know about reality. I earn £21k a year so all of you who are rolling it in on £25k for example: You are SO out of touch with my reality.

It would seem that maybe when it comes to defining reality, majority rules. The lives led by the Hiltons, the Jolie-Pitts, the Beckhams, those are experienced by just a few. Less than one percent of British people make enough money to own multiple houses and travel the world and wear designer clothes, while the rest of us at our varying income levels live more frugally by necessity. So maybe that's reality. Reality is living month-to-month, payday-to-payday, having a food budget, not being able to just run out and buy whatever you want, and that's what the elite minority are out of touch with. Yes?

Except . . . that's not reality either, if reality is what the MAJORITY experiences.

The majority of the world's inhabitants would love to have a payday that they actually COULD live on. The majority of the world's inhabitants don't have enough money to even need a budget. They buy food when they can. They never buy a thing that's not an absolute necessity.

The staggering majority of people in the world live on less than £5 a DAY. Nearly half the population lives on less than £1.50 a day.

Those billions of people who are barely surviving are the majority. So if majority = reality, guess what people? We're all out of touch.

Something to think about.

ps isn't bbq sauce yummy? So wrong but scrummy just the same x

1 comment:

Becca said...

Very interesting! I guess that reality is completely relative.

For example - if Marie Antoinette had genuinely suggested that the poor of France eat cake, then she would have been completely out of touch with the reality of said people.

When Paris Hilton drink-drives, I consider her to be out of touch with all reality because she acts as if, due to her elevated social status, the rules don't apply to her. As an aside, I take huge issue with this because even though *all* drink-driving is deplorable, it just feels so much worse when done by someone who could comfortably afford to employ a full-time driver.

However, were she to say that today she's going to drop a couple of grand at Neiman Marcus before catching a private jet to a friend's private island, that's in touch with her reality, but totally out of touch with my reality.

So, I guess when we use that phrase, we should add "my", "her", etc. before reality, otherwise it just doesn't mean anything.

On the social justice element... I read an amazing piece recently on the Get Rich Slowly blog about Warren Buffett and his theories on the birth lottery - his idea is that we should be working towards a world where your birth situation has no bearing on your future successes.

It hugely brings into question the idea that the US is the land of opportunity, when the birth lottery could mean that you are born into an ethnic minority that has been forced to live in a ghetto, or a state where there's no regulation on homeschooling so your parents could choose to teach you nothing but the complete works of Cat Stevens.

Scary stuff! And deep gratitude at having won said lottery...