I have written here in the past about the growing imbalance in income and wealth between the haves and the have-nots of this country, about how unhealthy it is for us as a nation to have so many people living below the poverty line. One in seven, a little over 14%, of us lives below the poverty line and for children it’s an even worse one in five, 20%. For a country so full of itself in proclaiming ourselves the best at everything (even when the numbers don’t bear it out) these are atrocious figures.
But I thought of an equally alarming disparity in our country, and the world, when I came across the quote above from author Henry Miller. We have a definite gap in education and knowledge in this country that runs pretty much through the same groups as the poverty line. We are quickly becoming a more ignorant society, placing less and less emphasis on knowledge and wisdom. In fact, we have become a country that is suspicious of anyone displaying a modicum of either, labeling them as elitists.
We are at a point in human existence when we have more knowledge at our fingertips than at any time in prior history yet we have all the same problems that we have had for millenia.
Ethnic wars. Racial intolerance. Religious intolerance. Subjugation. Ignorance and poverty. Famine and disease.
For all our knowledge of how we might best survive this world, these things continue and at exponentially higher levels. Yes, we live in a time of wonder on many levels, with breakthroughs in medicine and technology. But until we can make our knowledge accessible to everyone, at every social strata, we are doomed to be mired in the problems that have haunted us forever.
Do I have an answer? Of course not. In fact, I’m not even sure I’ve addressed the real problem with these few words. But I am worried about these gaps between us. In an increasingly more densely populated world, it makes for a volatile and dangerous situation.
And that is not in anyone’s best interest.