“Diogenes said that no labor was good, unless the end purpose was courage and strength of the soul.”
It is better to be a poor person who lives in a culturally rich society than to be a rich person in a culturally vulgar society.
One uplifts and trains the soul to reality and hardship, the other damns the soul to tartarus on a silk barge of illusory luxury. One toughens and teaches, the other eases and coos and panders. The culturally rich and monetarily poor person is educated in the life of different castes and fates, learning the necessity of lesser-of-two-evils decision-making, the cruelty of nature, and the sacrifice required in ennobling goals. The monetarily rich are twisted and warped in a world of protected illusion, distant from humanity by degrees of wealth and the radius of circling parasites and succubi.
Cultural enrichment has its own metaphysical currency which is completely ignored by modern society. A culturally wealthy society filled with inherited wisdom and beauty can have an innate benefit to the soul, as wisdom and beauty can incur permanent pyscho-spiritual transformation, which elevates the soul towards divinity. This is not an easy path, it is a path for the hardy and the brave.
The trappings of wealth make even the remotest privation and hardship the subject of manic fear. Money has only temporal value, it can have the power to leverage the impoverished and the self-sufficient towards an end, but it can only view it’s own ends from a distant and parallel vantage, and has no true creative agency of its own. If it is used wisely it can provide patronage in the correct directions, but no wealthy man has been wise who was not also a realist, one who sought out discomfort and challenge to mitigate his wealthy comforts. When wealth itself (along with comfort) is placed above tradition and self-sufficiency, a great metaphysical (and soon after physical) imbalance occurs.
To place the acquisition of money above the cultivation of beauty and wisdom must be considered a tremendous evil, as it is a faster track to weakness, dependency, cultural degradation, and community dissolution than war or plague (paradoxically!). It may give a pleasure to the flesh which is impermanent and temporal, but that flesh soon becomes flush with fat, needy and sensitive, while the soul fades darkly, and loses itself in a hunger and impoverishment to become a lilting shade – a slave to the worried stomach.
There is no proper life without striking a balance between the spiritual and physical. Goal-oriented action supersedes wage slavery and wealth-worship, and privation is raw experience. For the life of ease has little wisdom, as it views the battlefield from a safe tower, emotionless and safe.
A culture which sacrifices wealth (as needed) to safeguard these mores is a healthy one, one with a future.