‘There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money, either.’

‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’ – Margaret Mead

For all of you who have been tuning into Channel Four to watch Indian Winter, I’m sure you’ll know what this is about. Recently, I have realised that our world is never happy. Place food, water, shelter and warmth in someone’s midst and they want more. A laptop… a new car. External add-ons. Which, let’s face it, we don’t necessarily need in order to live. If troglodytes did exist, what’s not to say that we are unable to live civilly in the 21st Century without these unnecessary possessions?

What I’m trying to say is that, recently, I’ve noticed how greedy some people can be; although certain individuals have the loveliest, coolest exterior, you know all they’re thinking is, ‘money, money, money.’ Before I burst into song, I’d better carry on…

I’ve come to realise the main, vast difference between the East and the West: whereas the West are materialistic, possessive and avaricious, the East are so much more at ease with everything; they have the basics and they don’t need more. This idea is even reflected in religions, whereby all religions stemming from the West are ones which believe in a God – something higher than ourselves – that is ‘possessive’ of us, so to speak. This differs from Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Jainism, who help teach you moral rights in order to gain something which only you can gain yourself, a concept that is in no way related to money. Whereas the Eastern religions mentioned talk about reincarnation/rebirth, there are no parts of the Bible, or else the Tenakh, which promote these ideas, thus ensuing the ‘correct’ religion even more urgent in this lifetime, ergo more people opt for Christianity. However, that said, there has been word that some parts of the New Testament have simply been removed because they hint at reincarnation, which would lead to Christians being able to sit back and relax for this lifetime – whilst not paying a penny through offering plates! – and live life better the next chance they get (this theory can be viewed here). Anyway, the point of this blog was not to waffle on and move off topic, yet I always seem to manage it! The reincarnation in Christianity theory must be saved for another rainy day…

The idea that I put forth as to the East and West is reiterated in the fact that even in the heart of Japan, crime rates are at their lowest; if one was to drop a top of the range mobile phone on the pavement and it miraculously doesn’t break (I know, it always sounds like I have this vendetta against technology, and, frankly, sometimes I do – I find it proposterous that we’ve become so dependent on it all, yet here I am, typing away on a laptop with my mobile phone perched on the bed right next to me!), if another individual sees this item, their first thought isn’t regarding the best way to inconspicuously grab it, instead it is a much calmer approach – something along the lines of, ‘I must put that luxury good on a higher surface, so as to keep it out of harm’s way.’ And that they do. I find that beautiful. In less economically developed countries (even India’s biggest slum, Dharavi!), crime rate lowers… Amazing.

Which is why I’m so passionate about the East, even though I live in the West – to be honest, I’d much rather be a part of somewhere which is not only less harmful for the body, but also for the mind. So here’s a quote to end this blog, from ‘Shantaram,’ the book I’m caught up in the midst of now, ‘The slums went on, and their sheer ubiquity wore down my foreigner’s pieties… and everywhere that I looked, people smiled and laughed.’

I think that sums it all up, really…

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