Knowledge is Power.  G-dly Knowledge is Super Power.

In Yesterday’s WSJ they featured a study printed in the Journal Social influence with the startling conclusion; materialistic people are more selfish AND even more so, just being near luxury, will make you more selfish.

Three different experiments were conducted which all showed the same conclusion.

The people conducting this experiment went to a “super super fancy street” in Paris. In the first test they placed a woman in a leg brace who “needed” help with something she dropped. Only 35% of people offered to help versus 77% of the people on the regular street of stores.

In the second experiment they placed a lady in a wheelchair being pushed by a friend. The friend asked passerby’s to watch the lady while the friend went to fetch a cell phone forgotten behind. Only 23% of the people on the rich luxurious street and 82% on the regular street of stores accepted the request to stand by and watch the lady in the wheel chair.

In the third test, they tried three different locations. In front of the high end luxurious stores, on the street in front of regular stores, and the third location was on a regular street with no stores. They had someone ask passerby’s to lend their cell phone to make a call. 41%, 63%, and 74% respectively loaned their phone for the call.

The take home of the study. Materialism increases selfishness and a lack of regard for other people, and there is a severe and precarious price to pay for this.

There are people who are raised with the mentality that life is all about me. Everyone is living for me, since me is most important, at least for me. And at the same time they view everyone else as living with the same attitude as themselves, and therefore, the world is a dog eat dog world where the strongest, smartest dog wins. Pretty competitive, narcissistic, and ruthless.

I was watching a (liberal minded) TV show in Hebrew out of Israel presenting “Ultra” (as in high grade gasoline, only used for the best engines race cars :-) Orthodox women, averaging 8-9-10 children and some having 15-16-17 children!!

The show was being somewhat sarcastic at this phenomenon. The broadcaster was saying that some of these women have not experienced one straight night of sleep in 20 years! And that some of them looked forward to having another baby just so they can have one-night sleep in the hospital and get served their food on a “plastic” platter.

It doesn’t matter that study upon study has shown that when people are on their last breaths of life, no one is sorry for having that many children, and countless are regretful they didn’t have more. It also doesn’t matter that these women themselves consider themselves blessed and fortunate to have that many children.

The broadcaster was so adamant in his negativity regarding these women that he asked, is there anything wrong with people who believe something is a blessing and are living a content life when it is “obvious” they have it wrong.

The essential and basic difference between the study in the WSJ and these baby producing women is a fundamental difference in viewing life and the world.

The “Ultra’s” see life as having a greater meaning than just self. They are an important wheel in a greater picture, and they are more fulfilled personally when fulfilling this mission and greater purpose. When connected to this greater purpose, they have the comradery and dedication from all the like-minded people in this world. They are available for others, as the others are available for them.

Incidentally as I write this article, there was a study in Japan where people where living to well into their nineties and 100 years and more. The study determined, the main reason for longevity was the genuine lifelong friendships and community type lifestyle enjoyed and experienced by the people of that Island.

Large families have the help and support of each other, the lifecycle events of each other they can all enjoy and participate in, with each other. It’s a life filled with action, not a dull moment.

The people on the “super super rich” street in Paris, who according to the study were more selfish than the others, I would bet (and I have counseled many of them myself) are probably more depressed, have gone through more divorces, live more loneliness than any of the “Ultras”.

I agree, the streets on the super-rich streets are probably cleaner, sharper and glitzier than the other streets.

The question most people must answer and have the courage to live with. Will I choose form over substance? Do I choose a life of meaning and greater purpose or one of immediate selfish gratification? Do I leave the world better off and more enriched that I was born, or a world that dies when I die?