I need to step back a moment from the progression of this contemplation to clarify or define in some clear way who are the poor to whom I am referring so in case anyone reads these contemplations we are contemplating the same people. The only way I can make sure we have the same meaning of “the poor” is by exemplifying how I use that word and its usefulness to me. As I tried to clarify in other essays, though it is a good start to define the poor workers simply in terms of material poverty or as wage slaves, this is a very narrow view of reality. Many of the poor in the United States would be considered well-off materially in many other places in the world. Somewhere in the world, on average, every 15 seconds a child dies of preventable diseases including many resulting from malnutrition or contaminated food or water. Furthermore, qualitatively, as every historical study of the issue confirms, measuring relative to the material quantity or economies of their respective times or era, there is little material difference between the lives of workers stuck as wage slaves their whole lives in modern Technological Society and the lives of chattel slaves in past societies. It is still true as it has been true for much of the past millennia that 1% of the world still control approximately 80% of the world’s material wealth; we are all materially better off because the 100% is so much larger. There is still a lot of material and physical poverty in life but this concept of the poor is incomplete.
It is easy to start with a material definition of the poor, but it is a mistake to define or connote the poor solely in terms of material or physical poverty. This type of definition relying completely on material poverty is not my definition nor is it the definition of Western theology when it says that we will always have the poor among us by which they mean both the materially poor and what they consider to be the spiritually poor. It is usually not even the definition used by atheists or other non-religious, at least not for those who have the empathy to go beyond their own delusional will-to-power to declare God dead so that they can replace Him with whatever new god they want to worship — because they lack the courage to rebel and reject God honestly. Good existential writers such as Kierkegaard, Camus, Dostoevsky, Herman Melville, and many other writers include among the poor those destined to have lives of powerless absurdity. Good existential writers are able to empathize with such a state of affairs. However, my concept of the poor is better brought out by considering how bad existential writers describe the lives of those who live in absurdity — bad existential writers such a Frederick Nietzsche and Jean-Paul Sartre and his girlfriend Simone de Beauvoir.
Consider the story of Nietzsche and the Turin horse. Supposedly toward the end of his life, Nietzsche was in Turin, Italy when he happened to see the driver of a horse drawn wagon whipping a horse to get it going. Nietzsche was so moved by this scene that he ran to the horse, hugged it around the neck, and started crying. His friends and family members had to physically force him from the horse; he had an emotional breakdown; and he then spent the remainder of his life in his mother’s apartment being cared after by his mother and his sister. The moral of this story according to the loving readers of Nietzsche is to establish what a sensitive person Nietzsche was and thus by implication show the subtlety and sensitivity of his writings and thus the subtlety and sensitivity of his loving readers. Yeah, right; why did not Nietzsche or his loving readers ever ask what happened to the horse and driver? Like Nietzsche, did they go on to spend the rest of their lives cared for by their mother? The movie Turin Horse by the Hungarian director Bela Tarr asks this question and his answer is they went to work and continued to work the rest of their lives. The driver and the workers are the poor of my question. Nietzsche and his loving ethically superior Dorian Gray worshipers are the rich.
Technological Society has replaced the horse by mechanical devices and thus has saved millions of horses from living a life of struggle serving humanity by denying them life since we no longer need horses. However, Technological Society did not do the same for the wagon driver; they are now Uber drivers and the struggle of life and class struggle continues as it must for history to continue.
Sartre in his Being and Nothingness describes inauthentic and authentic living as a dialectic of freedom. As an example of inauthentic or bad faith living, he describes a waiter who is “play acting” at being a waiter. He is not complaining the waiter is being too patronizing, phony, or fake such as being overly polite and flattering to get tips but is actually complaining that the waiter is being too good at being a waiter. According to Sartre, being a waiter is just a social construct. It is not really what anyone really is and one should not see their self-identity or identify as being a waiter. According to Sartre, identifying oneself as being a good waiter is an means to deny one’s freedom; it is a means to replace authentic self-identity with a social construct because one is afraid of the freedom to be whatever they want to be. Thus, finding meaning in life as a really good waiter is an inauthentic life.
For Sartre and for many of his existential followers, the waiter is denying his freedom by trying to become a social construct. What Sartre is actually exemplifying — as did his girlfriend Beauvoir — is “play acting” at being a philosopher. If the waiter had the luxury to do so, the waiter most likely would live authentically writing pretend philosophy books while sitting in cafes drinking wine with his other writer friends and his girlfriend ridiculing those who are trying to do their job of serving them as best they can. Problem is the waiter does not have that option, he must work for a living and see meaning in that work. The waiter is the poor; Sartre, his girlfriend, and their worshipers are God’s beloved.
As I contemplated in other essays, as Wittgenstein’s Private Language Argument brings out, there really is no such thing as self-identity defined by a private language of an individual person. Language is a social construct and thus once we leave areas of pragmatical truth such as science, all descriptions are social descriptions not private ones. The poor and the workers who are the poor in my question do not have a choice of “self-identity”; they are what society says they are. They can fight against their social identity and try to change it but it is a fight they will lose and must lose because they do not control the strategy, tactics, armament, or the field of battle. Society and those who rule it control those and must. The Powers are those who have the power to control what ought to be and what ought to be said about what ought to be. Sartre and others like him have the power to define the waiter as inauthentic, play acting, or whatever normative description they have the power to make; the waiter is stuck with what life gave him. The Powers construct their own social identity and then like Sartre look upon hoi polloi around them as cowards who lack the courage to live authentically after having defined what it means to live authentically.
Thanks to the material progress provided by science and technology, we are likely to reach a point in the foreseeable future where material and physical poverty will not exist. Everyone will have the basics necessary for materially and physically having a healthy individual life and perhaps with only robots instead of other humans as servants. This future will result from the past suffering of billions of dead souls — approximately 15 souls for each one of us presently living. Is such future happiness worth the price paid by those dead souls? As Camus and Dostoevsky specifically write, who would dare to assert that eternal happiness can compensate for a single moment of human suffering? The same question can be posed for human happiness in this life. These writers used the example of suffering babies and children and even of purely innocent beasts of burden such as donkeys, mules, and horses who from birth are destined to live lives of struggle for their human masters and then die a lonely death as the lonely animals they are. Dostoevsky’s description of a man beating a horse to death in Crime and Punishment and of the hunting dogs killing a child in his book The Brothers Karamazov are examples that are hard to forget. If these books are too long, try the short stories of George Orwell such A Hanging, Shooting an Elephant, and Makaresh dealing with real-life events that he witnessed. These fictions and stories pale in comparison to real-life tragedy such as the siege of Stalingrad. The Powers of this future will accept happiness based on such a price. More likely, just as social justice warriors do now, they will accept their happiness not upon unity with the past or with a sense of loyalty to their fifteen souls but upon a Dorian Gray sense of moral superiority condemning the past as if it was made up of human idiots and assuming they could have done much better.
Are the Powers-that-be willing to accept the massacre of innocents as the price to pay for their eternal happiness? Yes, they are. That is why they are the Powers-that-be. The Powers build their happiness upon the past even when condemning the past so as to control the future: to control what ought to be to make a world in their image. The poor are those that cannot accept such a deal or are not allowed to do so or not even given the choice to do so.
Do not get me wrong. I am not ridiculing such a future. Personally, the so-called dystopia of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is a better world than we have now and better than most of the world that I have seen during my life. Given a choice between being materially rich but spiritually poor or being materially poor but spiritually rich, in my experience most people that have known physical poverty would choose being physically rich over spiritual richness. The reality of life is that money can buy love and happiness both in this life and in the next, but on its own love will only get you hate as the love/hate coin flips. However, this brave new world of the future for which my ancestors and I have fought and struggled to achieve, is it really worth what it took to get there? Does not seem worth it right now. The price for ending physical and material poverty seems to be workers who have lost the will to fight and are viewed as inauthentic waiters by those who also lost the will to fight but do not need to fight.
This is the substance of the problem and the nature of the definition of being poor and hated by God. God so hates the poor that the rules of the card game are set so that either the poor must endure the absurd meaninglessness of no physical and material power over their lives or endure the meaninglessness of a lack of a will to power for their lives while the chosen few Powers-that-be enjoy both material and normative power not only over their lives but over the lives of the poor. For most of humanity, it is either material poverty or spiritual poverty. It is one or the other. This is free will? This is worse than no choice at all. In the future, the poor will be defined not by material poverty but by a poverty of will; it will still be poverty.
God can do whatever He wants. She is doing it. So why does it bother me? Is it really envy that is my problem as the Bible says in the Parable of the Workers? Is it what Nietzsche called resentment: the herd’s envy of their betters? Should I just accept my fate in life? This is the final issue that I must face in defining and clarifying who are the poor in my question of why does God hate the poor.