To understand our current sins of earth-savaging, overconsuming, and overpopulating, we.
have to look at facts that are, like the sun, too painful for our direct gaze. Instinctively we look.
"The poverty of the poor is their ruin," says the Book of Proverbs. And the ruin is not just.
material. Poverty rapes and kills the spirit of the poor. We underestimate its complexity and.
cruelty. There are four dimensions of poverty: .
(1) Material limit. Poverty does mean a lack of material necessities. For the one billion people in.
"absolute poverty," the most basic essentials are critically lacking and death is fastening its grip on.
them. Note, too, that fewer than 3 billion people could eat as we eat, i.e. on a North American.
diet. We are almost 3 billion beyond that now. Limits have already been passed. .
(2) Poverty strips the human spirit of its two indispensable prerequisites, the two things we cannot.
do without. They are, I submit, respect and hope. The opposite of respect is insult and, as.
Aristotle said, insult is the root of all rebellion. Respect is the recognition that our humanity is.
valued at its worth, that others recognize that humanity is a shared glory and our possession of it.
is acknowledged. Poverty turns the goodness of the world into a taunt for it denies the poor the.
ecstasy of life that is their birthright. It is galling and killing to be so disvalued. .
Insult is treatment that implicitly denies that we matter. African-Americans in the United States,.
for example, eat insult with their daily bread. As law professor Derrick Bell says, there is no white.
person in this country who at some level does not think blacks to be inferior, and there is no black.
person who does not know that and resent it. Given the persistent record, the same could be said.
for the often subterranean but ever active belief of men that women are inferior and that their.
disempowerment is the law of nature. Women have noticed this and felt the stigmatizing pain.