Originally Posted by Dien Rice
Around 25 years ago, I was living in Berkeley (near San Francisco) - I was visiting for six months, as a postgrad student...
Anyway, I came across a homeless guy, who was having a philosophical conversation with some people. It was clear to me, he was quite bright...
I listened in, and was impressed. Afterwards, I dug around in my wallet, and gave him what (for me at the time, as a student) was a substantial amount of money...
He was grateful, and he said come with me, so I followed him.
First we went to a place where he bought a bottle of alcohol. Then he went and found a friend of his, and gave him some of the money I had given to him (I think repaying back a loan)...
Then we got some pizza.
The impression I got was, this was not a dumb guy. But sadly, he was an alcoholic. If he could get over his alcoholism, I felt he would be probably reasonably successful in life...
I never saw him again after that night. I hope he did okay.
I feel not all homeless people are like the stereotype... I don't know all the answers, but no doubt some have the capability to get out of their situation, and get back on their feet - and there can be hope...
Just felt like sharing!
Let me further open up this can of worms, OK? Because you have some things we should consider.
First, your hope that he is OK.
OK means what? Now not picking on just you, but we all have our own ideas about what is SUCCESS.
And I might (well, actually am) argue he was a success at what he did.
That made without judgement. And there is the rub.
Is the poor guy living in public housing, collecting food stamps and buying cheap beer more successful than this BUM?
Which then, by comparison ladders, means the middle class guy, the upper class guy (by income measurements) and the TRUMP like guys are the WINNERS.
The billionaires are the top of the pyramid, the eagles nest on the mountaintop of human achievement. So Bezos, Trump and Zuckerberg, are the beacons of hope on the shores of success while the rest of the world floats in ocean of despair.
Of course, the Mother Theresa types exist, those of self sacrifice and service to humanity, but then, our take on that is also an exercise in judgement, is it not?
Those who see the short video of the sign guy may take it at face value, lacking any concept or understanding of the intent and purpose. And may even feel sympathy for his plight and they, like you, would do what The BOZ did and offer up a moment of refreshment.
If you had encountered Russell Thomas on the streets of San Francisco, mid 70's, you would have taken him for a bum too. He came from a wealthy family and gave that up during his quest for a more truthful life, to him.
Alcohol, drugs, religion and money are the addictions we've created to deal with the harshness and realities of life.
But is an addiction to being rich ala TRUMP any less destructive than the guy with a pint of Pagan pink in his pocket in the back alley?
Bums are bums. And some of them are very successful at being bums, be it from a White House or from the sidewalks and skid rows of modern America.
I think the man you encountered is OK, perhaps we should worry more about the bums in charge, eh?
PS Yes, aware of the judgement made. It is in our nature to do so.