Is Being A Good Person Subject to Privileges?

I do not think there is anything more bothering than the fact that being a good person is correlated with privileges or at least not equally achievable for everyone. I was ignorantly surprised to see studies showing a negative correlation between wealth and morality, more money leading to less empathy. That is understandable with the wolf of wall street syndrome. But on the other hand, wealth creates an inequality of potential to become one to start with.

From an essentialist perspective, there is a base of your character. But, where you take this base is also highly dependent on your privileges. When you do not have economical or physical concerns, then you have time, energy, and tools to work on yourself. That does not mean that all the people with inherited or acquired privileges are genuinely good, but you automatically have more chances of becoming one, -if you want to. All these popular self-development stuff: -meditation, mindfulness, reading, focusing on a better version of yourself, workouts, healthy eating, yoga, spiritualism, or even enjoying art, following your passion are much easier for privileged ones. But when you have more major concerns like your job’s stability, having a shelter, health, how to feed your children, then good luck with your personal development.

I know it is very hard to guess though. What you will go through, things you have may lead you to totally different points. Sometimes going through a difficult experience makes some people more compassionate while it can also create a cruel personality. It is probably the same for prosperity. There are potentially infinite factors and variants, your essential character being just one of them. But just the bare fact that wealth is also a significant factor of this journey is quite bothering.

Is there anything that can be done about it? In this pessimistic picture, there is at least one bright angle that gives me hope. With the digital and social media revolution, information is becoming much more accessible and more importantly easily consumable. There is a huge variety of content, lots of people to follow if you want to pursue any kind of personal development path or widen your vision. This is probably the best thing digital mediums bring to our lives: -equality in people’s access to information and ease of access. If we put eco-chambers aside, you can learn any topic, get exposed to new perspectives, a much broader range of opinions. Therefore, this is taking a bit of a burden from the system to individuals.

If we could put echo chambers aside… Unfortunately, we cannot in reality. In the name of relevancy, digital platforms are creating echo chambers that you have only exposed to what you already and potentially your friends like or are interested in. And this keeps you in your bubble comfortably. Add our confirmation bias to this, you can live in your bubble forever. Furthermore, chambers are molding people in a way that they are thinking, talking, living more and more alike, just like they start looking alike more. Therefore it is hard to tell if this ease of access is helping or harming, but I still believe it is the light at the end of the tunnel. With the right algorithms and system structure in the right hands, there is still hope that digital can potentially be a game-changer here.

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