Waiting for Meaning, by Marlene Dumas
While residents of wealthy nations tend to have greater life satisfaction, new research shows that those living in poorer nations report having greater meaning in life. (source)
This fails to surprise me. Here’s my explanation:
The poor live within an insulated bubble of meaning and ignorance, and you lose both when that bubble is popped by the needle of education (and optionality).
The future may see a small elite that runs the world by providing a stable and peaceful infrastructure, a religion, and ample distractions to keep the masses happy. They could even provide periodic “evidence” of the religion through actual angels being caught on camera, “miracles” being worked by a messiah figure, etc.
What’s a couple of billion being spent on an elaborate Hollywood trick that convinces 20 billion people that their religion is true—thus validating their meaningful lives?
Those who learn enough to break free of the illusion are whisked away to another small continent to live a more troubled, enlightened life so that they do not disturb the masses on their still pond of illusory meaning.
If I wrote short stories based on future (dys|u)topias, this would be one of them.
[ Feb 26, 2019 — I now think this comes down to struggle being a powerful and unifying source of meaning. ]