Someone, somewhere on this earth at sometime must have lived a long life that was relatively free of upset or misadventure. Statistically I suppose it's possible, to get through this world without much incident, to take all the right paths, rarely venturing down a wrong one.
Their days must have been quite agreeable to them, their years on earth offering them little but hearty meals, good fellowship, or perhaps decades spent in splendid isolation, a contented life lived far from jealous eyes and the sorrows of men.
If anyone in the history of the world has actually has managed to live from cradle to tomb without much insult or injury, without the tears and disillusionment and heartbreak that is life's confirmed international currency, don't you think they would owe the rest of us an explanation?
Wouldn't it behoove them to tell us how they did it? How they dodged the Shakespearean slings and arrows that befall most mortal men (and women)?
Wouldn't it give you heartburn or worse, now that you think of it, to listen to such a person outline the nature and extent of their enormous good luck?
“I was born into fortunate circumstances,” their autobiography might begin. “My parents were kind or well to do, my childhood was a blur of toys and nannies, in adolescence I learned that my ship had already come in.”
It would help to be rich because on earth is always does. We are more inclined to be impressed by the rich, to believe what they tell us, to fawn over their little life decisions, and to tell the less well off to be quiet in their presence.
In this world good fortune seems to follow the already fortunate around. Doors open as though by magic, appointments are always granted, their smallest concerns are carefully attended to. That doesn't happen so much to the poor, so I have to assume that if you're enjoying a life that isn't attended by much regret or pain you are more likely to be minted.
But what sort of person would you become, I wonder? If you never learned the gulf between what you want and what was possible? If the world refused to yield to your iron will?
Would other people be able to talk to you about their hard luck or their broken dreams? More to the point, would you ever be able to listen to them? Since the thickets that their lives got lost in would mean nothing to you, who had simply traversed a long road that led wherever you desired it to.
There is often a striking callousness that you can observe in the ordinarily successful. There's a sort of missing quality, a light that's turned off.
The richest people that you encounter on earth will often act as if they are unaware of the misfortune of others because at some point in their long journey they lost genuinely sight of most others, but not themselves.
Paths diverge, people diverge, stories diverge, opportunities do too. When you buy a scratch card and win a fortune the life ahead of you will not be the life you left behind.
What the world considers good fortune changes people, their circumstances and their futures. You were one place and now you are somewhere else, and we change how we perceive you and we change how we approach you and we change how we talk about you and we change what we offer or withhold. Few things hypnotize us like other people's great good luck, after all.
I've been thinking a lot about good fortune lately, about the unexpectedly horrific results that a relatively painless life lived free from the besetting claims of others can produce, a life that is mostly your own, mapped out on your own terms and funded by your own large fortune.
I've been thinking about the way that lifelong good luck can ultimately distort richer experience, how it can close rather than open us up, how the agreed upon riches of this world can actually offer us a near total and lifelong escape from its deeper lessons.
I have been thinking that to be such a fortunate man can come at an enormous cost to the education of one's heart and soul. How it can distort rather than discipline. How it can make small rather than generous.
Enormous privilege can deliver you the keys to the world, or to the White House even. But then your cosseted life can make you the sort of person that misses the bigger picture, the sort of person who grumbles about the poor state of the curtains the Oval Office.
They should be fancy you say, because you are fancy. Once they look nice that'll be all that matters.