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True Abundance Involves Giving

November 23, 2000

I was struck by the bizarre placement of two articles Nov. 13: "The Inclusive Prep School" and "A Language Rich in Definitions of Luxury." Both articles explicitly describe what "blessed" individuals do with their talents and riches, but implicitly, each article asks difficult questions: How to expend our resources of money, talent and time?

What kind of a world would result if the amount of wealth spent on luxury items such as Harry Winston jewelry, as described in "Luxury," was put into educating children like those in East Palo Alto, as Chris Bischof and Helen Kim are doing, described in "Prep School"?

According to one of the articles, people spend luxuriously large amounts to simplify their lives or gain status or experience novelty. I wonder what, if any, positive outcome results from these spending sprees.

Is it the human condition to favor self-gratification over that of assisting others? Capitalism, as an economic system and modern-day religion, teaches us to choose materialistic riches and short-term self-gratification over spiritual growth and contribution to our communities. I hope there are more Helen Kims and Chris Bischofs out there. I am awed by the choices they have made.

LIZ PODOLINSKY

Santa Barbara

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