ElitismNovember 19, 2009 at 12:41 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments
What makes a person elitist?
Is it wrong?
I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot over the last few weeks. I’ve been writing about it. I’ve shot some arrows over the bow that struck where I didn’t intend. I want to get some sleep tonight so I thought I would write a little apologia pro vita sua.
I was born to teen parents and raised in poverty, violence, filth, hunger, and ignorance. I didn’t like it. Fortunately, both my parents are readers and the city library relocated two blocks from our leaky-roof, firetrap apartment shortly after I learned to read. Books literally saved my life and taught me to live like a person. There is nothing that matters more to me than the transformative power of literacy.
Several books I read in my teens and twenties taught me about the idea of intentional living. Every day should count as your last. You should feel like you are making the most of every minute. My passion for self improvement spills over onto others. It’s cost me some friendships, but it’s made me others. A few months ago, a casual acquaintance thanked me for a conversation about money management that convinced her she wouldn’t have to take a second job. My husband says I saved his life. Being in my circle is probably at least half annoying, but I hope that the rewarding half makes up for it.
I am and am not an elitist. I work hard to live my beliefs and keep pushing myself to be as authentic as possible, and I feel this dedication is rewarding, though sometimes austere. I feel sick and empty when I do things that later feel trivial or less valuable than other things I knew I could have been doing. I believe in my heart that there’s no point to doing certain things, because that time is irreplaceable. This makes me an elitist, sure. Yet I like to think I appreciate the privileges in my life, having traveled so far to reach them. I could never look another being in the eye and think, You are worth less than me. It’s my religion. My elitism is about a belief in absolute standards of quality – it is not about relative worth of individual people. It is my hope that I can help others learn to enjoy the things I have and suck out as much value from them as I have.