To approach the Essay it is first necessary to understand what is luxury in life.
It is only by exploring the idea of luxury , we can associate luxury to poverty.
What qualifies as luxury ?
Items of luxury are a delight to the senses. A gold necklace, comfortable Mercedes Benz to travel, kobe beef steak are all items of luxury and so are they a delight to our eyes, skin and tongue respectively.
Once experienced the senses crave for an experience that is more luxurious. There is no end to luxury.
Every temporary satisfaction would only produce a new set of expectations. The senses would want to be pampered even more.
This sets in a cycle in which a man always is wanting something.
This state of impoverishment of mind is the result of his constant ‘want’ to satisfy his senses.
The perception that something is a luxury is based on the premise of unsatisfied wants , otherwise known as a state of poverty.
The next focus of the Essay is to understand what is contentment and how can it be a great wealth?
Contentment arises out of the fulfilment of one’s needs.
“We were only born with needs but slowly in our lives we have acquired a great number of wants.“
While a simple bowl of soup would satisfy a man who is hungry, even an assortment of the choicest desserts would not fulfil the taste of the man.
“Hunger is physical and real whereas the sensation of taste is psychological and imaginary.”
Real needs can be satisfied but such imaginary tastes do not have an end.
Wanting to experience new tastes keeps on sprouting as soon as the old taste bores us. Just one taste can never be enough for a human being. A man is thus impoverished for want of many different tastes.
A man who has become a slave of his senses becomes unable to differentiate between his needs and wants. He loses judgment on what is his real ‘need’ and what are his imaginary ‘wants’
If we know how to differentiate between needs and wants , that would be a great relief. Needs such as food,clothing and shelter are all physical. It is easy to fulfil one’s need
A man becomes contented as soon his needs are fulfilled.
This contentment in life can propel him to explore the mysteries of nature, to create a piece of art and to relish life on earth. It is this contentment that makes man a human being. This is a wealth that nobody can deprive him of.