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No Statistics for Inner Poverty

December 17, 2016


addicted.jpegMost of us are beggars 
and feel-good junkies, 
addicted to society 
to make us happy.

"They are but beggars that can't count their own worth."
― with apologies to William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

by Henry Makow Ph.D.
(Updated and revised from May 18, 2014)

Excellent records are kept for material poverty.  

For example, 16% of Americans live below the poverty line: $24K for a family of four. This includes almost 20% of American children.

However, a more serious epidemic is sweeping the nation: inner poverty. 

While I estimate  95% of the population lives below the spiritual poverty line, this squalor garners absolutely no attention.

Inner poverty is a spiritual vacuum at the core of our being. Its symptoms are a sense of emptiness, sadness, meaninglessness and lack of direction. It's like the soul has gone AWOL.

What do people want? 

We want to feel good 

How do we know if we are spiritually impoverished? The good feeling doesn't come from within, from the soul. We need the world to make us feel good. We´re addicted to getting "fixes" like drug addicts. (This the source of all addiction.)


Love or sex addiction. We catch a glimpse of a beautiful creature in the distance and imagine a life of bliss together if only...  We see a couple strolling hand-in-hand and feel envious..

Stinginess. Why are so many well-off people so stingy? They feel poor.

Schadenfreude.  We derive some satisfaction or comfort from the misfortune of others.

sflike.jpg(left, Sally Field)

We desperately seek recognition, acceptance and encouragement to feel good. This may take the form of sales, "likes," followers," "smiles,' or hits. 
One young friend was despondent because he texted three girls about "hanging out" and none replied.

Money makes us euphoric or miserable. We measure our day in terms of how much we made or lost. Another friend was burned up because potential clients were waffling.  He had done work on spec for a client who wasn't even answering his emails.

We've been programmed to be beggars, feel-good junkies, addicted to the world to make us happy.

As a result, we feel like beggars. How can we stop?


Beggar behavior is habitual. These habits are ingrained, programmed by society, and very difficult to change.

The key to not feeling like a beggar is to stop acting like one

Check your stocks just once a day instead of every five minutes.

If you can't do this, sell them all. Thoreau said, "We are rich in the number of things we can let alone."

Check your email or Face Book just 2-3 times a day.

Give. Encouragement. Money. Help. People in beggar-mode never give. Giving destroys this programming.

Mortify yourself to the world. 

In religious terms, this means renounce the world. You refuse to gain your primary happiness from any other source but God, i.e. your soul connection.

solitude.jpegYou become indifferent to praise or blame except your own. It's funny that we value other peoples' opinion, but not our own. We make so much effort to gain respect from others, and so little effort earning our own. We need to learn to make ourselves feel good. Enjoy your Self. What an art that is! 

We've been programmed to deny ourselves and conform to others. We have been programmed to disdain ourselves, to feel inadequate.

Whether by constant prayer, meditation or by repeating affirmations, we need to reprogram ourselves. The mind is like a steering wheel. If we don't control it, someone else will.

 We get a temporary thrill when the world puts a nickel in our cup, but the mind soon needs another "fix."  

The organ of "feeling" is the soul, not the mind. The soul is the entity that hears the thoughts. Our feelings usually correspond to thoughts. If we still the mind, as in meditation, we can experience the soul. Thus, the soul should determine the thoughts, not the world. Think uplifting thoughts. That's what faith is about. Nourish the soul.


The key is submitting mind to soul. We need to transfer our sense of self from the thoughts to the soul. Soul is the real Self. Soul, our connection to God, is our real identity.

We need to be Self-possessed. Self-controlled. Self-directed. Self-motivated. Self-sufficient. i.e. God-centered. By Self, I mean soul, not ego. Loving God is really loving your own essence.
Denying God is denying ourselves.

People will treat you like you treat ("serve") your Self, our true identity and path.

Beyond the necessities, we don't need anything from the world. If we live within our means, we can turn our focus inward and experience our Divine inheritance.

Note: Those interested in learning more about this approach can check out Eckhart Tolle's YouTubes and books.

Related - Makow - How's Your Inner Beggar? 
-----------------------Thinking is a Bad Habit
----------------------------- Cohabiting With a Monkey

First Comment from Jim:

This is the very reason I closed my Facebook account.

I was very reluctant but my mother badgered me into joining FB, so I did. And it didn't take long for it to consume me.

I would rush home, log in, and read what people said about my latest post... or didn't say.

If there were no comments or 'likes', I was crushed. My day was ruined.

One day I had an epiphany. I had become an attention-seeking whore, or a beggar as you put it. I realized that constant pursuit of everyone's approval, rather than just living my life, was damaging to me.

Certainly, there are times when we need to be affirmed and advised by the people we respect but their opinions shouldn't be the guiding force in our lives.

Scruples - the game of moral dillemas

Comments for "No Statistics for Inner Poverty "

Cheryl said (December 19, 2016):

Interesting article, and I agree with you. I'm a Christian, and that is the message of the Bible, to keep our eyes on the prize, and run our race, stay on the strait path, and don't look back.

The soul is equated to emotions, not rational thought grounded in truth. We are not to follow our emotions -- but rather subject our emotions to our will, and to subject our own will to God, to the Sprit. The mind is the intermediary between the spirit and the soul. We are in the middle, making choices. The soul believes whatever it is told, which is why the Bible is always warning us to humble ourselves, seek the truth, and to guard our hearts and minds. Going against our conscience, our Spirit, will harden our heart, and once we have a hard heart the last thing we want to do is to follow it.

Brendon O'Connell said (December 19, 2016):

Henry, we have exchanged freedom (spiritual/physical) for material safety and security. The bankers encourage at every level gross consumption and debt. Then people feel they are trapped in jobs they despise with people they despise. Marriages fall apart with fighting over money. Children suffer on every level - physical, psychological and spiritual. You have written about this consistently for years - this is a hard core, well planned, satanic, psychological warfare operation conducted by an elite group of deviates, many of whom profess to being Jewish and/or Freemasons. Certainly not limited too them though.

Through websites such as your own, the long process of convincing ordinary people they are under attack begins. Once they know there is a war declared upon them - we can begin the destruction of the enemy. We can start by withdrawing consent and stop buying their crap.

SUGGESTION: Turn off the TV. Also, as you suggest in your article, limit the use of internet and gadgetry. The internet has fulfilled its purpose. It has "seeded" the entire world with information of every kind. We have it stored on our computers. We have it stored on DVD discs. We have all we need. Now I suggest people get to know their neighbor and start talking with people face to face. Start bartering, growing a garden, lobbying government and above all - standing for parliament or congress. But that will take effort and above all time. Now who has time for that? Ah, the bankers win again.

Maybe growing a garden is the first thing people should do.

Nicholas F said (December 18, 2016):

I really enjoyed your article "No Statistics for Inner Poverty".

"Inner poverty" has been a constant issue through the ages, but perhaps is coming to an ugly head in this age of radical narcissism and mass distraction.

Yet, we need to look no further than the ancient church fathers for answers and guidance. For example,

“The world is the general name for all the passions. When we wish to call the passions by a common name, we call them the world. But when we wish to distinguish them by their special names, we call them the passions. The passions are the following: love of riches, desire for possessions, bodily pleasure from which comes sexual passion, love of honour which gives rise to envy, lust for power, arrogance and pride of position, the craving to adorn oneself with luxurious clothes and vain ornaments, the itch for human glory which is a source of rancour and resentment, and physical fear. Where these passions cease to be active, there the world is dead; for though living in the flesh, they did not live for the flesh. See for which of these passions you are alive. Then you will know how far you are alive to the world, and how far you are dead to it” -St Isaac the Syrian (7th Century)

Or perhaps the ancient saying of ascetic Orthodox monks,

we must die
before we die
so that when we die
we don't die

As with the wisdom of Solomon, "There is nothing new under the sun".

Harry said (June 6, 2015):

This reminds of a conversation I had with a nurse.

She said there are two kinds of people from her perspective.

That perspective was looking down on the naked body on the gurney going to the operation.

And she said there are "inseys" and "outseys".

Of course she was referring to the bellybutton.


Thanks Harry

Assume you're referring to inward looking and outward looking


Al Thompson said (June 4, 2015):

Facebook is an incredible time waster. In my circle of family and friends, family feuds are started by one person or the other and they post insulting things about each other. I call it: SchmuckBook lead by that genius Mr. Zuckerputz. One has to be a schmuck to use it especially knowing that every little thing that comes out of your computer is somewhere out there and there's little to no privacy. To put all of your family's information on the "wall" is incredibly stupid. Remember, Mr. Zuckerputz said that the people who post on SchmuckBook are "dumb f**ks." I believe that's the only intelligent thing he's ever said.

Diane said (June 4, 2015):

Television is one of the biggest culprits in reinforcing how little we (supposedly) have. Three weeks ago, I unplugged our family from television and most media. For several days my kids told me they hated me in protest. But then we carefully selected a few shows to watch on animals, especially one show on unique animal friendships (a dog befriends a bunny, for example) and that is all we are watching these days--REAL reality shows on the real world. My kids have forgotten about the other shows they used to ask for. Unplugging from negative and violent shows has definitely helped our family focus a little more on the riches of the "real" world/God's Bounty and more time just hanging out and much less media.

Tony B said (June 4, 2015):

The major cause is called "protestantism." It is a cheap pretense of being Christianity without anything whatsoever of the spiritual or SUPERnatural allowed. It barely rates being humanism. Probably the greatest farce ever dumped on man.

Thomas S said (August 5, 2014):

There was an American Civil War Colonel, a Robert G. Ingersoll, who was perhaps the best known American "freethinker" of the 19th Century. He led a fascinating life, was a prolific writer and speaker, a personal friend of Walt Whitman. He was known in his time as "The Great Agnostic". As you might imagine, he is never discussed in the course of public education. It is well worth the time in my opinion to investigate his life and works. Many of his voluminous works are available for free in various forms on-line. Ingersoll had this to say on dealing with the "self".

“Happiness is not a reward - it is a consequence. Suffering is not a punishment - it is a result.”

as well as...

“Justice is the only worship.
Love is the only priest.
Ignorance is the only slavery.
Happiness is the only good.
The time to be happy is now,
The place to be happy is here,
The way to be happy is to make others so.
Wisdom is the science of happiness.”

Gene said (May 18, 2014):

This is certainly a topic that should be addressed and you have laid a good foundation. This is what I have discovered after being a "beggar" for the vast majority of my 67-years.

Self centered? Kind of yes, kind of no, and in somewhat of a reverse order.

Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is within us and that all men press into it. John said that God is love and that perfectly matches the teachings of Jesus, so the Kingdom of Love is within us and God’s love is what we all crave. Happiness is knowing this and doing something about it. Jesus instructed us on what to do about it in the Gospels.

Unfortunately, we spend most of our time and energy searching for the love of God everywhere, but where it is, within us.

Jesus told us to love our fellowman as ourselves (the Second Commandment missing from the Ten in Exodus) which is the only way to show God that you love him. You can feed, clothe, hug, etc. your fellowman, but you can’t do those things to God. Jesus said that what you do or don’t do to your fellowman is the same as doing it to Jesus/God. There is no better feeling than doing the right thing by your fellowman out of love for your fellowman and that is no accident. Its part of the Kingdom of God/Love within each of us.

The only way to appreciate or realize the Kingdom of God/Love within you is to do things that show your love for your fellowman. The more you love your fellowman, the more you love God whose Kingdom is within you which means the more you love you, and the happier you are not being a "beggar."

This is as abbreviated as I could make it. Hopefully, it makes sense.

Magda said (May 18, 2014):

Hi Henry, a thought provoking article. This inner poverty is indeed an epidemic and many are afflicted with an inability to put the Creator first.

As humans we are afflicted with heedlessness, sins and distractions. I think the journey starts with gratitude and ends with a continued need to please the Creator instead of other humans or even our self.

We should engage in the purification of the soul.

Here is an Islamic perspective:

"And from among mankind there are some who take for themselves (objects of worship as) rivals to Allah, loving them as they should (only) love Allah. And those who believe are stronger in their love for Allah."
(Qur'an, Al-Baqarah 2:165)

-- and

(Poem by a pious predecessor)
You disobey God,
and yet you still claim to love Him.
By God, such behaviour is disgusting,
by any standard!
You would have obeyed Him had your love been true.
For the lover is always obedient to the Beloved!

Marco said (May 18, 2014):

Thank you for the article Mr. Makow, I think it was very good one, and it was timely for me as it was just what I needed to read.

Also, I have been listening to this , and I believe your article compliments it.

Chris said (May 18, 2014):

Hello Henry, I have a few things I would like to add to your argument if I may. I don’t want to sound as if I am tooting my own horn however I am going to be thirty years old this year and the most money I have made annually has been 24,000 back in 2006 working at an alternative medicine manufacturer that has since moved from my county.

Right now I work construction making just a little more than half that amount doing what work my partner and I can find. I have no significant other, no children. I take care of my mother who was widowed back in 2012. I have no facebook, no friends that I normally hang out with other than my neighbors whom I only see from time to time.

Yet somehow we stay fed, the bills are paid, we generally stay warm, and although there is a struggle in a sense of how sometimes things may work out it somehow does, and I don’t have to beg for it, I just work and do as best as I can. May sound bad, however, I have also been able to donate quite a lot to my community, not dollars in so much as labor with experience.

My neighbors have roofs fixed, homes painted, grass mowed, furniture moved, you name it. Last Christmas I was able to buy presents for four children whose parents were unable. I am looking to run for an alderman seat in my municipal government in 2016 and already have a lot of interim support.

Things in a broader sense are incredibly well for me when I take away those things that used to give me that euphoric feeling in our social convention here in America. Like the bar scene, partying at people’s houses, hooking up, being trendy, things like that.

Not only did that help my wallet survive but it over time made me see a greater picture as to what life could be for an individual. Like those folks that stay caught up in the social convention I seriously doubt will leave any sort of legacy behind them when they inevitably die and as for me I am building that with my own hands, perhaps not in the way folks dream as to how success should be but in a way that matters, at my home growing outward.

Now of course I get frustrated, angry, perhaps over my situation but it isn’t any longer the reasons for wanting to succeed no more than gratification or adoration but rather what I know in my mind I can achieve for my community, like businesses, jobs, infrastructure, things like that.

Although I am a long, long ways from being perfect in this practice of acting from the soul in connection with God as I seem to hate from time to time while God continually loves, I can say that following this path has been the best choice that has been made for me because I didn’t initially do it. It was a result of circumstances I thought were terrible that led to this incredible opportunity for me. Perhaps if we all could see a disconnect from this, what I see as a social loop I guess, instead of something that leads to despair but rather an opportunity to reconnect with your own soul then I truly believe life would be better for each of us individually as feelings would not be sought after like a drug but rather an experience in which to analyze, meditate upon, and decide with your own soul as to whether or not you want to continue experiencing.

Thanks for your time, hope some of it makes sense .

Donna said (May 18, 2014):

The self has to be surrendered to God. Otherwise we're worshiping our own reflection (through a 'mirror darkly', even.) Self-worship is the stuff you've been accusing Satanists of. God is Jesus Christ. Jews especially have struggled with this truth, and it's understandable because so-called Christians have tormented your people throughout the centuries for stupid and evil reasons. He is not like religious hypocrites of any religion, however. He is GOOD. If it's not good, it doesn't originate from God.

I think I see a glimmer of hope. I hope it finds you, too.



I am talking about self surrender. I have failed to communicate to you.


Asim said (May 18, 2014):

Your latest article really hit me for 6!!!!! I am definitely a beggar, even though i should not be one. Married to a loving wife with three gorgeous kids, good enough job and religion to boot, i should feel full-but i am not.

I am constantly reminded by my faith in Islam, that this life is merely a transitional stage to the real one-the afterlife, and that the five daily prayers spread throughout the day are there to help me get through the varied obstacles in life.

Yet, i envy those Muslims who show such devotion to God, praying and remaining steadfast; whilst I become increasingly addicted to Netflix, Guillermo Del Toro and the new Star Wars Episode 7!!!!!!! But i think this boils down to a large part in what Freud said- how we live and enjoy our lives is wholly determined by our relationships with our parents, in particular with our mothers.

For me, i set goals for my children. I make sure they live and do things that i could not, educationally, emotionally, and religiously. This helps me steer a clear enough path forward but it is difficult. My faith also helps although I am a weak Muslim at that. One needs to grow and develop around like-minded people, but that in itself is very hard to come by.

Your article is a very poignant reminder of the daily obstacles we face and how life indeed at times can make us feel adrift at sea, the waves constantly pushing us away from the island in the distance.

Ken L said (May 17, 2014):

Your comments about begging for people's approval and "likes" in order to feel good, or even define ourselves, are right on the mark. We cannot find happiness--except from the Source. We are not the Source, for ourselves, or anyone else. God is. Jesus knew this, and it was part of who He was and how He interacted with people when on the earth.

To be free from the manipulating and merchandising power of other people is a wonderful thing. This must include the seemingly positive, as well as the negative manifestations. The truth cannot set us free unless we understand it, accept it, and act on it.

"His strength of moral character and His firmness ever led Him to be true to His sense of duty and to adhere to the principles of right, from which no motive, however powerful, could move Him. Money or pleasure, applause or censure, could not purchase or flatter Him to consent to a wrong action. He was strong to resist temptation, wise to discover evil, and firm to abide faithful to His convictions." --My Life Today, 74

"In the heart of Christ, where reigned perfect harmony with God, there was perfect peace. He was never elated by applause, nor dejected by censure or disappointment. Amid the greatest opposition and the most cruel treatment, He was still of good courage. But many who profess to be His followers have an anxious, troubled heart, because they are afraid to trust themselves with God." --Lift Him Up, 162

JG said (May 17, 2014):

As someone once said, "life happens in between plans". If we have no goals or desire to achieve something we then remain lost. And once we're lost then we look to the "vices" like sex, drugs, and alcohol in order to fill that void within ourselves.

I once heard that "happiness is the byproduct of discipline". All this "self stuff" is counterproductive and just keeps us in chains.True happiness is in giving and not in taking. Spiritual wealth is not material wealth and money never saved anybody's soul.

Robert said (May 17, 2014):

It is obvious that the main tactic of the people who are trying to subvert our culture is to subsume individuality in groups. And certainly we want to develop strong individuals, for groups have no value whatsoever except for the advantages that voluntary association conveys to their members.

But I doubt that concentrating entirely on one's self will prove to be satisfying in the long run. In particular, it is obvious that "self-sufficiency" must always be an illusion. I, at least, have no impression that I am the force sustaining my life. Nor have I created the elements--air, water, hearts, brains, gravity, etc.--in my environment that seem to be essential to this end.

Self-centredness (the Libertarian's Mecca) sounds like a quest to isolate oneself from God. The Christian belief is that we attune ourselves to reality when we are God- centred, and the more we achieve this the more our true personalities, which for most of us take a terrific battering from the culture into which we are born, will spontaneously emerge.

So the big question is what it means to be God-centred. How can any mere man or woman provide an answer? Again, for sentient Christians the answer lies in heeding Jesus, the Son of the Father whose will was perfectly conformed to divine intention, and, using whatever personal assets or attributes we possess, following the example of behavior he set.

I have to laugh thinking of the number of times you must hear things like this, Henry. It obviously doesn't quite click with you. But any person of good intentions who is striving to deal honestly with his fellow men is, regardless of the source of his motivation, acting in a way consistent with the divine order.



I am talking about the same thing as you. Self centered = soul centered = God centered.


Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at