Poverty and Happiness

Ethiopian Philosophy

I know that our heart is always in the hand of God; it is possible for God to make us happy and content if we are in difficulties, poverty and sickness; again it is possible for him to make us miserable even if we live in wealth and all the luxuries of this world. Hence we see every day poor and wretched people enjoying the bliss of their heart; but the rich and the kings are sad and depressed in their riches, because of their limited desire. (Treatise of Zera Yacob, chapter 10)

When I spent a couple of months in Ethiopia, I was struck by the fact that when people have little or nothing, they need each other. As a result, they have tightly-knit communities, and they help each other out. When someone came into money, he shared it with his friends. I found this awkward:…

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