There is evident in our society a quest, and that quest has to do with the four elements I have used as the title to this article, elements that exist in some degree at every level of that society. No matter where you may find yourself presently, you possess greater wealth and power, more influence and prestige than others, and at the same time, there are those who possess more of these elements than you. Social stratification creates a desire to advance upward through the strata in order to have a greater degree of those elements. The problem, however, is that no matter what degree of these ideals one possesses, they never create lasting happiness or contentment for the one achieving them. There remains the desire for more, and thus, the quest for these things takes on the same type of entrapment and addiction as any common drug. A consumer society demands this condition we find ourselves in and actually promotes all of the problems inherent in it. Much as a heroin addict turns to criminal behavior in order to obtain his fleeting contentment, each of us from time to time finds ourselves stooping to some conflict of conscience in order to proceed upward on the society's ladder. A "criminal" enterprise can exist in the absence of a written law, as anyone having a "guilty conscience" can attest to.
The absence of written laws concerning conscience we label "morality" and "ethics", and one who is unethical or immoral pays only a social price for trespass, and only within that particular place of the social stratification he finds himself currently embedded in. If I attempt to discredit a co-worker in order to obtain a promotion and pay-raise that he is equally qualified for, and fail in that effort, the worst thing that can happen to me is that I may lose my job. Salvaging my job, some other co-workers might detest my action, while others may admire my attempt.
For what have I sold my soul? Greater wealth in order to buy a bigger home in a prestigious neighborhood? A fancier automobile with all the latest technological gadgets included? A membership in the Country Club? A sixty-six-inch high definition television that makes me the envy of my friends? All of these things, within a short amount of time, lose their importance, the "high" will wear off, and I will once again be questing for something greater, and it will never end as long as I am alive, and at at the end of my life I will have nothing left to carry forward.
Despite social stratification, each of us as Human Beings enters life in precisely the same condition. We are here to study separation, but as I have often stated, we somehow get lost within that separation and fail to realize that our mission in life is to become greater invested in spirit and not in the material possessions we acquire along the way. Being comfortable materially is not the goal in itself as so many now have come to believe, and that is why the condition of comfort is short-lived and fleeting.
A Human Being sitting alone in front of a large-screen television is a poor excuse for success, and in time he is just "lonely" and lost.