Your Views for October 2

Extrinsic wealth

As a University of Hawaii graduate alumnus, circa 1977, it was a joy to become a Big Island community member as a “born again” baby boomer to embrace the beautiful and health-beckoning aloha environment.


Being Bay Area refugees, my wife and I have longed for the opportunity of peaceful living, unfettered from traffic congestion, noise, overpopulation, crime and overpriced to atrocious housing rates.

Resisting the lure to quietly recede into our Hawaiian Paradise Park neighborhood, our passion at seven months is engaging in micro-farming in a meditative Thoreauvian fashion in the context of an austere lifestyle that is still socially interactive.

Having read about the high cost of commodities — especially food — before arrival did not prepare us for the hard reality. Given the helpful advice by established residents, the discovery of farmers markets, and adopting a “modified vegan” diet has helped to reduce costs.

Granted, the cost-of-living is high relative to many jurisdictions, however the stunner remains: Items in general via private parties or businesses have a “geometric markup.” Being invited to buy a modest saltwater fish for $35, or a single mango for $6 almost compelled this writer to apply for potent anti-depressant medication!

One begins to get the impression that there is a contemporary ethic and compulsion for “everyone to become a millionaire.” From the backdrop of those academic days, upon arrival from the mainland in “near starving student” status, new friends and community donated basic items to we students. Upon completion of studies, those items were graciously given to others for their use.

Few of us have the fortune or circumstance to become millionaires or super affluent. That can be defined as “extrinsic wealth.” Notwithstanding, we all have the potential to evolve to “intrinsic wealth, or “millionaires of character.” This pathway does not require finances — rather, the expression of service, compassion, altruism, generosity and sacrifice at times.

I’m a believer there is a profound spiritual nature to the Hawaiian Islands. That implies and commands a deep respect and humility to the land and all living things.

On a recent morning, a young lady trotting in tandem with the family pet saluted: “Have a blessed day.” That permeated this ancient Vietnam veteran and Iron Man to the core!


Jim Barker


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email