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gypsywench's avatar

What are your thoughts on this quote?

Asked by gypsywench (1626points) August 12th, 2010

“Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination” – Oscar Wilde

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21 Answers

MacBean's avatar

Love ya, Oscar, but I know a lot of people who have to use quite a bit of imagination to manage to live within their means.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Consider the source. This was a man who sought “to live up to his blue china”.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I have quite an imagination, and am quite good at saving money. Unless people live within their means they will never realise their imaginings.

zenele's avatar

Oscar was not always right – even in his day. That’s what I think of this quote.

Pandora's avatar

I think the opposite is true. Sometimes it requires a great deal of imagination to live in your means. Anyone can spend oodles of cash and live it up. The real test of your imagination would be to live it up without splurging. Seeing beauty everywhere and having fun without having to buy your fun would be more creative.
Funny how I can remember going to amusement parks as a kid but the best times and my favorite memories are of me rolling down a hillside, climbing trees and figuring out how to get down, making paper airplanes and throwing them out a window in a contest with my siblings to see who had the best design. Did I enjoy toys? Sure. But my best memories where activities created from my mind.

Cruiser's avatar

Oscar lived at a time where there were no credit cards were given out like confetti to “allow” anyone to live outside their means. Anyone living inside their means today probably let their imagination run wilde and is now paying for it!

Frenchfry's avatar

I live within my means. I have a vivid imagination and smart. I don’t like debt. I have been there with credit cards. I cut up every card. I will not live in the hole again. Boo! Oscar.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I take it to mean that you can either shop at Walmart, because that fits your budget and look like you shop at Walmart, or you can learn how to budget/thrift store/outlet shop and look like you shop at Brooks Brothers. It’s not so much about saving as it is about being resourceful in your purchases.

You can say you can’t afford to go to Europe for vacation because you can’t afford to stay in a $200 a night hotel. However, if you are willing to couchsurf or stay in hostels, the trip becomes much more affordable. I have a friend who spends a month in Italy for about the same amount as a week at Disney costs.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I think it’s pretty funny ;)

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Was Oscar rich?

filmfann's avatar

God Bless Oscar Wilde! But, I turn to him for romantic advice, not financial.

robmandu's avatar

Taken at face value, I agree with @MacBean and most other posters here.

However, I think everyone probably also realizes that Oscar is attempting to convey a slightly more profound concept. That is, don’t allow your life to be constrained by arbitrary and artificial barriers.

Another way to think about it is to suggest that one be willing to take risks in life. If you play it safe in everything – “living within your means” – then you might miss a real opportunity when life throws you a curve ball.

Don’t be afraid to live big. Act outside your comfort zone. But the wise person will also be prepared at some level for failure, to be ready to risk again at the next opportunity.

CMaz's avatar

Oscar Wilde was a bit of a drinker.

NaturallyMe's avatar

That’s odd, why would someone say that? I don’t believe it.

I’ve just read what @robmandu said, and that makes sense though. One can miss out on so much if one is never willing to take risks. Living within one’s financial means though is the smart thing to do.

ETpro's avatar

@gypsywench Cute quote. If you want to end up like Oscar Wilde, it makes great sense to follow it. Oscar Wilde, ”...died destitute in Paris at the age of forty-six.” Personally, I would rather live a long and productive life I’m already 20 years ahead of him. :-)

gailcalled's avatar

Wilde also spent two unpleasant years in jail for sodomy and indecency, after his love affair with the son of the Marquis of Queensbury became public info. See the poem, The Ballad of Reading Gaol. (Feel free not to read it.)


robmandu's avatar

Not an Oscar Wilde fan myself. And it certainly would seem that, while he followed his own advice, that he likely should’ve followed the advice of some folks here as well. ;->

That said, his statement above was likely framed the way it was because he wanted to insult you (me, everyone). It’s a challenge. Did it make you feel defensive? Likely yes, and if so, that’s an opportunity to be introspective about your life and motivations. But also because he wanted your attention, your angst and ire. If you allow yourself to react passionately without cold reason and logic, then you won’t have the chance to learn the lesson that he has to share, not just his words, but actions, too.

downtide's avatar

Only people who have never been on the breadline will agree with Mr Wilde there. @MacBean is right – sometimes it takes a LOT of imagination just to be able to eat.

gailcalled's avatar

Oscar Wilde was expected to provide a quotable maxim on a regular basis. Even though he wrote some good plays, his wit (or so-called wit) was his calling card, as was his flamboyant and effete appearance and public behavior.

Shaw was funnier.

Pandora's avatar

I think he said it simply to convey his own feelings about the era in which he lived. Many of the rich at the time tried to go with the flow of society and what was acceptable behavior. Oscar was a bit of a revolutionist. He loved controversy and fighting against what was the acceptable norm. I’m sure being a poet he found bankers and accountants to be quite boring and without imagination. Just as I am sure many saw him as a nut case and a rogue. I don’t think his quote applies to todays society.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Yeah, I’m @robmandu here – I don’t think he meant financial means, really.

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