In your interaction with others, what percentage of your time is spent in the company of people in the same approximate economic bracket as yourself?
Like a fish, I can be oblivious to the water surrounding me. While in a rundown section of Brooklyn yesterday, my mind wandered to an interaction I'd had the previous day with someone much more affluent than I. It dawned on me: Even though I was not uncomfortable in either setting, both situations were exceptional for me. I'm rarely very long in the company of people widely dissimilar to myself economically. My estimate? More than 98% of my time is spent with people in my economic bracket.
Of course, being in the broad bell curve range of "middle class" contributes to this. And since much of my life is built around my family, all of whom are in approximately the same economic boat, the closed loop is further reinforced. What impact does this have on the way I view the world? Whenever my wife and I see a Broadway show I often find myself looking around at the audience. I wonder: When was the last time many of these people meaningfully interacted with anyone who can't afford to attend something like this? But my judging mind need not go much further than looking at the person occupying my own seat.