Abundance vs. Prosperity: noticing subtle distinctions
I enjoyed reading your e-mails on how you sense the subtle distinctions between these two words. Abundance was clearly the preferred word for these times. Here are some of your musings about the subtle variations in the two words:
J.S. writes: “In American culture, prosperity seems to have a monetary connotation. I prefer abundance- it could refer to love, friendship, good will, ease. It seems more abstract, yet positive.”
C.W. writes: “I definitely “feel” these 2 words differently. I equate “prosperity” more with “success” – mostly related to one’s “job” or “career” – and “wealth.” When I think of the word “abundance” I have a broader feel for it – abundance in everything in my life – friends, family, love, health, money, time, energy, compassion. …. l also feel that the word “prosperity” is so 40’s & 50’s-oriented. Maybe that’s why the job security and money aspects feel so strong for me – my parents were focused on education, leading to a career that made you good money, i.e., prosperity. Abundance feels much more “New Age”, maybe hippie, definitely 90s and millennial. The Baby Boomers didn’t have to worry so much about money & success so they were/are able to expand to a broader definition of “success.”
W.S. writes: “.. When I think about “prosperity”, I tend to think of it in terms of wealth or economic status. .. It doesn’t seem to be used in the sense of “thriving”, unless that means monetarily. “Abundance”, however, seems to have a broader context. While someone could well have an abundance of money, they could also have an abundance of good cheer, or ripe apples, or paper airplanes. There seems to be less materialism or, even, outright greed associated with that word; it’s more a matter of measurement. “Abundance” suggests having just enough or perhaps plenty, but generally not too much, an excess, or more than one needs.
So, I’m not sure I can say I prefer one word over the other …. But if, for example, I were to choose the word for a New Year’s greeting, maybe I should think about saying “Abundant” rather than “Prosperous”. Not only does that have a more positive resonance to me, but it seems to carry the wish that the person receive what is most beneficial for them, which may or may not have to do with money.