While in Italy, I was struck, yet again, by the richness of life and how it can be experienced through travelling and coming into contact with a vast multitude of people from different cultural and social backgrounds.
I thought of the parochial and microscopic view of the world generally fostered by home politics and enforced by lack of affluence if not downright poverty. At the other end of the scale, immense wealth can isolate people too.
Alain de Botton, who is featured in this magazine edition, has written a book, and dedicates a lot of his philosophical musings on the subject of class anxiety.
We feel that wealth has come to supersede class in the last couple of decades of unprecedented accumulation of fortunes.
The new, not-immensely-wealthy-but cultivated class (what the French would refer to as recherché) is no longer defined by social belonging. Rather, it is defined by feeling comfortable in its own shoes.
It shows style and elegance by not being aspirational either socially or financially. It is not out there to conquer or colonise the world, nor does it have anything to prove to others or to itself.
It thinks nothing of wasting a bit of time (as opposed to working feverishly to attain mass domination or broker the next deal); it doesn’t network – it entertains instead; it tries to perfect what it has rather than acquire more.
It has old-fashioned manners and values its privacy. It is, in fact, beyond class.
In this issue, as in all issues, we celebrate the B Beyond class.