I think a lot during a morning run. I try to push work aside and hash out any other messes playing around in my brain. Lately, my thoughts have been on the material excess of humans. I try to leave all of this out on the run. Today, it just didn’t work out. Maybe it’s the photos of Sandy’s devastation in the northeast. Maybe it’s this article that I should not have opened highlighting the extravagance of the 1 percent. (It actually made me sick.) Or perhaps it’s something as simple as withdrawals from my cold turkey avoidance of sugar at the worst possible time of year to avoid sweets. Whatever the cause may be, something has put me in a glum mood toward the human condition. Feel free to stop reading here. You’ll probably be offended.
A friend once mentioned that there are a lot of 30,000 dollar millionaires in our generation. I have to agree. Though, I don’t place this burden entirely on our generation. (For readers who do not know me personally, I was born in ’83.) It makes me nauseous to read and listen to people complaining about the state of the economy. People are so quick to blame A president. “A” refers to one, singular, one person causing all our problems. Is this a joke? Here’s a crazy news flash: The technical recession lasted from 2007-2009. That’s 2 presidential terms, 2 different houses, 2 different cabinets. So, let’s put politics aside. I have some questions for you:
Are you upset because you don’t have the most expensive designer bag this season?
Are you angry because Joe Schmo has a boat, pool, private jet, or ______ and you don’t?
Do you really need a room in your house for every kid, dog, ferret, and taxidermy giraffe?
One for me–>Do you wish you had a lap pool in your backyard?
These items are all excessive–fun, arguably useful–EXCESSIVE. Do not get me wrong. If you work hard for your money, you have every right to spend it how you please. This is a blog containing my observations, my opinions. I have written it for my own self improvement more than anything else. I don’t appreciate greed. This is what bothers me. Industrial nations are wrought with excess. We are surrounded by too much food and foodlike products. We can borrow money to purchase anything, including, but not limited to, the aforementioned taxidermy giraffe. We pay for vacations, TVs, cars, alcohol, etc. with government subsidies. We mold technological advancements to meet our creature comforts rather than our survival needs.
Our goal with all of this spending is…I HAVE NOT A CLUE. What is our goal? This freaks me out. I can’t figure out the aim of industrialized human populations. It’s not survival. I’m sure my good friend, fellow triathlete, and life science historian has an eloquent counter to the previous statement. After all, I’m being a bit rash in stating that a portion of the human race is no longer concerned with survival. We are. We have to be. Primally, it’s all we know how to do.
Why do we hoard material things? Are we hoarding hunting and foraging tools? Are we hoarding our winter’s supply of food? Are we hoarding books to implement and avoid the successes and follies of our ancestors, respectively. Nope. We collect diseases from improper nutrition. We collect prescriptions to treat the side effects of other prescriptions. We collect houses, cars, gadgets, gizmos, thingamabobs, “but who cares, no big deal, [we] want mooooooore.” (The Little Mermaid 1989).
We collect debt. We get mad. Then, we blame someone else. We have to start taking responsibility. We cannot take partial responsibility. That’s too easy. We have to take full responsibility. There are things we actually need and things that we want. I stand by the old saying, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”
In changing ourselves and our country to be a strong nation with minds bent toward preserving humanity, ask yourself a question:
‘What is it that I really need?’
I’ll give you a hint. You don’t need a taxidermy giraffe.