I've continued to take boxing lessons on Sunday nights. Last Sunday was a particularly hard workout. At one point the trainer (aka my super cool priest/ philosopher/ boxing instructor!) punched me in the stomach. I learned a good lesson: always tighten your abs or you will regret it!
However, getting hit in the stomach was not nearly as bad as the sucker punch I received when I read some of my required reading for class. Here is a little exerpt:
Rich societies such as Australia seem to be in the grip of a collective psychological disorder. We react with alarm and sympathy when we come across an anorexic who is convinced she is fat, whose view of reality is so obviously distorted. Yet, as a society surrounded by affluence, we indulge in the illusion that we are deprived.
Affluenza: When Too Much is Never Enough
Clive Hamilton and Richard Denniss Page 6
Admitting that I probably fit into this category is very difficult. I don't want to admit to having a "distorted view of reality". It is easy to see the deprivation that is caused by malnutrition, but what about the amount of damage that is done by constantly reaching for the unobtainable? We convince ourselves that we will be more happy if we only have (insert ridiculous new electronic fad here). Yet, really we are just like the starving anorexic. The only difference is that it is socially acceptable to be on the "path to success". It is common to be defined by what you are wearing, what you drive, and where you live. These are the things that drive our society forward. Yet, as the society moves forward and debt is piling up, we still frantically search for our identity.
The obvious solution to the problem is to stop buying so much stuff. Give it up and leave it... then you will be happy. For some reason, this solution seems empty too. If you give everything up then you will go hungry, be cold, and furthermore, be a burden to society.
Maybe there is a better way. Maybe the key isn't what you have, but what your connections to those things are. I ask myself these questions: Can I live without my "stuff"? Is there anything that I cannot live without? Is there some materialistic item I am depending on?
I think for me the solution to this problem is to assess my connections to material items. I'll leave you with a challenge too. Reflect on what materialistic items you depend on and try to live without it for a week... who knows... maybe something positive can come from it J