Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What are you rooting for?

"The worst is yet to come. American standard of living permanently changed." So says a headline today in Yahoo Finance. Let me give another perspective, by an eighteenth century poet Samuel Johnson:

We go with expectation and desire of being pleased.
We meet others who are brought by the same motives
No one will be the first to own the disappointment
One face reflects the smile of another
Till each believes the rest delighted
And endeavors to catch and transmit the circulating rapture
In time, all are deceived by the cheat to which all contribute
The fiction of happiness is propagated by every tongue
And confirmed by every look
Till at last all profess the joy which they do not feel
And consent to yield to the general delusion

So which is worse, the possibility that the existing world as we know it will end? Or that we will continue to delude ourselves into thinking that because we have money and material things we are happy? The present state of affairs needs to change. There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. We should root for the collapse of many of our existing institutions, including the stock market, banks, advertising agencies, insurance companies, and the flim-flam artists who convince us that we should buy useless products.

Then we can rebuild and create a world more in tune with peace and happiness rather than aggression and acquisition. I've never felt totally comfortable within the existing mainstream of society. Perhaps you have felt the same. There is something fundamentally lonely and
unnerving about a society obsessed with possessions, consumption, and appearances. It has never felt right to me. Be honest. Have you ever felt the same way?

I am not saying that I want to see people lose their jobs or their homes, or suffer and struggle from fear and frustration. I want to confront the truth. I want to question and explore, to determine what is really in our best interest. I am not convinced that what we have been led to believe by our leaders, by the media, by our teachers, and even by our parents and friends, is necessarily what we really want or how we want to live. It is extremely difficult to imagine a world much different than the present one. John Lennon wrote a song about it. It is possible, though.

No comments:

Post a Comment