April 27, 2009

Lower Your Expectations


Could you be happy with less? Content with a reasonable amount of nutritious food, a warm, dry, secure place to dwell, a small set of clothes, and supportive relationships in your immediate community? Would a simple life be enough?

If developed nations could get a handle on their desires the world would be a better place. We do not need any technological solution to lower our expectations. It costs no money. It saves money and resources. Money and resources that other parts of the world sorely need.

Thousands of children die every day due to not having enough. A fairly recent historical development is that now we also have thousands of people that die as a result of having too much. Obesity, cardiovascular disease, and stress-related illnesses all plague our cushy lifestyles of excess.

A leading causes of teen death in Africa is pregnancy and childbirth. The leading cause of death for North American teens is traffic accidents, while drunk or otherwise. For these teens, suicide is a leading cause of death as well. When we wanted our kids to have better lives than we had, this is not what we had in mind.

Developed nations suffer from a corporate-induced sickness that causes us to always want more. To get more we are driven to move faster, and to make more sacrifices, personally and environmentally.

We want more square feet, more stainless steel, more cars, more toys, more trips to Mexico, more fast food, more clothes, more booze, more, more, more. But the only answer now is to want less. The "more" thing is dead, buried in its own massive pile of putrid refuse.

In my own life lowering my expectations has freed me. I am free to live life at a slow, peaceful pace. I am free to appreciate the simple things in my life. My mind is becoming free of the corporate world's agenda, along with their slick visuals and sound bites. In the wreckage of capitalism all of that has lost its lustre.

More is the buzzword of those who live in a world of infinite resources. Less is the lesson for those of us who don't.

Making do with less in developed nations will allow those in third-world nations to have enough. Today we are constantly told that the only way out of our troubles is to spend more. More credit, more stuff. Never do you hear about more debt, more work, more cardiovascular disease, more stress, more death by too much. Will life with less really wreck our economy?

If the only way to save our economy is by constant spending and growth, and the wrecking of all natural systems life depends on, than let us let it fail. The sooner the better. Let us put the nails in the coffin and inter this burdensome, deadly plague once and for all.

We will experience benefits in all ways as soon as we give up our endless desire and replace it with lowered material expectations. We live in a finite system, and should operate on that truth.

This may be the first generation in North America that would benefit from having less. Our children should not be condemned to die from having too much, just as children in the third world should not be condemned to die from a lack of basic human needs.

Free yourself, heal your planet, help your 4 billion brothers and sisters that struggle to meet basic needs.

Lower your expectations.

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