had an interesting conversation just now with someone i know. this person is about to plop down some hard-earned cash to buy a new car. he is vacillating between a 1.5 and a 1.6 litre car. there is obviously a significant price difference to add to his general indecisiveness.
‘will the 1.5 be able to climb all those steep roads?’ the last time i checked we live in a part of the world with a decidedly flat landscape and i asked him, tongue-in-cheek, how many steep roads he planned to climb. ‘well, you know, just in case,’ he answered with a distant look.
i come across a lot of friends and family who make decisions based on what they think will happen and not what is actually in front of them. i certainly see the advantage in leaving room for mistakes and chance but this attitude reflects a bigger problem with all of us. and i blame capitalism.
every which way we are constantly bombarded by ideas and images of being better than what we are. we are led to believe that our lives are sorry excuses of what we are potentially capable of provided we own this particular something. if we drink this brand of soda we will be the talk of the town and instantly attractive to others. if we eat from a bag of brand x chips we will be promoted at the office. we see this brand of vehicle perched on top of a mountain and we instantly feel like we must have one. perish the thought that we should have a smaller car which will never attain such lofty aspirations.
we contribute to the rat race where everyone wants to outdo the other and the way to do this is to own as much as possible. those things must be the fastest, the shiniest, the latest and most importantly the biggest. in a bank vault somewhere, mr. corporate-man’s evil laughter reverberates as he does back flips in a sea of money.