Sunday, July 03, 2011

Questions about American Life Pt. 5 of 5

I love living in America and so thankful to call this place home, but i know no place or people is perfect, so here are some of my questions after living with less for a week.

Need vs. Wants

needs- something necessary to have an acceptable quality of life.
wants- something good but unnecessary to have an acceptable quality of life.

I do struggle at times with what we call needs in our culture or at least with what the media wants us to belief are needs. Computers/nice cell phones/TV/own car/insurance/nice makeup/etc. Our society and jobs can almost force these things to be needs, but in no way are they directly necessary to having a better "quality of life." They are wants they market as needs so that we buy them and feel like we can't live without them. It is not that these things are not good and that we can't consider them a blessing to be thankful for, but i do wonder

At what point do the goods become a Trap instead of a Blessing?

I personally like the simplicity of less technology instead of more even though i use it a lot. So it was hard for me to see people wanting to get back to their phones and facebook even before we had left Jamaica as though it was their lifeline to survival. I know it is good to want to be in others lives, but it is almost like we have made it a necessity to be able to reach each other at any time and to be able to keep up and know what everyone's doing at all times through text, twitter, and fb newsfeeds. But i constantly wonder when does this become a distraction and more noise to keep us from God? it also makes me think that we may be

Convenience Spoiled.
Once again as you saw in my previous post, i am very thankful for convenience. At the same time, I think our American culture is constantly elevating convenience and worldly security to a higher and sometimes completely unhealthy need when it is really a luxury or want. We have to have a TV & cable in our house even though it would be cheaper going to a friends or restaurant when i wanted to watch something. We have to be able to track or be able to contact our kids everywhere for their own safety even though kids have continued to survive for thousands of years compared to our 20 years of cell phones being around. We have to have a cell phone instead of a land line because if people can't reach us, how will survive (see last sentence). Which brings me to my next question,

Are We Security Consumed?
One I struggle with sometimes is insurance. I don't think those houses in Jamaica have insurance on them. I am not sure about the cars. I don't think the families in Jamaica have insurance for their family. yet the culture continues on. Yes, on the opposite end i didn't get to see but i heard the hospitals were a place to be avoided and that our team walked away so thankful for what we do have, so don't get me wrong. I'm so thankful on some level for our system. But i still have to ask in my head, Is all the different insurances i pay for really necessary and are all the ways we want to protect our kids and families necessary? or are they also luxuries and wants that we have convinced or trapped ourselves into believe are necessities we stress over rather than luxuries to leave behind or be extra thankful for?

1 comment:

Emma Tautolo said...

I've thought about this often... I find myself teetering on the line between irresponsibility or security? It's good to have these things (insurance, etc.) but do I qualify them as needs or essentials when in reality they are kind of not. Especially when around the world, more people live without much of what we have everyday, their whole lives...