Recap of a Discussion

Posted: August 5th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Thoughts | 1 Comment »

Once a week we meet to discuss things of our hearts, to state questions not answers. Last time it was deep and it reflected some of the ideas I want to express here. Therefore I want to give here a recap. By the way this is our website:

The topic was as follows: Materialism, is this our new religion? As a discussion starter we stated that the problem of consuming is only hard to see in the case where it hurts others and are ignorant of it. Where either the consumer or the seller directly suffers under it, it is not hard to show why one shouldn’t engage in such a trade. The problem is if we do wrong when we act as a consumer but do know know the full consequences if it. We read a quote of a ancient myth that Plato uses in The Republic: The Ring of Gyges. It’s the idea of having a means to escape the consequences of our acts of injustice (Tolkien took up on this idea in the Lord of the Rings). The difficulty is now that we willingly choose to be ignorant of our acts of injustice, which is especially easy in materialism because the problems are outsourced in a global economy to places where we’ll never hear what our Nike shoes do to the factory workers. To overcome this issue takes a lot of effort on our side to educate ourselves what effects our western life style has on the whole world. Then having that knowledge to feel actually responsible and act upon it is the hard part. There are two main spectra, one where we are responsible as an individual guided by our moral compass and one where we are responsible as a citizen in society, responsible for our laws to reflect our convictions. It starts with the first one resulting in a certain lifestyle, then it moves on to our social responsibility. Last night we primarily focused on the lifestyle. I think looking at this it becomes quickly evident that we long for practicalities. Examples we can follow. So we shared some of our ideas. Someone said its important to start with reflecting on actions we do. Thinking first. The someone said he wishes he could take more time to just be quiet and think, but that our fast paced industrial lives leave no room for that. Quickly we realized that we all regularly attempt to take more time to be alone and think but that it quickly fails due to other priorities that dominate such “none sense”. If we have a ten minute slot before bed time we quickly fill it with a YouTube clip or something similar. I threw a realization into the pot I had a week ago or so, that we work long days with soul consuming jobs to earn lots of money with which we finance our expensive free time in which we try again to make up for our meaning less time at work. During our 20 minute lunch time we have to buy overpriced fast food wrapped in ridiculous amounts of plastic, just because we do not have the time to prepare real food. There are many more examples that quickly show bountiful evidence of a senseless lifestyle that we are often guilty of. Returning to the question, how we should live then, we felt the necessity to reflect more on what consequences our western lives have. It’s easy to say we should just all live in the mountains but how do we act as citizens of the centers of civilization, namely the city.

Next time we’ll discuss more what it means to acquire a reflective lifestyle and how we should relate to the issue of social justice. I’m looking forward to it.

One Comment on “Recap of a Discussion”

  1. 1 Jake Belder said at 2:54 pm on August 16th, 2008:

    Good stuff, Luke. It’s true we don’t often think about the consequences of our actions. And further, I think we are really blinded by the fact that it is not so much a negative action that we are taking, but it is a blatant idolatry. I think we need to realize the impact of this.

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