The anaesthetic effect of money…

www.sorenandersson.com

There seems to be one specific anaesthetic that actually prevents people from feeling anything at all… a drug so potent that it eradicates empathy and decency…

Among the known side effects of this drug, the most common one is the “torsion-effect” to the neck muscles – that make the head always “turn away”…

Many (most) people in the “western” economies are living a lifestyle that is way beyond a sustainable level. (The average Swedish lifestyle distributed worldwide would need 3.5 planets to support it, the US average lifestyle almost 4.5)

 “If you live for having it all, what you have is never enough.”

 – Vicki Robin

Although more and more people (but still a small minority) are becoming aware that the underpinning reason for on-going Climate change and the overexploitation of resources and people is our Excessive Consumerism – very little is changing…in real terms, nothing is changing…

Are we really that stunned by the anaesthetic effect of money…?

Kim-KardashianMany of today’s “rich and famous”, corporate Executives, Sports-stars, TV and Movie-stars, etc. are living life’s that are way, way, way beyond Sustainable – lives that include all kinds of extravagant features and possessions – huge Villas, exclusive vacations, expensive cars, incredible yachts, private jets, extreme consumerism, more extreme consumerism and so on…
There are, in fact, even people who have become “celebrities” mainly on the sheer fact that they live “excessive” lives…

…and this is a lifestyle that is continuosly “pumped-out” through all channels, a lifestyle that we all should aim for – anything less is a “failure”…or at least a sign that you lack “ambition”…

What does this tell us about our society…

There are more than 1 Billion malnourished people in the world, in many regions there are on-going conflicts with extreme violence, children are being used as slave-labour, corporations engage in resource-depleting activities, our atmosphere and nature is being more and more polluted, fossil-fuel companies have business-plans incorporating CO2-emissions 5 times more than our society can survive, water-scarcity is becoming a huge problem, species are brought to extinction at an unprecedented rate and Climate change is creating havoc everywhere – but focus is on whether some celebrity is wearing a red dress or not at yet another spectacular and extravagant charity-fund-raising gala-show…

It’s almost as if – the more “egoistic”, “decadent” and unsustainable your lifestyle is, the more famous you become…

The “distance” from a poor, hungry and destitute farmer somewhere in Africa or Asia, to the people at the “red carpets” around the world is probably longer than the distance to the pole star – We all know it but we are so numbed by the anaesthetic effect of money, that We don’t really care

In fact – we don’t care so much that we, almost unanimously, instead push hard in the other direction, as if we are under the influence of some mass-psychosis…or a very potent “drug”…

Money makes us numb…

HypocriteOften when studies and research is done on what we – the people – value the most in life or at work, money often comes a little bit down on our priority lists. Often things like health, peace, security, personal development and other more “noble” matters ranks higher on the list.

Is this true or is it just that we want to be “perceived” as – Noble people with high ideals…

I don’t know for sure, but judging from what is happening around us in our society – there seems to be a lot of hypocrisy going on…

A “NSA-type” report from the beach…

During my vacation I spent a couple of lazy days at the local beach, and couldn’t help overhearing a conversation (60 minutes) in a mixed group of four people, sitting 2 inches from my towel…

Monsoon2013That morning the local newspaper had an editorial concerned about the severity of the Monsoon rain in India and the implications from Climate change, with a picture similar to the attached one from 350.org. (Click picture to read more)

The conversation started when someone showed the article and everybody immediately expressed their “strong concern” that this latest catastrophe together with other recent ones indeed showed that Climate is changing and that emissions from human activities are “pushing it” over the limit. There were also a couple of quick comments stating that China probably is one of the largest polluters today, and that someone has to do something…

For the remaining 57 minutes or so, the group discussed intensely and lively the “fantastic” low ticket-prices on Ryan air and two other low-cost airlines, how often this allowed them to travel abroad, which city, out of Barcelona, Rome, Milan and London has the best shopping, the best cuisine for eating out, the most luxurious hotels etc…
They also discussed their latest “bargains” when it came to designer swim-wear and summer clothes.

During the conversation an elderly lady was rummaging through a couple of nearby waste-bins, in search for recyclable soda-cans, hoping to earn some few cents…

…an hour at the beach in a “Western society” – totally free from Hypocrisy…

Gold-fish effect or Hypocrisy?

Why is it that we so easy can question and condemn certain phenomena’s and behaviours and the next minute chose not to see them?

A couple of examples:

Greenlandtemperature-31-July-2013In an editorial article, some concern was expressed about the current wide-spread melting of the ice both in the Arctic and in Greenland. The same newspaper, in the business pages, stated that car-sales were up “showing really promising figures for the future”…
There was also an article where some executive from “Lundin Oil” was quoted about a “very positive development” of their latest fossil-fuel exploration, with great opportunities for further oil-production…

I know that journalists often state that their task is to “objectively report to the public“ – but what are they communicating – that there was some issue with ice melting, but “rejoice” because car sales and oil-drilling shows promising figures for the future …

The Swedish government recently expressed great concern about some of the Climate change issues and the “all too obvious” effects from it with flooding in connection to the Monsoon in India and Pakistan… The same government stated later the same day that further economic stimulus is needed to increase “the necessary growth” in our society that seems to be at to slow pace…

Sweden is already at a consumption rate which needs 3.5 planets to support, and has already an all-time high public debt level …

One week a global corporation’s practice concerning child-labour in Bangladesh is condemned – the next week a high executive from the same company is in the lime-light presenting “excellent” figures for profit and revenue – media immediately boosting his excellent business-mind, elevating him to a “role-model” level and at the same time stating that his bonus was high but “fair”…

“It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.”

–  Noël Coward

…Have We – Become totally Numb and indifferent…

The awakening from this anaesthetic is going to be painful, there will be serious set-backs and we will suffer from terrible withdrawal symptoms – but continued abuse will without doubt lead to an “Overdose”… a collective one…

  • Fantastic article! So glad I found it!
    Your thoughts are insightful, thoughtful and so very pertinent! I believe your
    rather “organic” upbringing on a farm has instilled in you an
    invaluable sense of what is essential. It is indeed a shame that our current
    culture equates excesses with successes! I think that humble roots, with all
    their intrinsic gifts, as well as living with intention, can be the springboard
    for a life of gratitude and contentment. You have re-inspired my mission as I
    grow my new business! Thank you! Tracy Strandness

  • Keith Vosburgh

    Great Article. Deeply insightful and shows the importance of our connection with the world.

    Thank you!

  • Joseann Freyer-Lindner

    The article shows clearly the dilemma we are in. We all depend on the economy, but the economy is in conflict with natural laws. So what solutions do you suggest? How do we get out of the rat race?