Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Response about Image Culture

L. E. Modesitt Jr. is one of my favorite authors. He has recently started a very thought provoking series of blog entries. Check it out at www.lemodesittjr.com/blogs/blog/ . I posted this in response to his Image Culture comments.

We live in an era of entitlement. Children are praised for mediocre efforts and shielded from any criticism or critique of their performance. It is no wonder that there is an expectation of benefits – like home ownership. Why do we live in a culture which is fixated on “sickness” (bringing the patient from a negative value to zero) rather than a “wellness” (from zero to a positive)? Why do we insist that the only route to success is with a college degree, when many people are better suited to craftsmanship or creative pursuits, in which traditional apprenticeship to journeyman makes more sense? Why are so many people compensated based on position rather than the actual value created in the society and culture as a whole? Because we have been taught a skewed value structure. A structure based on appearances and vanity rather than substance and quality.

In regard to the financial crisis, it is the individual consumer behavior which is the actual root of this issue. We have been overwhelmed by marketing and advertising messages that elevate the virtue of possessions, but not the value of experiences or sacrifice. Why do we need such ridiculous cars? Why do we spend such vast sums of money on elaborate “toys”? Do we really need to live in 9,000 square feet? Who could possibly need such vast space? We consume like a voracious organism with no thought to the eventual consequence of our actions. Why does television capture us – because it is effortless. We are a lazy species taught that complacency in some way relates to attaining success, as long as we have the “things” which society uses as a measuring stick for our own vanity. I still have yet to hear where $350 billon has gone other than to “the banks” or to Wall Street. What an appalling lack of accountability. Yet we seem unfazed and prepared to give yet more money, which I might add is OUR money (the taxpayers) to continue to allow the consumer to go back out and spend. Are we really tackling the right issues? I think not.

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