Trade-Off

Asking ourselves, why we hold on to civilisation, even though we are well aware of the pressure it puts on the individuals, be it economic, spiritual or social, we have to ask: what does this world offer compared to the one our ancestors left behind, 10000, 1000 or just 70 years ago. One thing is obvious to the writer: he simply could not be a writer without written language.
Had we not become civilised, no form of art would have developed the way it did. There would be no electronic instruments, there wouldn’t even be pianos, organs, tempered trumpets and so many more.
There would not be photography or movies.
No TV, no Computer Games. No Newspapers, no Internet.
No phones or public transportation.
No cars.
Most likely there would not even be bikes. Certainly no Airplanes.
There also wouldn’t be any shopping malls and supermarkets.
No dentists. No surgeons, only rudimentary science if any at all.
Every day someone comes up with a new app that makes it possible to get food and even laundry service simply by touching the screens of our smartphones. I am even writing this on one… . Soon enough, considering development goes on this way, many of us won’t have to move at all to get our basic needs met.
Oh well we would still have to spend 8-12 hours a day completing mind-numbing tasks just to get the money to pay for all these comforts.
And then, because we also want to look like the models and actors we see on our screens, we – again – pay money for fitness studios, yoga lessons, you name it. We buy plane tickets to far away places to pacify our nomadic nature, we climb mountains, jump from airplanes to replace a sense of danger and adventure that once was part of our everyday lifes. We spend on wellness holidays, diet plans, therapy and medication to counter the effects of our unhealthy lifestyles.
We all want to live forever, but no one wants to be old.
We wine about the bad living conditions of people in poorer countries, but we still want our cheap electronic gadgets, coffee, tea and bio-fuel, clothes and shoes.

And yet, we are somehow not content. We still want more.

Or is this what we tell ourselves? Just a little more of everything will make us happy… .
So we need to grow.
As long as we grow, this more seems to be behind the next corner.
Or does it?
Doesn’t it seem that for everything we have, we trade off sth else? Something, maybe, of equal or even greater value? And how many of the things we have would be worth anything to us if we did not know they existed? There is another trade-off that most of us accept without a second thought: responsibility. Whenever there is a problem we happily blame governments, masters of industry, the general status quo of whatever political system we live in. There are homeless people or single parents barely making a living? Let the social systems handle it. Even when they are members of our own family. There are people starving in Africa? Animals being mistreated in meat-factories? That’s on the industry. Sad, but ultimately not our problem to deal with.
Giving away responsibility is easy. Convenient. The whole idea of having a political system in the first place is about trading responsibility for a sense of security.
Is trading freedom in exchange for convenience.
When we give away responsibility for any of our problems, don’t we also give away the power to do anything about it? For what is freedom if not the ability to take responsibility for your own actions?
When you take responsibility for yourself, when you are willing and able to  choose your actions based on their consequences and wether or not you are willing to live with them, you can pretty much much do whatever you want.
You are free.
Most of us choose exactly the opposite. They free themselves from responsibility. And in exchange agree to limit their actions to whatever their respective rulers put into lawbooks. Thus essentially we trade off freedom for security. Or at least for an illusion of it.
So what is it, you desire?
Freedom or security? And don’t just say freedom because New Age ethics are dictating it. Be honest. And if your answer is both, realize that that is utterly impossible in a culture based on trading off responsibility. But is it impossible in general? Could there be a social structure in which they do not exclude each other?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

5 + 7 =