Sunday, November 12, 2006

Entitled to Stuff

A friend of mine is in her first year of teaching English at a liberal arts college. She is only one year removed from finishing her doctorate, and there is very little age gap between her and her students. I asked her how her first year is going, and what one thing about her classes has surprised her the most. She replied that she is taken aback by the sense of entitlement that most college students have – this notion that the teacher, the school, and society in general should be giving them their kudos and guaranteeing their success.

The same day that we had this conversation, I attended a meeting of my college alumni board. We heard a presentation from our Director of Admissions, and he discussed the challenges that the college faced in communicating with today’s prospective college students. Prominent on the list of challenges in his powerpoint: students’ sense of entitlement.

What have we wrought? I am part of the boomer generation that has raised these kids. It makes me wonder whether we have been overly-generous with our children while they lived under our umbrella.

These issues came to mind again when I read an excerpt from Wendell Berry’s collection of essays, The Way of Ignorance. Berry writes of our desire for more and more stuff:

"[we] seem to be living now with the single expectation that there should and will always be more of everything, including 'life expectancy.' This insatiable desire for more is the result of an overwhelming sense of incompleteness, which is the result of the insatiable desire for more. This is the wheel of death.”

Somehow, many of us believe we need more and more things. Worse, we think we deserve them. But we still end up cleaning out our parents’ homes when they move on – whether to a smaller living quarters or to the final calling – and most of this stuff ends up on a dumpster.

Our memories, our relationships, are much stronger than all our physical possessions. We should teach our children before we need our own dumpsters.

2 comments:

sushil yadav said...

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.
Subject : Environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.


Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.


When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.



A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.



FAST VISUALS /WORDS MAKE SLOW EMOTIONS EXTINCT.

SCIENTIFIC /INDUSTRIAL /FINANCIAL THINKING DESTROYS EMOTIONAL CIRCUITS.

A FAST (LARGE) SOCIETY CANNOT FEEL PAIN / REMORSE / EMPATHY.

A FAST (LARGE) SOCIETY WILL ALWAYS BE CRUEL TO ANIMALS/ TREES/ AIR/ WATER/ LAND AND TO ITSELF.


To read the complete article please follow either of these links :

PlanetSave

EarthNewsWire


sushil_yadav

Jan Hoffman said...

Did Sunday's sermon continue your line of thinking so you were able to post this that afternoon?

Wish I'd had your thought before writing the sermon, holy cow!!!