In this issue:
2. March Editorial: “Gratification on Demand: Fuel for the Consumptive Culture”
3. Preview: Next Month’s Editorial
4. Quote of the Month – Aldous Huxley
5. Hot Link of the Month
6. Want to Blog?
7. Click and Play of the Month
Join Me and Sign the Declaration
Entrepreneur Bill Liao has launched a philanthropic venture in the form of an Internet declaration for any and all to sign and then declare their own personal commitments with their signatures. Based on early signatories, it will encompass many nationalities. I signed it the other day and invite you to join me. You can read the succinct declaration, engage in discussion about it, see who else has signed it and what they have committed to here: The Declaration.
2. MARCH EDITORIAL
“All good things take time” as the old saying goes. I remember when one saved their money to buy something special, something that one really wanted. While saving money for the purchase, there was opportunity to reflect on what one was doing and why one wanted this thing so badly.
Buying something on credit allows the buyer to enjoy the feeling of ownership much more quickly, to be sure, but it also drastically shortens the time one has to reflect on one’s purchase. Buying on credit is still a fairly new phenomenon, with “lay-away plans” and “buying on time” coming into vogue just over half a century ago and credit cards emerging in early 1960s. The “instant gratification” at the cash register is an experience barely three generations old in our Western cultures.
As we know, personal debt has grown exponentially over recent years (see graphs above) and household savings have plummeted. Both are byproducts of this rush to “gratification on demand.” Besides fast food, we have instant messaging, printing on demand, music in our pocket or purse, overnight delivery and instant credit checks. In economics, we have moved from an investing culture to a society of speculators, flipping houses and learning to become day traders so we can make (or lose) money more quickly without any longer-term ownership.
We have morphed into a consumer culture where “stuff” occupies our consciousness as much as any other aspect of social living today. Selecting the stuff we want and comparing it with our options (an activity we generally refer to as “shopping”) is a primary activity from the time we are teenagers. Then we spend enormous amounts of psychic energy on working to pay for all our stuff, keeping it secure and safe, and worrying how to pay off the debt we took on to have our stuff. This is the “psycho-emotional debt” is another expense for having things “now” instead of at some time down the road.
We have become an “on demand society” and fully expect everything to be available to us now, right now! The market accommodates this demand as things continue to move faster and faster to keep up with this mass obsession of “I want it now.”
This drive to gratification on demand is unhealthy and unsustainable. By becoming so obsessive about accumulating material stuff we’re cheating ourselves of many of the non-material dimensions of the human experience.
If there is any chance for us to transform to a sustainable society and curb our propensity to obsessively consume, we will need to let go of this insatiable adolescent desire for instant gratification. We need to grow up emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. We can convert these material and non-material energies into something much more constructive, solving many of the world’s problems and edging us closer to the transformation that awaits us as a species.
3. NEXT MONTH’S EDITORIAL: “The New Emancipation Proclamation”
4. QUOTE OF THE MONTH:
“Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.” – Aldous Huxley
5. HOT LINK OF THE MONTH:
Thought Leader Gatherings are an invitational-only, membership learning community of visionaries representing Minnesota and California/Bay Area organizations; hosted by The Heartland Institute (Craig and Patricia Neal); calls together an eclectic community of organizational change agents combining visionary and “on the ground” discourse to ensure both breakthrough ideas and concrete action; John is one of several VisionHolders for Heartland.
6. WANT TO BLOG?
My blog – “Exploring the Better Future” – is located at the Global Dialogues Center; take a look and post your comments. I’d love to hear from some of you subscribers!
7. CLICK & PLAY OF THE MONTH: (see Audio and Videos)
Global Dialogue Center’s Debbe Kennedy interviews John (22 minutes)