Monday, March 10, 2014

The Standard Of Living (Part II)

It may be said that generally the standard of living today is better than the standard of living in the past (however back we may want to go) especially in terms of material advancement, except for the poor for whom the earth does not seem to belong to them.

What I mean is that, if we are to reflect, what we are enjoying or could enjoy today is much better than what our parents or grandparents did enjoy or could have enjoyed in their times - in general of course. If we think that the smartphone is anywhere superior to the land-line or the post, then the statement is true. If we think of the benefits of clusters in towns compared with solitary isolation in remote villages, then the statement is true.

There will be those who argue that the world has gone wrong and going back to the simple life of days gone by is the best thing to do for mankind, and they will disagree with the statement. There will be families who used to have great fortunes and are now reduced to poverty, then they may be also disagree. But in general, I think it is fair to say that life today is much much better than before.

The point is that, regardless or where you are today, be it Washington or a far flung island on the South Seas, regardless of the size of your wallet or the number of vacant real estate that you have managed to amass around the world, as you sit quietly in your own home, you must surely feel that you are lucky to be alive today and have the opportunity to enjoy what the world today has to offer. I have often said that life is like a buffet lunch - you can choose what you want to consume.

The prosperity of the world today is the variety of goods and services that are in the market for anyone of us to consume or try to consume (like that Leica Monochrom whom most of us cannot really afford).  We may not in the end consume them, but to have that opportunity is a god-send.

As the markets grow and the world shrinks, it is really up to each of us to what we want to do in order to enjoy ourselves while we are alive in this world. There could be other worlds, but we do not know for sure - though we can imagine for sure. The certainty is now, and now is real.


James said...

Agree with the philosophies, but there is a reason for asking how do you measure the difference in the standards of living. The reason is that the United States entered into an agreement with the islands to bring the standard of living in the islands to that of the mainland United States. The catch is how do you measure the disparity? How would you bring about a similar standard of living when there is no economic resources available - so it will mean years without end of substantial funding, if the agreement is to be realized. Then again, the US has always been less than earnest in fulfilling its political obligations, except when its own security is at stake. Thanks for posting your thoughts!

walla said...

P: I am profusely confused.
Q: My sympathies.
P: If prosperity is a godsend, what's the rationale for being spartan?
Q: Can i tell you after i've finished with 300: Rise? It's about some spartans resisting a persian naval attack.
P: You're watching it?!
Q: If there's such a word, extensialism. Can go back to the past or forward into the future, even if animated by imagination only. And to add three-sixty rotation, try reading one million e-books on all subjects.
P: Is that why you're so for a global dimension to our education system?
Q: Mana ada sistem?
P: In any case, i am relieved we are not talking about smoke today.
Q: Don't be.
P: Don't be what?
Q: Relieved.
P: Oh, and what have you for me today?
Q: Chocolates.
P: Huh?
Q: I saw them left opened this morning. More significantly, they were open without bending the gold foils that had contained them. You know, those gold coins with chocolate inside? Yes. Some were missing but the remaining ones were left opened and i repeat - without any being bent or distorted. Now, here's the crunch. One particular piece was just a precise half. The other half of the chocolate was missing. So you look for bite or finger marks. None. Precise edge, flat coin. Try opening a gold coin chocolate and tell me if it won't crease or distort even if minutely. Lastly, the covers were missing. I cannot explain the collective observations logically. Can you?
P: Me too. Let's move on.
Q: To where can we go that we have not been before?
P: Geographically or temporally? The outer limits, perhaps?
Q: It doesn't matter, does it? Look, problems are similar at every corner of this planet. There is a basic ontology of problems faced by all men and women anywhere anytime.
P: So...
Q: So we look at life-cycles. Birth-living-death. Of the three phases, we can't do anything about our births and we can at best only prolong by a bit the time of our departure. So we are left with living. Ok so far?
P: Go on..
Q: We should talk about the nature of living before we talk about the standard of living, no? After all, how can one have a standard of something that has yet to be described?
P: Yes. But i hasten to say most would only try to be less ambitious and talk about standard of living in the usual context, and then go on to the nature of living.
Q: So, what is the nature of living?
P: You're asking me?
Q: Yes.
P: But, err..
Q: It seems and this is only a wild hypothesis but it seems there is an intrinsic conflict inside every aspect of the process of living as we normally ascribe what living is.
P: Let me chew on that.
Q: You want some chocolate?
P: No, thank you.