Monday, March 17, 2014

The Standard Of Living (Part IV)

Our own standard of living is the product of our own doing - be it high or low according to some comparison with the past or with others today - and it is really up to us to achieve that standard.

At the most basic level, our standard of living is based on our own ability to acquire what we need or what we want - farm or hunt for food, weapons, housing, transportation, amusement, spiritual pursuits (usually to remove some form of uncertainty). We do it our own way, with the benefit of teachings from wise old men in the communities of long ago or recent past, with what we usually term as "our way of life" or our "culture."

These traditional cultures are very dear to most of us because they give us a sense of identify of ourselves and of our community. The purpose again is to remove uncertainty as to behaviour or acceptance, so that we can sleep sound together without fear of being harmed in the middle of the night.

The advancement of knowledge and technology in the last few hundred years have opened up a whole new world of standards, whereby we are able to create things that we all want to use or play with. The march of knowledge and technology is incessant - but whether it is always for the better is a subject for discussion.

Even with the availability of knowledge and technology at our disposal, whether we are able to enjoy them or not depends on our ability to absorb them and make use of them. For those who cannot do technology, they can still access it if they can do good in their area of specialisation and earn the means to acquire it. This indirect route of acquisition of knowledge and technology is by far the most efficient and hence prevalent today.

But there are societies today which are unable to enjoy the frontiers of technology because of their inability to absorb and to apply. We know societies which have spent a mass amount of cash to build sophisticated equipment which are left to rot because they are not being maintained properly or simply left unutilised. It is this waste of technology that is probably most pitiful especially when the drudgery of living can so much reduced with the aid of some simple machines.

The standard of living is therefore nothing but the state of our minds, as all inventions are the product of the imaginations of human beings. The world is so much richer for its multitude of gadgets and fiction.

It is inevitable that those who have an overdose of technology would yearn for the simpler life of the "past" which can always be found in some remote interiors or islands. But probably only for a respite. This is where "cultural" tourism comes in.

We decide how we want to live - except for those who are held in confinement against their will.

1 comment:

walla said...

Maybe it's too much focus on standard and not enough on living. Why? Standards can be measured as common metrics but living is more personal and less quantifiable.

Can we have standard with living? Progress in industry and economy can raise standards and identify targets and goals that may motivate people to work harder and smarter to achieve them in the race to acquire mobile options which could well be the candidate as the base standard of all standards.

It is strategically advantageous to have more options or choices at one's disposal. If this cannot, try something else, for to stand idle won't change anything, least the negative change that has arrived to thwart plans and goals. If this job or opening or method doesn't pan out, to be able to replace it with another affords ease and peace of mind, for to be able to do something than nothing is taken to be better, as action reflects living. Thus, to insurance, assurance.

As a term, mobile options seems to say the options themselves are dynamic, changing hue and height with each day in which everyone gets battered by changes which more often than not creates conflicts which destabilizes peace of mind that brews stress which over time extracts more and more coins of hope and courage from a dwindling account until a crippling deficit is reached whereupon all hope is lost whose seat then gets occupied by cynicism which in turn catalyzes more hopelessness, giving rise to inertia, shooing away luck or more realistically the attractor factor.

As for luck, some people get to be in the right place at the right time doing the right thing. But that's an exception else everyone will be able to achieve high common standards even from individualized living.

Most, however, will have to contend with the tangential forces of daily living, in many parts a grind, in which the dynamics require one to keep up purpose over extended periods so as to ride over the intermittent rough spots for the larger good of family and friends to be succored by principled success. Even when the last postscript reads one is transiently alone on this planet in this universe. Because each is all the while on his or her own track while living....

...And it happened again today. The packet opened by itself.