A Material World and the (Wo)man in the Mirror
We all live in our own worlds, secluded from the happenings which we do not want in our lives. We carefully choose the best possible neighbourhood to live in and strive for the job that will gain us the best reputation. Only persons from a certain “crowd” is allowed in our social circles. Our children are sent to schools where they will encounter only preapproved children of a certain social standing. We avoid the shops and roads that will bring the “undesired” and “undeserving” across our paths and turn off the news when charities ask for blankets in the winter. We live in denial as we shop at those stores that will donate 50c for every R100 you spend; “I am helping those less fortunate” you say as you turn into the parking lot. We make our existence so isolated that it becomes so easy to complain of what we do not have as keeping up with the Joneses become life goals. And so, without realising it, our lives become ruled by the material instead of the necessary.
I am no different as I turn up my car window when the beggars hobble closer at the traffic light. I kid myself by telling myself that it is because I never carry cash with me or that I cannot stand to see human suffering so I look away. I have always been thankful for what I have and always made sure to thank God for my blessings, but that doesn’t stop the human flaws from seeping through.
In a world where technology has become such a crucial part of our daily lives, it is very easy to get sucked into the vortex of materialism. We work so hard to earn just enough the buy the latest gadget only to see a better version the next day. We look with greed in our eyes at the colleague going on that overseas holiday we so covet and become bitter. It is understandable that we are all trapped in these lives as everything around us, from the music we listen to, to the life insurance brokers who tell us what our family needs, convince us daily that it is OK to want all these things.
Maybe it is time to minimise our lives. It is time to evaluate, truthfully, all that consumes us and reflect on our own material goals. Look to those who are working six days a week for minimum wage and ask yourself, “How do they do it?” Find your happiness not in the material but in people, and then we can perhaps even look to rectifying the damage we have caused our communities and planet. By taking off the blinkers caused by unrealistic and materialistic goals we will see the beauty around us.
The late, and great, MJ had it straight, “it starts with the man in mirror”.