Wednesday, May 15, 2013
A Question of Entitlement
People are entitled. What is entitlement? It is the idea that we are owed something-money, job, dinner ready on the table-because of the work we do, or who we are. Their are many times when we are truly entitled to something, mainly life, liberty and happiness (this is entitlement in it's most basic form). The genius it took to see this was nothing short of remarkable and it is the foundation of some of the worlds most profound thoughts and ideas. However, entitlement has taken a darker turn recently. Many ask why shouldn't I have a new phone, car or great paying job-I have vast potential and great worth! Take a moment to observe the people around you, finding this attitude is very easy these days. The major issue with entitlement is that it has so viciously inserted itself into our everyday lives. With the advent of mass marketing, social media and new digital frontiers we have pushed everyday people into a realm of artificial materialism through access to circles outside of their means. We push and push people to think that they won't be happy without material possessions and when they achieve those things and find the reward lacking, we push them to the next new item that will make them happy. All this is done without consideration. I supposed this commentary could turn more to the idea of consideration. In all the rush to achieve and acquire have we stopped to ask ourselves fundamental questions about our own happiness? Furthermore have we asked ourselves the difficult question of why we deserve the things that we thing we deserve? Why should I have a great job, what have I done to deserve that? Have we paused a moment to consider the other people in the world and what they have achieved? The answer is to rely on creating. Creating new experiences for ourselves, creating opportunity to slow down and enjoy the things we have in our lives right now. Why not try to make the best cup of coffee in the world-instead of going to a drive through coffee shop and having someone make it for you. Why not try to create for yourself the things that you want from others? Entitlement has brought us to a place where skill sets of the individual have been marginalized to such a degree that people don't where food comes from or how engines work. Entitlement has caused the death of common sense; if something breaks someone will fix it, if it is beyond repair we will buy a new one, someone else will fix and solve. This problem is not on a household scale, look at our manufacturing capabilities from the end of World War 2 to the current day. It was not the infrastructure in itself that allowed us to create all the items we needed to win a war, but a state of mind that has been lost. We ship jobs overseas when people are out of work-due in part to many people's unwillingness to work in a job "beneath them". We have a population of college educated people and an outdated expectation left over from the 70's that if you go to college and earn a degree you are entitled to a high paying job with benefits. If we could take a moment and be honest with ourselves, look deep and fully understand that we have to work for what we want, we can't have it all (nor should we want it all) and at the end of the day if you have a quiet moment to sit and enjoy what you do have; that's all we are ever really entitled to.