When you look in to the future, when you plan for it, how far do you go? You, as an individual, in your own mind about your future, what do you see,
and for how long?
Recently, as I was watching my friend eat his spilt curry and rice off his bed-sheets with chopsticks. He asked if I thought it was gross. I replied with: “Nah man, I do the same thing.” And we smiled. He felt vindicated and I felt at ease, because neither of us thought it was gross to eat food off the bed, and we both found some kind of pleasure in the fact that other people might be grossed out by the act, while we were comfortable with it.
Caring more about the state of your bed-sheets than the comfort you can get from laying on your side and sloppily eating curry at one in the morning after a trying day is a materialistic way of looking at the world, but it smacks of a certain kind of forward thinking: Get food on the sheets, those sheets gon’ need to be washed, and gawwwwd washing sheets is annoying/ washing the sheets takes time away from other tasks, like um, internet research…? Or like, the job you do to pay for those bed-sheets/anything else you own?
I honestly don’t care that I would have to wash the sheets, because if the sheets need to be washed, then I don’t have anything better to do than to wash them, really. To do a load of washing the next day with all the other things that also need to be washed is not the worst or hardest thing in the world. It’s not even close. I wanted to lay on my fucking side and eat curry and not have to get a plate and sit at a table and then wash those dishes before my friend’s housemate woke up to feel uncomfortable about the mess. One could certainly not accuse me of being materialistic, but to those who care more about sheets than I do might view this decision making process, this lifestyle, as lazy.
I, however, do not think I am lazy, I simply display a different kind of forward thinking. With my system, the same amount of work/chores is getting done, it’s just being done differently, and at different times, and then I also get to do something small and inexpensive that makes me smile/is good for my sanity. I suppose materialistic people get their kicks from having fine, good quality, clean Things; perhaps their sanity is nurtured by looking after that one million thread count bed sheet as if it were a living being, because their most satisfying comfort comes from the luxury of that insanely soft thing on their skin when they drift off to sleep. Which would be nice, yeah… but at what cost? Bajillion thread count bed-sheets and nappy san oxyaction plus won’t be around forever, but the fun that comes from eating rice off your bed with chopsticks probably will.
I look at people in positions of authority in this country, and at the moment I see (to vaguely paraphrase what a friend said to me about it) a bunch of fat fucks burning a bunch of shit for quick money. I see selfish, I see old and industrial and concrete and steam-engine mentality; I see out-of-touch humans bred with an information consumption modus operandi that is out of date, unsustainable and really difficult to mesh with the knowledge that there are over 1 billion people in the world who starve every day. These old mates are getting their kicks from short-term investments and manipulation of citizens with “dog-whistle politics”. I am getting my kicks from investing time and energy in to learning about sustainable economic development and accepting every offer for involvement in something creative.
The difference between us, perhaps, is that I feel as if I have more time to play with, and I am concerned about the good of humanity as a whole. Everyone, not just my friends and my family and the people who look like me. The people I am talking about, with the out of date world view, are closer to death, generally speaking, and come from a culture which did not encourage long term planning, at least not longer than one’s own lifespan, or that of your heir.
Perhaps one day, as I get closer to my old-age, I will start to get more materialistic. Maybe I will get tired of sacrificing luxuries and profits for the sake of a simple and less cumbersome life. Maybe I will come to realise that most of my life was spent making terrible, juvenile decisions, and I’ll alleviate the pain of this history with selling my writing ability to Gina Rinehart, convincing everyone that the mining tax is BLOODY UN-AUSTRALIAN, and I will eat conveniently packaged servings of highly processed food and buy a big ass television to watch dumb ass reality shows about people loads of plastic surgery and take pills to get to sleep. Maybe that will happen, because this country certainly sets a precedent for it. Hell, the last 60 years of western society has set a precedent for it.