Friday, February 04, 2011

Sears and the Disposable Society

The Sears appliance truck I passed today said something very prominently on the side of the truck about picking up old appliances at the same time it delivers new ones. Sears is playing up the fact that when someone gets a new appliance, it is very important to the purchaser that they get rid of the old one. I imagine most people don't ask and don't care what happens to their old stuff, as long as it is taken away. How many of these appliances still work well, or at least would work well with a minor repair? Probably most of them. If these "old" appliances are refurbished, then they could be given or sold at a very low cost to low income people. You may think you know where I am going with this --- there would be much less dumped in the landfill. That is definitely true, but I have another point here as well. If more things are refurbished and repaired, there would be fewer new appliances and other goods purchased. And this would put a lot of people out of jobs.

So what happens to all these people who lose work? Well, although they are not currently equipped for it, they could go back and work the land, growing what they need for themselves and their family and possibly part of their community. I can hear a lot of you saying that this would be boring or unfullfilling. What I am here to tell you is that our society has it all messed up. We are on a search for happiness that never finds the pot of gold, but we continue the fruitless search, never realizing that the search is our problem. We had what we needed before we started the search. Once people began to try and find God through material goods, money, fame, power, and achievements, they went down a path that created a collective resignation and depression. When we looked to these things to satisfy us, and they did not, we went after more of them in the hopes that upping the ante would do it. In reality, it brought us more despair and put us in a vicious downward cycle. Fortunately, there are a number of people who have hit bottom and who have seen this cycle for what it is. They have cried out that there must be a better way, and they have turned their faces away from worldly things and back to God. I am not saying there is anything wrong with worldly things as I have them and enjoy them. But what is "wrong" is using these things as a substitute for God and His Love.

We think that there are all these things that must be acquired, all these achievements which must be met, when the only thing we need is Him. Western society has derided cultures such as the Native Americans and aborigines as primitive. We are the ones who are primitive in our ignorance and arrogance. Native cultures knew their Oneness with God through the land, through animals, and through each other. You don't need anything else! This is where your joy lies. It is so simplistic that we overlook it. They had shelter, food to eat, close relationships with not only their family but the whole community (which functioned as a whole), and a personal relationship With their God or Creator. We should all be so fortunate to return to a life such as this, one of simplicity, beauty, gentleness, and Love.

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