Home > Kev's Blog > 26-Oct-2014 Living in the First World

26-Oct-2014 Living in the First World

Sunday 26 October 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

There was an article in the paper today I wanted to highlight. This is not just something I “liked” but it resonates to my very core and I believe in passionately and have taken positive steps to change my life because of. Refer link here.

A common criticism of our political leaders is they’re “out of touch” with the general public yet, if you examine the preoccupations of average Australians, they suggest we’re the blinkered ones.

As forces both destructive and constructive, powerful almost beyond comprehension, roil across the globe – be they religious, geopolitical, environmental or technological – the unruly rump of our population is more focused on silly TV shows, sport, their smartphone, sandwich fillings and property prices.

Why? Because this is their defining reality, living in the gilded First World bubble enveloping this country.

As reported by Credit Suisse recently, Australians are the richest people in the world, with 1.23 million of us now millionaires thanks to high property prices. The rest of us, however, still eat lavishly, never have to look over our shoulder in fear and can take long, hot showers whenever we want.

These “simple pleasures” which we accept as our birthright were the stuff of dreams for almost every person on the planet before the Industrial Revolution and remain so for much of the Third World.

Necessities we once bled for on a daily basis – food, safety, shelter – are now “bare essentials”. Our “needs” are so embarrassingly filled, we dream up new ones at a pace that litters streets with TVs, gas barbecues and white goods bearing cheery “still works fine” notes.

A T-shirt and thongs (with jeans) will get you into most bars in the country and a good number of offices on mufti day thanks to the beneficence of climate and our unassuming culture. The glut of natural resources we need only scratch red dirt to recover will see out our lifetimes at least.

The luck of the lucky country has not only held, it’s deepened, broadened and hardened into heedlessness of pretty much every major global issue – until an Ebola case lands at Tullamarine, a jihadist appears in Bankstown or a deceased airline passenger happens to be an accountant from Brisbane.

You can learn an enormous amount about a person if you know what holds their attention. As a predictor of behaviour, the attentional state is pivotal.

If your attention is focused on cake, it’s a good chance you’ll eat similar. If your attention’s on the body of a certain single person at a party, it’s a fair bet you’ll instigate flirtation. Can’t get machetes and shallow graves out of your mind? Let’s pass on the second date, eh?

Societies are no different and what holds their attention offers significant insight into behavioural trends.

A fortnight ago, all four stories on the landing page of a national “news” site recapped a reality TV show. More Aussies now know the specs of the iPhone 6 better than the purpose of the Large Hadron Collider. We seek “inspiration” from cooking and renovation shows in massive numbers as we get fatter, spending more time couch-bound.

When we do get angry, it’s not about people starving or going insane in offshore detention – it’s over a poorly phrased tweet on Q&A, a stupid T-shirt in Woolworths or bicycle lanes.

We have access to more information than ever, yet the majority of us remain wilfully ignorant of the forces shaping the headlines – power and money – and the inescapable fact that – on a world level – we’re the fattest, smuggest cats of all.

The concept of the “global village” we’ve been sold since the ’60s seems rather farcical when a good slice of its population never even bother to look out their window.


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