Posts Tagged ‘gratification’

Imagine for a moment a petri dish with agar.  That is one of those round clear dishes with a jelly like material that bacteria can use for food.  If you put a couple bacteria in the dish it will multiply until eventually it consumes all the agar.  Then, it dies and the dish can no longer support any bacteria at all.  This is not unlike a cancer that grows until it consumes its host.

The world is like that round petri dish.  The agar is like all its natural resources.  Humans are like the bacteria.  Eventually, if we don’t find a way to limit population and even reduce it, we will consume all its natural resources and like a cancer, both our host and the human race will die off.

Is this so hard to understand?  The world has a cancer and it is us.
How long will it take to either stop the cancer or be the end of Humans?  Maybe the host, earth, will solve the problem with dramatic climate change.  Maybe it will vomit out a super volcano and solve the problem.  Maybe humans will become sane and intervene before it is too late.  Today I would not bet on that solution.

Our culture is based on GROWTH. How much will the stock market grow?  How much can I own?  How can we grow our business?  How can we increase our memberships in our organizations; grow our budgets; pay bigger salaries to ourselves?  How can we grow up?  How much can we consume, eat, wear, etc.  Without growth, so our current “religion of capitalism” dictates, the world stagnates; our standard of living declines; the future is bleak.  We live in a culture where the blind lead the blind.

Since each of us is a short-timer in the history of this planet, we probably won’t suffer any catastrophic cataclysm.  So, we can just continue to ignore any responsibility we might have for the situation and leave it to some future generation to suffer the consequences of our lack of concern or action.  Like I say, “Its all about me.”  Its all about me, right now, who cares about the future that we won’t be around to see?


Posted: January 31, 2012 in psychology
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Its part of the human condition, a preference for immediate gratification over postponed gratification.  The ability of children to postpone immediate gratification correlates with academic success.  For most of us, healthy habits fail due to our desire for gratification now rather than insuring good health later.  No doubt, this tendency for immediate gratification has evolutionary roots when food and other life necessities were unpredictable.

In my memory, it used to be that financial rewards were the result of saving for the long term. Today you are rewarded by quick windfalls in the market or by manipulating the system rather than by honest work.  Elections are won by the decisions of people who only pay attention at the last moments before voting, not by long term investments in knowing what their vote means.  Most of us are deciding what to do based on the short term rewards, financial and otherwise.  And, groups who understand this tendency are able to take advantage in finances, elections, and social justice issues.

Churches find satisfaction in their service projects because they provide immediate gratification in helping.  They can be so involved in meeting short time needs that they don’t have time to consider root causes.  It is difficult to get people to think in terms of what can be done to prevent floods when the water is seeping under the door or to prepare for an earthquake that just might not happen in the next 10 or 50 years.

Here’s the thing.  Now that I am older and have a grandson, I am beginning to think about what the world will be like in the next 100 years, long after I am gone. [I think this also has to do with age.  see Time Compression blog.]  I have done a lot of service, but what have I done to deal with root causes, looking out for the common good down the road?  At least, I am glad to participate in some community organizing that is concerned for more than the most immediate gratification issue, the Metropolitan Alliance for Common Good.