I feel a bit sheepish inaugurating this blog with a quotation of my own devising, but gratitude has been muchly on my mind. Phones, devices, and technology are symptomatic of our tendency to want the latest and greatest. And it extends to so many aspects of our lives… furniture, bathrooms, kitchens, vehicles, entire homes. And not just things, even relationships and people may become subject to this rampant case of upgraditis.
Gratitude gets lots of talk these days, but how much of that talk is translated into action (or in the case of upgrading, ideally to inaction)? I wonder, does some of it stem from expectations? Denmark, along with other Nordic countries, seems to regularly top the world happiness rankings. There are several theories for this, and one exploration evolved around the notion that, for one thing, Danes tend to have lower expectations. They don’t want, need, or expect a lot and so however things turn out is usually better than expected. In North America, we have many wants and high expectations. And, collectively, we sure don’t seem all that happy.
Another perspective is that all the upgrading is just a big distraction. Is it orchestrated? Is it just our human tendency? Another thing to befuddle, confuse and divert us from experiencing reality as it is. T.S. Elliot wrote, “we are distracted from distraction by distraction.” I have this notion that most things function primarily as one of: distraction, enjoyment, or edification–and that we often fool ourselves into believing that something is the second or third when really it is the first. But we may be too distracted to realize.
For those who live with the privilege of knowing that life can be better, it can paradoxically make life seem less good.