Sunday, October 14, 2012

Loose Blogger's Consortium (LBC): Acceptance/Accepting

We have become overly comfortable with acceptance. It seems to me that in this day and age, most of us (or certainly a majority of us in the urban/westernised/industrialised regions of the world) accept anything and everything that's thrown at us. By accepting here I am referring to a behaviour which is more akin to unquestioning conformity. Social psychologists have been pulling their hair apart for decades if not centuries to understand the whole concept of how groups behave, conformity and so on. The problem, however, is that things we have been accepting in this manner may not necessarily be good for us and most of them are not, if only were pause for a moment to question their validity and just think about them objectively. This is hardly the case though. Good time to give some examples in defence of this observation.

Everyone likes watching TV and it is generally accepted social norm to do so. Indeed several conversations people have everyday are in some sort of way related to something they watched on the TV. While there is nothing inherently wrong with watching TV, the problem starts with the content we watch. Like most things, TV can be a good and a bad thing, but taking a long term perspective, it may well have done more harm than good to those who prefer watching anything that results in lower utilisation of their ability to think. Advertisement is probably the biggest devil, followed closely by sensationalist media, programmes about celebrities, soap-operas of course and a whole other load of rubbish.

Similarly, we tend to accept processed food without judging its actual merit. Corporations and governments alike are hardly ever keen to talk about this subject. Most people would never realise but over 80% of processed food contains corn and soya in some form or another. It would take us forever to go over why this is a problem. I think it would be fair to suggest that we begin with an assumption that processed food is bad for us. We can debate the truth behind this while we are not eating it, as chances are it would do us more good than harm anyway. Plus it has been proved beyond doubt that this is true. Michael Pollan, an American author and New York Times columnist has gone as far as calling the whole processed food deal as "...Corn's evolutionary strategy to overtake the world while humans pretend to be the smartest species..." For those interested, I would recommend watching his documentary Food Inc. If that doesn't change the way you think about food, nothing will. It may be funny and diffuse the tension for a bit but it doesn't change the obvious fact that nothing beats eating healthy, organic and un-processed food as much as possible. As for the arguments about organic food being too fancy and unaffordable, I will be trying to dispel this myth in subsequent posts on this topic.

The list of such acceptable and indeed expected things to do also include being in debt, which is now considered normal and a lot of times we inevitably get into it whether we like it or not. Also consumerism has become a lot more acceptable. Do we really need that new mobile phone every 18 months? Do we really need to upgrade our cars, computers, home appliances, gadgets every so often and buy every new item that's out there? I doubt it. I admit of being guilty to some of these myself but that makes my questioning all the more appealing. It feels good now to be on the other end of the tunnel and knowing for sure that the light you saw really exists. The list is endless.

So here's what we can try doing to make our lives better and in turn make a difference to everyone including the environment.
  1. Avoid processed/fast food as much as possible. Buy local and in season products. Look out for that green, recycled or Fair Trade logos where available. It won't kill us to not have Mangoes, Strawberries or Watermelons all year round.
  2. Stop watching and more importantly believing everything they show on the TV. It is perfectly fine to watch some of the stuff they show on TV but we only need to think before wasting hours in front of the idiot box. One would realise, as I did, that most of what we watch is rubbish and we can easily live without it if not have a better life without it. No harm giving it a try. The feeling of liberation and saving time is amazing.
  3. Try not getting into debt as much as possible. We can live perfectly happily without credit cards, store cards, jumping at "buy now pay later" deals and falling for personal loans our banks try to sell us. Having said this though, credit is a good way to leverage when used sensibly and responsibly. Recklessness is what causes all the trouble.
These may be small things but if enough people do them, we will be living in a happier world within no time. We just need to take a stand and refuse to accept things at face value. More ranting will continue in future posts.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium, where AnuConradDeliriousgaelikaaGrannymarMagpie11Maria the Silver FoxNoorPadmumPaulRamanaShackmanThe Old FossilWill Knottand I write on the same topic. Please visit the other blogs to get eleven different takes on today's topic, chosen by Shackman. Do visit their blogs to see different takes on the same topic.


Delirious said...

You have made some great points, with which I wholeheartedly agree. I would make one more point though, which is that our current society is moving toward a trend of accepting any moral behavior on the grounds of freedom of choice. It has become "politically incorrect" to speak up and call any social behavior immoral. In this way, I think we as a large society have truly lost our moral compass. If truth exists in this world, then it must be that some things are right, and some things are wrong, no matter how much society would like to accept them.

Grannymar said...

I am smiling at the last three suggestions.

1) About half of us in the LBC have been around since before fast food was invented.... Wait now, I got that wrong: Bananas! They are still the only fast food to pass my lips.

2) I got rid of my TV over fourteen years ago - I sound like a broken record. ;) I prefer to make my own pictures in my head and not be force fed exaggerated news or mind numbingly ridiculous programmes.

3) We oldies come from an era of scrimp, scrape and save before you bought anything - sometimes that could have been for a couple of years. Of course it was in the days before technology when items were made to last a lifetime and not a wet week, like they are today.

Does anyone of today's generation know how to change a fuse or an element in an iron and how to change a wheel on a car, or check the oil in a car? Not alone do I know how, but I have done so, as well as changing the oil, the oil filter and the spark plugs, and goodness knows what else.

This is beginning to sound like a CV for a good wife.... Don't tell Ramana!! :lol:

Rohit said...

@ Delirious: Thank you, the point you made is absolutely true. I completely agree, and I've been thinking about what you said more for a few days and my post today will be inspired by your comment so double thanks! :) I would say what I have to say in response to this in that post if thats alright..

Rohit said...

@ Grannymar: And I am smiling at your comment, in a rather ashamed manner. There's no way I can deny what you just said. Esp. with your 3rd point, you are having to refer to your time, when you were young, to an era of scrip and scrape but I wonder whether you really knew it to be anything different? Like it was quite natural to you to behave in that way and it did you no harm from what I can see. If anything you and those of your generation perhaps ended up becoming more well rounded people who know the true value of things, be it money, achievements, success and most importantly you know first hand how it feels to be one of the so called "have nots" though not that extreme I hope. This realisation started dawning on me only a few months ago that I am and am sure most of us from my generation are too dependent on someone outside themselves for most things. And your examples are perfect for this purpose, its really not that hard to do those things ourselves. Is it laziness? or may just be the not bothered attitude. Anyhow, I should be focusing on walking the talk lest I be called a hypocrite. Lets see how far I manage to go :)

P.S.: Your CV is very impressive though, but you've probably got a few more days before he reads after returning from his holiday. I am very much looking forward to his response to this =P