Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
thanks for this great diary, stormy.

where did you grow up?

the relative value of money dependent on geography...fascinating.

having lived with the poor in many cultures, i see very clearly that money does not bring heart-happiness.

my job has me working on the ultra-rich often, and sometimes the tip alone is more than a chinese factory worker earns a week.

this does not sit well with me, but....

as needs must....tension is tension, money is money is money to buy what you need so they leave you alone in peace with yer internet connection!

we are trained to value money above all, as it is the most fungible form of energy around, yet.....having it does not make the whole world work better, just as parts may suffer, some may flower if one has less money to be envied for...

i find an energetic elegance in seeing how much i can reprogram myself to be content with little, brainwashed as i am!

first to judge my own success by status symbols and consumer-power, later by my own gut feeling that while we were being told how fortunate we were (and we are!), something was fundamentally terribly wrong with the picture as it was presented to me, growing up clueless in europe during the 60's.

when what madison avenue named the 'hippy' movement came along, i was ripe for re-education.

and even thogh there was a lot of tragic waste during those years, to hard drugs mostly, and terrorism in the 70's, there was also a kernel of good judgement, imo, that encouraged me to trust my gut and look for answers to my deepest questions 'out of the box'.

and what a box it was, now i can see it from the outside...

and yes, getting financially poorer may well be on the cards for many of us, but maybe we'll find a kind of solidarity we have largely forgotten in our mad race to 'make it'.

and maybe, looking back, we'll feel richer unhooking ourselves from a value system that has waste and corruption written right into its dna, and find satisfaction in different, healthier ways, like co-operation rather than childish competition.

if i didn't think we were capable of doing this eventually, i'd just roll over and give it all up...

what else is worth believing in?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 12:04:03 PM EST
I actually grew up in a lot of places, but the shopping mall in question was in a large, faceless suburb of a major East Coast metropolitan area.  If I remember the quote correctly, nature writer Bill McKibben once described the area something like this:  "as devoid of quirky regional character as anywhere on Earth."  Which I thought was pretty accurate.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 12:17:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IMHO, hippie movement and political activism in Europe in the sixties and seventies plus travelling to the East and South (and not exactly as a tourist) gave a sort of immunity to consumerism to some of the people who grow at that time.

I actually have chosen to be poorer in the sense that I could have a job at some company and make more money instead of being a freelancer and my own boss.

Like kcurie, I do not own a car. Here public transportation is good enough, even if you live, like me, 40 km from the city. This evening I was in Barcelona and it was raining and after 8.30 there are less trains running and I had to wait like 40 minutes for the train and for a moment I thought whether I should buy a car. But as soon as the train started to move and I picked up my reading of Amin Maalouf "Origines" (Prix Mediterranée 2004), the idea of wanting a car suddenly seemed so ridiculous...

So I think I prefer to be richer in time and poorer in money or things...

by amanda2006 on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 07:38:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series