People whose lives seem to revolve around consumer goods sometimes appear to live essentially meaningless lives, since their lives are all about consuming, and not producing. Their consumerist behaviour precludes the productivity of creativity, which to me is the basis of a meaningful life. I understand why anyone would label this consumerist behaviour as excessive, but we must have more empathy for such people. We are all threatened with the anxiety of meaninglessness, but sometimes this is expressed via the anxiety of annihilation.
This annihilation is not just the destruction of our bodies, but the destruction of the key parts of our perceived selves — our social circles, our ways of life, our possessions, and so on. Buying consumer goods is an expression of that fear, with each additional acquisition symbolising not just buying power, but the power to survive and thrive in spite of the threats that seem to press from all sides.
Moreover, almost all of us actually are those consumers, to some degree. After all, who has never jumped at the thought of a discount on something we really want? I admit that from some objective point of view, this consumerist behaviour is excessive.
Life should be lived with courage, and if so many of us were not as afraid of annihilation, perhaps we would see more creativity in the form of compassion creating positive change in society through compassionate acts , art creating beauty , and so on. However, when even millionaires seem to be obsessed about cheap cars or fashion, we must have empathy for them and not condemn their behaviour as excessive when they may be concerned for their children, for whom a million dollars may seem insufficient.
This excessive concern with getting things and spending money may be spiritually, psychologically, and socially unhealthy and counterproductive, and must be resisted by those who see the damage that such behaviour can cause. As members of global society, we should be more concerned with building and shaping the world into one where nobody will have to feel insecure about the necessities of life, including food, shelter, medicine, and education.
I would add sections on: I mean it literally: I just turned my head to look to the right for awhile, and I was surprised by a sharp throb in my head.
Reading this has been an exquisite experience of the bittersweet kind, particularly as a reminder of what can happen when decent people close their eyes just enough to the realities of politics. What I want to say to all the students who flock daily to my website to read my essays hi! I appreciate the fact that so many of you are coming here to read my writing, but please register the fact that you need to head out to your libraries and bookshops to get reading material for yourself.
When I was nine, I spent a good number of months begging my parents for a chess computer. I was good at chess, though — I was already on the school team, and three years later I would go on to place fourth in my age group at a national tournament.
My small but meaningful level of success really was thanks in part to the clunky chess computer my parents bought for me after enduring my begging and whining their acquiescence was probably also due to the fact that they could no longer defeat their child at the game. It is probably obvious why the game of chess, while torturously boring to most people, remains important to me. The memories of learning, practicing, and winning certainly are dear in my mind, but the game still retains a romance that has seen me continue playing it to this day.
My first significant memories of chess centre around my mother, who taught me the basic moves, and then to love and hate the game. Our first matches were even, since we both were groping in the dark when it came to strategy. Slowly, however, I began to defeat her regularly. This was probably due to my more regular exposure to the game while she did the housework, I could play chess against myself. I was surprised, shocked, amazed, nay, utterly astounded! Apparently she had gone to her brother, an engineer who plays chess at a very high level, to ask for help in winning a final chess match with her son before she called it quits.
He probably also told her that she needed to practice more to play at a higher level, something that a busy housewife who also took care of aged parents could not afford. Now that I have done some growing up, chess no longer holds the same position it once did in my life. My preteen self could probably easily defeat me now, but I still have continued to play casually.
Sitting down at a chessboard across from another human being, I feel the world slowing down, and there is a soothing intensity that accompanies a well-played game, even if I end up losing.
I am unsure if those feelings are nourished by my childhood experience, or by the nature of the game itself. Of course, chess still reminds me of the sweeter moments of my childhood.
Consequently, while chess takes up much less of my time now, the game itself is still dear to me. Let us start with the proposition that it is often not easy to do the right thing. Yet, almost by definition, it is a good thing to do the right thing. It often costs us no money to do what is morally and ethically right, but these difficult things that litter the paths of our lives often prove to be the very best things in life.
I once found a fifty dollar note fluttering about in a car park, back in primary school when my daily allowance amounted to a grand thirty cents. This find obviously was an unbelievable fortune to my young eyes, a fortune I was loath to part with. This decision may not have cost me any money in a technical sense, but in the moment it certainly felt like it did. The police listened to my story, and — shockingly, to my present sensibilities — told us that they would keep the money for three days, just in case someone came forward to claim the money.
They told us that if the money went unclaimed, I could rightfully claim it as mine, because of my honesty. This experience proved to me that the best things in life are free. Incidentally, we managed to retrieve the money after the three days passed; the difficult and rewarding thing that I did indeed proved to be free.
I had been having an extremely stressful day studying in the library, when I decided to head to a snack vending machine to give myself some kind of snack boost. I was thoroughly preoccupied with panicky thoughts about the upcoming examinations while waiting for my turn.
The girl in front of me stood aside with a strangely distressed look on her face while rummaging about for more coins. She quickly realised that she had no coins left, and was about to leave without the snack she paid for when I told her to wait. There was an easy solution to the problem at hand.
All I had to do was to buy the same snack that was hanging off the shelf — sugared peanuts — instead of the more expensive cookies I originally wanted. So, in a way, this decision not only cost me no money, it helped me save money. Her resulting smile was the ray of light I sorely needed that dark and anxious day, and I had no need for a psychologist to tell me that my brain processed this experience as pleasurable. In our age of mass over-consumption, many of us need the reminder that the very best things in life — whether they are decisions, experiences, or objects — are often free, costing us no money.
It may not always be easy, but it is a good thing, as comedian Russell Peters has famously said , to do the right thing. I have had only a few unforgettable experiences in the sixteen years of my life thus far, but one of the most positive unforgettable experiences I can think of is my experience of learning how to play the guitar.
It is also one of the most meaningful experiences of my life, because of how much I have learnt from it. Approaching the guitar as the beginner was also a considerably painful experience — but that pain made the experience so much sweeter. Two years ago, after finishing my Secondary Two examinations, I decided to learn how to play the guitar. At that time, my family only had an old nylon string guitar that was extremely difficult to tune.
It smelt funny, like dust and wood, and always left my hand aching when I tried to get my fingers round its large neck. I learnt two basic chords on it, but I was very quickly yearning for a new steel string acoustic guitar that one of my closest friends had. His guitar was so much louder than mine, and it sounded so much nicer. Its bright, percussive tone was exactly what I was looking for.
If I had tried, it probably would have taken me till now to save up for it! Consequently, I did what any child would do — I whined and begged for a new guitar. As I tried every trick in my begging book, I happened to confidently make my father a promise that I truly believed I could keep. With a prolonged sigh that must have lasted a week, my father eventually gave in, but not before he got a word in himself. Thusly, I received my first ever guitar — a beautiful steel string acoustic.
It was just so much fun. The problem with transitioning from a nylon string guitar to a steel string guitar is, as any guitarist can tell you, a painful one. There is a reason we wear clothes with nylon, and not steel, in them. Click here for email address to submit your article. Thank you for sharing. This is a good material for the development of creative thought. I'm writing an essay for more than five years. Sometimes creative crisis comes. In this moment you need to distract yourself with other thoughts.
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