Thursday, July 17, 2008

3x Thursday

Questions from this week's 3x Thursday:

1. How come we have to put so much effort into keeping our bodies healthy? Has it always been this hard?

I suspect that part of it is that we're just more health-conscious, these days. Maybe I'm mistaken, but I get the feeling that we focus more on health-- eating the right diet, getting enough exercise, taking vitamins and other supplements, going to doctors for exams, etc.-- than previous generations did. Not to say that we all actually carry through on these things, but most of us know that we're "supposed" to. We're constantly bombarded with health-related information. (Personally, I hate health news. I don't want to have to think about health stuff every day of my life. I'd gladly leave that for doctors and nurses and pharmaceutical types.)

Believe it or not, people today (or at least those of us in modernized countries) have more leisure time than in any other period of history, which means we also have more time to worry about things like health. For most of the past, the majority of people were busy enough just making sure they had the food and other necessities for survival.

Of course, easy access to food tempts us to overindulge. Paired with our "sit-down" lifestyle, this leads to all sorts of health problems.

2. Why do you think some people put things like work and 'having nice things' before just being a happy person?

A number of things come to mind:
  • They think that they'll achieve happiness through work and "nice things".
  • There are problems in their lives, and working/getting new things is a distraction.
  • Their parents modeled this behavior, so they don't know how else to "be".
Of course, it could also be that they enjoy their work. As long as you derive satisfaction from your job-- and don't work yourself sick-- work can be part of being a happy person. And everyone likes getting something nice from time to time. It's all a matter of moderation and keeping things in perspective.

3. How come human beings in general are so selfish? Don't you think we should be helping each other out instead?

Are we that selfish? I mean, yeah, I know that basic human instinct is to take care of #1, but I believe that most of us are willing to help those we see in real need.

I believe we should all strive to take care of ourselves and our own families first. ("Charity begins at home.") If everyone did that to his honest best ability, there would be few left in need-- and those few could easily be provided for through the generosity of others.

Unfortunately, these days it seems that more and more people expect a handout from the Government, which really means a handout from The Rest of Us-- and this makes some of us less likely to feel in a charitable mood.

When we see people with their hands constantly out-- people who squander what they have-- who refuse to live frugally and give up extravagances (alcohol, cigarettes, video games, name brand food and clothes)-- who continue to create children they have no intention of supporting (physically, emotionally, or spiritually)-- who seem uninterested in finding a way to contribute to their own up-keep-- we rightfully question where charity ends and entitlement begins. Yes, it is that feeling that some people believe they are entitled to your hard-earned money-- money you traded some of your precious life to earn-- it is that sense of entitlement that withers the generous impulse in the human heart.

I'm willing to do something of my own free will to help people in genuine need, but I don't think it's any one else's place to tell me what I "should" be doing. It's not selfishness to realize that you earned what you have, and that it's up to you to decide how and where and when to use it.

For anyone who believes that we're a selfish nation, I recommend this article by John Stossel: "Are Americans Cheap?"