Thursday, September 4, 2008

What We Need and Don't Need

My last post got me thinking--what do people really need? And more importantly, what don't we need?

I had made up a list, a while ago, of things I think we do need.* Here it is:
  • air, water, food, rest, connection (with other human beings)
  • shelter, energy, clothing (at least in cool climates) and foot protection, sewage and sanitation
  • security and safety, health/healing, recuperation time, time outdoors/in nature
  • transportation, communication, education/training
  • culture, art, music, dance, literature, (etc,) spirituality (spiritual connections), challenging activities (problem solving, craft, strenous outdoor exercise, sports, games, competition), social gatherings
  • touch, affection, and, yes, sex (for connection, pleasure, and procreation)
Now, off the top of my head, here's list of things that I think we don't need:
  • Capitalism, patriarchy, white/WASP supremacy, or any system that says some human beings are worth more or are more important than others, poverty, hunger, violence, hatred, pollution, destruction...
  • Materialism and consumerism, corporations and the corporate world, television, spectator sports, home entertainment centers, mcmansions, any mansions, palaces and castles, gated communities, x number of brands of laundry soap/deodorant/toothpaste, sugar coated breakfast cereals, candy, tobacco, cigarettes, alcohol, fast foods, junk food, poorly-made plastic things, entertainment meant to distract us, fancy cars, sports cars, SUVs, limousines, things, things, and more things...
It's fairly amazing what we could live without--and even more amazing to think about what the world might be like without all the things on the don't need list. There's so much in the world that isn't good for us that's also not great for the planet. Feel free to add to either of these lists--or challenge me on them. (I will talk more about simplicity in an upcoming post.)

*I came up with this list while thinking about what we would need if we got to rebuild the world from scratch.

Quote of the day: "Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not any man's greed." - Gandhi
Word (or phrase) of the day: Interlocalism
Hero(es) of the day: Badshah Khan


CrackerLilo said...

I am currently working on a sci-fi novel, a dystopia (because the world needs another one) set in the US after global warming causes most of the East Coast to drown. So I've been thinking about this and shocked myself a few times. (They wouldn't have chocolate!) It is also, of course, making me wonder what I can do without now to help avert the events in my novel from happening for real.

All this to say, thank you for a great post.

MoonRaven said...

Thanks for your comment. And good luck with your novel. I'd love to see snippets of it. (I wrote some futuristic stories a while back where most of the east coast cities were under water. Let's hope it doesn't happen! And, yeah, what can we do without now, so this isn't our future? That's certainly one of the questions we should be thinking about.)