Third World Thoughts Being Content

I’m starting to realize how far reaching globalization is reaching. When you are in the mountains of Swaziland and there is a cell phone tower in the middle of avocado trees, you start to think that something is up. Everything is being put on the same page. Culture and uniqueness is going out the window. The time when you stumbled into another land and saw a people who had developed completely different from you is over. Everyone can communicate with everyone else, and everyone is affecting everyone.

The scary part about this is everyone is expected to look the same and essentially be the same. Because we are a democratic society we can’t comprehend and we don’t agree with communist societies. In fact, because we are so connected and so close to communist societies, it’s almost worth forcing our democratic beliefs on them. Not because we want their land necessarily anymore, but because our way is better and we want them to have the best (or so we say). The scarier part about this is the West is leading the revolution. Everyone wants to be like us, especially those that really don’t know much about us.

How else would twenty-year old guys who have never left the rural areas of Swaziland know that they want to study computers and get a nice car? Why else would poor black families be planting grass in front of their shack instead of gardens? Why else would people work their asses off to make money just to waste it? Why else would people who know nothing about my country want to come to it because of watching movies from the 80’s?

The world is flat and we can now see right to the very end of it in both directions and everyone can see us. It is kind of depressing. It sucks to watch students expected to learn and be educated in their schools in South Africa at the same standards we have here in the West but without the environment or resources to compliment it. They give out internet research projects even though most if not all their students don’t have any access to internet. They study in English, not their native tongue. They are crammed in classes 5 times the size of ours. Their teachers are in it for the money, not the students. But everyone is happy because they are “being educated.”

No one is content wherever I go. If I’m here in Canada, everyone wants more. We all want more money, better things and happier lives. We are never content. It’s not really much different anywhere else in the world. People just aren’t content. They want all the same things. We are all in it for ourselves. Taking what we can get, when we can get it.

But hopefully the movement of those that standup and learn to be content with what we have will start to mobilize. I saw it in Africa. Grandma’s on their death bed, with no money, no family around to love them and care for them and yet they were grateful for every breath. People with nothing but the manure they were sitting on, thrilled to just be alive and taking care of their children or grand-children. It does exist. Disease, wealth, physical ability, nothing is getting in the way of people learning that it’s not about them. True life is found in contentment and serving others and not yourself. The joy on the face of the Grandma’s as they take care of the sick everyday proves that it’s happening. There is joy in life, and it’s found so close to suffering and death. It’s found in giving of yourself, not looking out for yourself. It’s found in being content and thankful for what you have not in hope and resentment of what you don’t. Hopefully we can be that here, but I have a feeling that our money and pride will continually get in the way.

2 thoughts on “Third World Thoughts Being Content”

  1. The book I am reading talks all about globalization and what is at stake. I cant wait to talk to you about it.
    Here is something I am having thoughts with on my travel.

    If we remove the “western” way of thinking around the world, remove our strong hold and only stick to our countries borders. Although things will look and consume differently, eventually wont all of the lands be wanting more? more of everything? Is consumption a western thing or a people thing? And if it is a people thing, doesn’t the western view promise (although not truthful) that they can deliver it?

  2. Ron,
    If we “remove the “Western Way” of thinking around the world and remove our strong hold and only stick to our countries borders”, I don’t believe the option to consume will be present (however I don’t think that you could remove unless you performed secret lobotomies on every last person in the world all at the same time). Perhaps we are talking about two different things when either of us talks about consumption. To me, consumption is a direct result of the globalized marketing campaigns of certain lifestyles. Consumers (including myself) are stupid people who are marketed to as though they still have a choice (this we call democracy…letting the free market decide by using your wealth to cast your ballot). It is the illusion of choice that keeps people purchasing things that they do not need. As long as the homogenizing of individual identity is perpetuated by the advertising of a brand (however subtle that may be…whether that be a corporation or a country operated by corporations marketing their lifestyle of “freedom”), then we will continue to believe that we have been given the gift of discernment as a consumer.
    “Won’t all the lands be wanting more?”
    I don’t think it’s the lands “wanting more” as much as it is the most wealthiest wanting to control more variables by using their wealth. Perhaps your use of “consumption” (individual) is my use of “plutocracy” (corporate).

    Hope this isn’t too convoluted….I just reread it and I think it is. Oh well.

    Great post Nathan!


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