Monday, May 25, 2009

A Startling Discovery

Our car has been in the shop since Tuesday (gearbox woes), and over the weekend we borrowed a little car that's about twenty years old. In driving this car, I had a sudden realisation: there are no cup holders.

Have you noticed how cars have evolved? I'm not talking about engines or fuel efficiency. I'm talking about the interior, which increasingly takes into account individual preferences and comfort. Cup holders were added in the 1990's so we could take our coffee with us (or Coke). Then came seat warmers. Then came the DVD player. Then came individual climate control settings. Then came multiple DVD players.

It's a bit scary, actually. Are we that selfish that we can't live without our coffee, our music, our desired temperature, our bum-warmed bliss for 15 minutes? And what does that say about our culture?

Somehow I cannot be proud of these technological advances. They're ingenious, yes, but at what cost? Families go on "family vacations" and never speak to one another, never interact. They lose the creativity and resourcefulness that deprivation often brings about. Individual preference becomes a god and values like sacrifice, generosity, decency, and let's be honest - love - are left for the Mother Teresa's of the world to defend.

You might think I'm taking this way out of context, reacting too strongly to a silly thing like cup holders. Maybe... but think about it.


Joe MCVE said...

I think you have hit the nail on the head here.

Materialism is subtle, it is in-fused itself into our expectation of what life (comfortable existence) should be.

I signed up to you blog today, because I find your insights so fresh, so honest, something that made me cry... because I am now so far away from my home country.

Well, done, you prophet.
Keep seeing, reflecting and sharing

An American in Pretoria said...

Thank you very much. Your kind words were extremely encouraging and came in a difficult week.

I am sorry you are far away from home? Where is home, and where are you now?

Cross cultural experiences are so enriching, but the loneliness can sometimes be a challenge. I will be praying for you. - Annie