Distractable Society: How do you choose between “need” and “want”?

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iving up things – that’s our theme this week. We’ve started by talking about giving up, temporarily, our electronics – either to observe Lent (see Monday’s post), to make a symbolic protest against the consequences on local societies of mining the minerals used in our electronics, or because electronics make us so distracted.
    Ms Aquino-Hughes, a nurse, says health care providers have a label for electronics-dependent folks: “Cell phone mental dependency behaviors. The person cannot function without the cell phone or computers.”
    “This is something that worries me some about my generation, the Millennials, for whom these distractions are particularly acute,” says Brian Krenz. “We’re regularly connecting with others through email or IM or texts. But we’re not as connected in the real world. All of that technology is very impersonal… It certainly seems like something is lost by our constant need to be distracted.”
    “There is NOTHING that requires my immediate communication,” says Eoghan. “Yes, I own a cell phone, currently in my pocket, and turned off. I will decide when I want to use it, and for what purpose. I have ended decades-long friendships because the ‘friend’ couldn’t find 2 hours to have dinner with me — with their cell phone off.”
    David Crumm notes the savings of resources afforded by our electronic devices – less driving to meetings, for example. I agree, and use my electronics for the same reasons. “But,” he says, “I am concerned about the larger question of necessities. Like many other Americans, we had a small but destructive flood this spring and we’re having to sort out family budgets, what to preserve or replace — and I realize we ‘own’ and feel we must ‘maintain’ a lot more than even 20 years ago in our lives.”
    Along the same lines, Allan Schnaiberg notes that our current depression is “a secular version of imposed Lent.”

    What are you giving up in our current economic situation?
    What choices have you made between what you need – and what you want?

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