Our society is considered to be fortunate for having such a high standard of living.
The reasoning behind this notion is largely misguided.
While it is true that we do not live on a perpetual battlefield,
we are always at war.
While it is true that we have a developed health care system,
poor health is persistently endemic.
While it is true that safety 'comes first',
we still fear for our lives.
In fact, the more we gain, the more we have to lose;
and the consequence is fear.
I have always marveled at the elaborate ways the we go about protecting ourselves, but even more so at how far we go to protect our possessions.
There is no doubt that theft is rampant in our culture,
but it is notable that our lust for consumption drives both legal and illegal acquisitions.
Most everyone feels the need,
and moral fibre is frequently discarded in favour of ownership.
This is true for unlawful acts, and equally so for lawful activity.
Once acquired, our intrinsically worthless treasures are carefully stored and locked.
Notations are composed for the sake of insurance claims should the need arise.
Of course, these may be fabricated since stealing from insurance companies is socially acceptable.
But everyone knows that locks and keys are not adequate protection;
so fear sets in.
It is true that when we lock something, the fear of loss increases.
The very act of ensuring security promotes a heightened sense of foreboding
that one will be a victim of theft.
Marketing strategies consistently use fear to manipulate consumers,
quite simply because consumers are fearful.
The result is that our society is constantly at risk of manipulation by more than just marketing agencies.
The most dangerous threat comes from political interference.
In pursuit of control, political parties will use tactics that employ fear to rally support in their favour.
Being an emotional response, fear precludes intelligent reasoning when forming public policy.
Our high standard of living has therefore placed us in the awkward position of having traded liberty for the next object of our desires.
Many people recognize the problem; which is the first step towards the solution.
Downsizing and de-cluttering are common resolutions.
Aside from reducing dependency on continual consumption,
acts of faith and trust go a long ways towards repairing our social contract with each other.
Most importantly, we must re-evaluate what it means to have a high standard of living.
To be at peace.
To be healthy.
To live without fear.
Perhaps then we may unlock our freedom.