In Excess

Old farmhouse In the not-so-distant past, most people lived in small places and had to do things themselves. They grew crops, cared for animals, sewed their own clothes, built their own houses, met the same small group of people from childhood to old age and learned about the rest of the world only when strangers came to town.

When something broke, those “olden days” people had to fix it themselves or take it to a specialist, such as the blacksmith or the cobbler. Time was cheap and materials, like metal and medicine, were very expensive and hard to get. There was a lot of time, so life was slow. There was a lot of space and travel was slow, so there was little change.

The world’s culture evolved around this lifestyle. The main values taught to kids were self-sufficiency, industry, thriftiness, modesty, discipline and courtesy. When they grew up, they also learned faithfulness and responsibility.

I have a feeling your parents may have tried to instill some of these values in you too, even if your life was quite different. I know mine did, as did the parents of all my friends.

The general focus of people was on getting things and keeping them. There was little choice, so what people got, they enjoyed.

Today, life is radically different for most people. Most people live in big cities, have easy access to large amounts of food, drink, clothes and other goods and are exposed to a never-ending stream of high-pressured information through the TV, the radio, the Internet, the mobile phone, printed media and various other means.

The general focus of people should be on choosing things and enjoying them. But it is not.

Read more about how to relax


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