Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hunger in an Affluent Society

I caught sight of this quotation today and it got me thinking about what the word "need" truly means.

"The amount of hunger increases relatively and absolutely with the evolution of culture. This paradox is my whole point. Hunters and gatherers have by force of circumstances an objectively low standard of living. But... all the people's material wants usually can be easily satisfied....The world's most primitive people have few possessions, but they are not poor."

-Marshall Sahlins, "The Original Affluent Society"

Sometimes Hong Kong, as fun, enriching, invigorating and international of a place as it is, is a very heady and artificial bubble.   It is an ivory tower crammed full of the privileged and wealthy elite, a metaphorical skyscraper that shadows all of the actual skyscrapers in this most vertiginous of cities.

The gap between the rich and the poor here is yawning, cavernous and deep.

It is a small, fast-paced place, full of glitzy baubles, and capitalist to the hilt.  In this place, it is very difficult to remember, and all too easy to lose sight of, just what things are truly important and meaningful in a life well lived.


No comments:

Post a Comment