“It’s the Luxury of the Well-Off to Be Depressed.” Considering Our First World Problems

Since he was given his own Op-Ed column in the New York Times’ Opinionator section, Mark Bittman has generally focused his writing attention to things dealing with food, agricultural law, and the environment.  However, on occasion, he branches out to broader and more philosophical considerations, that are just as worth the read.   “The Glass-Half-Full Department” is one of the latter pieces (though it could relate to food and environment in some ways).

It is a worthwhile little read because I think that it reminds those of us lucky enough to be living in places like the USA not to get ourselves too down on too much.  Yes,unquestionably we all have challenges that we face on a daily basis, but instead of focusing on how horrible our “challenges” might be, I think it is important for us in the first world to take some time to think about the challenges that we don’t have to face.

When I think about the fact that I never go hungry, want for clean clothes or shelter, don’t have to avoid daily warfare, and have access to pretty damn good medicine should I need it, I begin to realize that I have it pretty easy.  Yeah, there are things that frustrate me and annoy me, but all in all, life could be a lot harder.  If we want to talk about human success then we should consider how well humans have managed to making surviving easier.  Sure we’ll all kick the can someday, but many more of us are having the opportunity to live long and productive lives, regardless of the slight discomforts and challenges that we face on occasions.  Ultimately we’re the lucky ones.

As somebody who has been writing a blog called “General Lordisimo’s Apocalypse” for nearly five years now I am actually not a very big fan of real doomsday mentality.  I feel like all too often people undervalue just how good humans are at surviving.  Are their things that we could be doing better?  Sure.  Will their be more challenges and risks in the future?  Absolutely.  But I try not to focus on that too much.  We can’t prevent these things, but we can work to minimize their impacts and overall effects.  We can continue to survive and do better in an all around hostile universe.  So far, by merit of existing at all, I’d say we’re actually doing quite well.

~ by Nathaniel on September 14, 2011.

2 Responses to ““It’s the Luxury of the Well-Off to Be Depressed.” Considering Our First World Problems”

  1. This is my favorite.

  2. Human Planet, sort of a corollary to Blue Planet, is coming to cable soon. It appears to explore all the ways that humans thrive in diverse habitats- it’s just us and cockroaches in some spots!

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