Affluenza

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Today I would like to remind you of a timely theme, our global disease, affluenza, and a book, based on a PBS special that does as good a job as any in diagnosing the disease and outlining some solutions.

Central Theme
Americans are infected with an all-consuming virus that threatens our individual and communal well being. It is called affluenza, which is defined as a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste, resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.

Overview
The symptoms are everywhere, the causes not so mysterious and the treatment available, but sadly there is little evidence that many Americans recognize they suffer from affluenza and even less evidence that those who are aware will actually take significant steps towards recovering from the disease. This is an entertaining and informative treatment of an extremely important subject written in a way that should appeal to a reasonable reader regardless of their politics. Pays attention to Christian concerns referencing Cal De Witt, Glenn Stanton, Richard Swenson, Ted Haggard and others.

Beliefs num
–Material things cannot bring real satisfaction and those things that nurture our spirits are what we should seek. (relationships, nature itself etc.).
–Symptoms of affluenza include: shopping fever, bankruptcies, family upheaval, an ache for meaning, the consumerizing of our children and a loss of community and satisfaction accompanying our lives.
–The causes include ‘original sin’, the choice of money over free time, manufacturing disposable products and them marketizing and branding virtually everything.
–Treatment begins when we realize we have a problem, decide to ‘make a living instead of making a dying’. Live more simply, with an eye towards personal and civic responsibilities and possibilities.
–Government needs to take action to assure that workers can work fewer hours without punitive action by their employer.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–If we all recognize the symptoms of the problem, why are we so unable to accept the solution?
–If we don’t address the problem of affluenza, what will it mean for the future of our children?
–Are there any signs that we are taking this disease more seriously?
–What one thing are you doing to treat affluenza in your life or family?
–Do you support government getting involved in providing more protection for employees who desire more discretionary time and fewer overtime hours?

Provocative Quotes byline
–Affluenza: noun. a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more
==De Graaf
–We are the hollow men, We are the stuffed men.
==T.S. Eliot
–The 80’s were about acquiring-acquiring wealth, power, prestige. I know. I acquired more wealth, power and prestige than most. But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty. There is a spiritual vacuum at the heart of American society, a tumor of the soul.
==Lee Atwater
–We buy a wastebasket and take it home in a plastic bag. Then we take the wastebasket out of the bag, and throw out the bag in the wastebasket.
==Lili Tomlin
–A house is a pile of stuff with a cover on it.
==George Carlin
–America’s 103 million households — the authors among them — currently contain and consume more stuff than all other households in history put together.
==De Graaf
–Thirty-four percent of Americans polled in 2000, rank shopping as their favorite activity, while only seventeen percent prefer being in nature.
==De Graaf

Publisher
Berrett-Koehler (2001)
Author
John DeGraaf, David Wann & Thomas Naylor

Posted in Staublog in October 10, 2005 by | No Comments »

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