In a bit of a daze at the end of a hard week it appears a little foggy to me to be able to answer this with clarity now but I can at least safely say I can see two answers.
At dinner tonight with friends, talk first turned to the swiftly closing Mayoral elections for London and the political ramifications inherent in voting not for policies, but purely for candidates, as policy seems almost immaterial in the much wider game that is being played here in London.
Following from this we engaged in a rather convicting discussion which revolved around consumerism, choice, the Smorgasbord we seem unable to avoid in every day life. The missionary couple from Nepal standing bewildered and thoroughly shocked by the culture as they take their first trip to whichever Supermarket was closest, they and others like them I know can tell that tale.
One of our friends, a doctor, professorial, philosopher-theologian highly engaged in debating current matters of justice, reflected on how a short trip to Burma had given him a beautiful taste of an incredibly different life: “What you did,” he said, “was to get food for the kids, and clothes on your back. That’s it. And everything goes at around 8 miles per hour, at this sort of biological speed – it’s wonderful.”
What he stated reflected just a small part of the overall distinction between what we know to be ‘normal life’ in our part of the world, and that in the (I suppose) ‘non-westernised’ parts. My own short trip to Thailand holds a similar mirror to the issue, blogged about a short while ago.
That makes one of my questions, where do we go from here? I believe Capitalism will not last – a statement which I know of course requires ample justification which I hope to provide in further bloggings in the near future. That means that either I follow it to the bitter end, try as I might to believe that it might work for me, even though we know from a short examination not only of today’s situation but of recent history, that we are getting worse and not better, economically.
Or, I go the way of the nomadic Jew who once worked in a carpenters shop only then to quit, give up everything, and live a radically different life from the rest of the world around Him, giving up possessions, money, often not even having anywhere to sleep. Yet somehow making it, and going on to become without doubt the most influential Man in history.
I shall blog more on this subject when I am decidedly more awake and have pondered this thing further.