Karl Marx - "the production of too many useful things, results in too many useless people" - is a debate and a half. I like to take these kinds of topics back to basics - health. Social, mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health are our most precious commodities. It's something we strive to balance or choose to neglect everyday, whether we're conscious of it or not. The effects of these choices shape our intrinsic value and quality of life. So for me possessing "useful" things boils down to how good it is for my health. People value different things. There isn't one way of living or a shopping list all should abide by. But there IS one thing all our bodies do the same. They talk to us. Our bodies send us messages every moment of every day. Among the explosion of consumerism, we were more inclined to listen to what our bodies wanted over what we needed. This meant certain needs fell by the waist side, while we overindulged in things that may not always be good for the soul. So what questions should I ask myself, to make sure these "useful" things continue to be good for my health?
1. ROCHY, WILL THIS STOP YOU FROM USING YOUR MOTOR SKILLS REGULARLY?
No one wants to be lazy. But if our possessions and environment don't encourage us to use our most basic skills - it's a slippery slope.
2. HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF WE ADDED THIS USEFUL THING TO REPLACE SOMETHING THAT REQUIRED MORE EFFORT?
As long as it doesn't replace positive effort. i.e effort that encourages progression of my skills and life in general.
3. JUST WONDERING, WILL THIS THING KEEP YOU IN TOUCH WITH YOUR LOVED ONES IN REAL TIME?
If having this useful thing in my life means less time with loved ones. I don't want to know about it. If it encourages the use of frequent contact and eye to eye conversations, i'm all for it! Thanks Skype.
4. WHEN YOU HOLD OR TOUCH THIS USEFUL THING IN YOUR HAND, DO YOU GET POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE VIBRATIONS?
Everything has a flow of electric charge. These flows either harmonize with our bodies electric charge or clash with it. A simple way to check this - that can take a bit of practice - is closing your eyes and tuning into your body. You will get a negative or positive first impression when in physical contact with this useful thing. Meditation is one of the best practices to help understand what your body is trying to tell you. An example is a gut feeling you get when something does or doesn't feel right. I try to never ignore this.
5. OI CHOPS, WILL THIS HANDY THING STOP YOU FROM CONVERSING?
If I'm blessed with the ability to converse - with my voice, I don't want to take that for granted. So a "useful" thing that stops me practicing speech - is a no go.
6. YO SOUL, WILL THIS THING SUSTAIN YOUR APPETITE?
Any "useful" thing I attain must be good enough for my soul to eat and enjoy.
7. HEY BODY, DOES THIS THING ENCOURAGE CHECKING IN WITH YOUR SENSES EVERY DAY?
Nothing is more useful than my senses. If I stop embracing the ability to hear, touch, smell, see and taste due to this "useful" thing. It's outta here.
8. LADY, DOES THIS THING CHALLENGE YOUR INTELLECTUAL AND PHYSICAL ABILITY?
If this thing makes my brain numb and my motivation to move non-existent. It can think again before it makes itself at home.
9. DOES THIS USEFUL THING CONTINUE TO INSTILL DISCIPLINE AND PATIENCE?
I don't want no thing conditioning me to want everything straight away and when I don't get it, I cry. That's embarrassing.
10. EXCUSE ME, DO YOU NEED THIS THING RIGHT NOW?
This is a good one at the shops. Quick. Simple. Yes or No answer.
11. JUST ONE LAST THING, WILL IT TRULY SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE?
Is this thing going to give me space? Reduce stress levels and encourage simple living.
I find asking these questions every now and again generates a sense of gratitude for the current life we have. Advances in technology have been amazing for aspects of living and we need to adapt to a certain extent. But it's intriguing to ask yourself - do the "useful" things you accumulate improve your health or hinder it? Because at the end of the day if you were to choose between your phone or your health. Which one would be more useful to have?
Just for a laugh/cry go to usefulthings.com and freak out at all the dumb shit they are selling to people. Then google image consumer waste to see where it ends up. Makes you think.
In health / Rochy