Letter: Let’s change our way of thinking

Monday, August 26 2013

How often do we in the affluent countries hear superlatives about something being bigger and better? 

In describing the recent successful Theatre Festival, I read two examples of this philosophy. The first was in the Arts Council newsletter, which boasted that this year’s festival will be the “greatest” yet.  And in the Around the Island section of the Sounder, we hear the bigger and better expression trumpeted as if that is the most important goal. This philosophy is irrevocably bound to our culture’s values.   

Yet we know we need to change our ways of thinking. For the sake of the planetary environment, we talk a lot about making necessary changes, such as learning how to lessen our carbon footprint, and curbing our seemingly insatiable appetite for consumerism. Still, some of us revel in “supersized” portions of junk food, certainly not the most healthy choice, and, given the rampant obesity and diabetes epidemic, an easy example of bigger not being better. 

Doesn’t “greatest” imply that what came before was not as great?  Why can’t we be satisfied with enjoying the uniqueness of each experience in its own right?  Why the need for everything to be bigger and better?   

A famous book was published in 1973 book by E.F. Schumacher, called Small is Beautiful. Although its subtitle was “A Study of Economics as if People Mattered,” the phrase has come to signify a philosophical direction for humanity. Schumacher gave us a fundamental insight, with many inspirational quotes that speak directly to humanity’s relentless drive towards self-extinction. 

First we think about making changes. Perhaps then we can catch ourselves whenever we use automatic cliches and expressions that do not reflect the necessary changes humanity needs to make. 

~ Tsiporah Grignon