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Friday, September 17, 2010

Entitlement, the problem afflicting humanity

Entitlement, the problem afflicting humanity

In the last week I have had numerous conversations with those around me regarding things from child rearing to the state of the economy and one theme came up above all others and that was entitlement. It seems that even from an early age we as human sentient beings somehow gather that we have a ‘right’ to things, and this basic thought of entitlement is fostered in today’s society.

It seems we foster this in our current society with statements and sentiments such as “I’ve earned it”, or “I had it coming”, or “I deserve it”. One can say that indeed these types of external motivators do indeed do their job. They urge us to work harder and longer hours. They urge us to achieve better grades in school. There is nothing at all wrong with a hard days work. However, when we do not get that promotion even though we have put in long hours, or receive the award for best student even though we have put in long hours of studying we end up in a human quandary. We find ourselves bitter saying “But I deserved it”. Did we really?

This small belief in entitlement then transfers over to the larger group and can have very complex and grand effects upon the society as a whole. We tend to see this with those who have “earned” their own monies or find themselves in a place of high status within a status driven society. We hear statements and sentiments such as “I’ve earned what I’ve got, why don’t you earn yours”, and “I had to work hard, why should I help another”? In the United States we have more than enough food, for example, to sustain our entire population and yet we still have people have little to nothing. When asking to raise taxes in a community for the purpose of education a lot of the sentiment is “Why should I support another’s child”? This trend in thinking has permeated a great many areas, and these are but two that I have brought up.

So what do we do about it as an individual or a community? The first place we can start is by changing our perspectives. We are not truly entitled to anything. Yet we all have the ability to have all of our needs and wants met so long as we are allowing and assisting others to have their needs and wants met. It is in changing our perspective from “I deserve, earned, worked for it” to “I did what was right by humanity”. In this subtle change in perspective we now ensure that all of humanity prospers.

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