Quality of Life

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deggleton's picture
deggleton
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Quality of Life

We must replace standard of living with quality of life.

Standard of living (SOL) is a dazzling, ever-moving yet ultimately uniform distraction imposed by the power-obsessed, a dead end figuratively and literally.  It works for them because they can manage and measure it with minimal regard for our experiences.  It's neat, we're messy.

Quality of life (QOL) fully recognizes and honors the variety and multidimensionality of human beings and works by inspiration:  leaders (any of us!) go for QOL and others follow, finally seeing either the poverty or the unsustainability of SOL.

Stuff isn't what we came for!  Let's make it apparent, each in his/her own way.

[This is copied, almost verbatim, from a post of mine under Standard of LIving because I believe a thread with this name is needed, too.  It has a different attraction.]

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V
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Re: Quality of Life

I agree however................... 

The vast majority of Americans equate stuff with quality of life. Ask any American if they are willing to do with out an hdtv, 3bdrm 2 car garage ch and ca, 4 cars per family, game boys, microwaves, $500 sneakers etc.

The proof is in what is . 

The only change will come of necessity as the collapse happens . There will be much suffering and gnashing of teeth. Humans only change in response to suffering. 

V

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Re: Quality of Life
V wrote:

The vast majority of Americans equate stuff with quality of life. Ask any American if they are willing to do with out an hdtv, 3bdrm 2 car garage ch and ca, 4 cars per family, game boys, microwaves, $500 sneakers etc.

The only change will come of necessity as the collapse happens . There will be much suffering and gnashing of teeth. Humans only change in response to suffering.

Thanks.

Many do want such stuff now, but they would prefer to be whole people.  Acquisition is compensation for going along with not being whole.  It's acknowledged to be not all that satisfying, but to many it's the only game in town.

I want us to work at establishing the distinction between QOL and SOL, to claim QOL for the people, so to speak.  We have to push back where the powers are blurring the distinction.  Will you join me?

Suffering goes way back and is ongoing.  25% of construction workers are unemployed.  You know I could list more of that info.  No need to wait.

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Re: Quality of Life

Will I join you in doing what?

I am an underemployed construction worker.

The distinction between QOL and SOL is for each individual to decide. Think 7 years ago to the Martenson household.

The shifts you are talking abut though admirable will only come internally not by any outer form of coercion or propaganda.

'be the change you wish to see in the world" Gandhi

If it looks attractive to others they will naturally adopt it.

V

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Re: Quality of Life
V wrote:

Will I join you in doing what?

The shifts you are talking abut though admirable will only come internally not by any outer form of coercion or propaganda.

'be the change you wish to see in the world" Gandhi

If it looks attractive to others they will naturally adopt it.

Will you join me in establishing the distiction between QOL and SOL?  I'd have you find your voice for it where you are living, and the next guy where s/he is living.  This is in the spirit of CM's closing words in the course.

No argument.  I agree about the shifts.  That's precisely why I mentioned inspiration in the initial post.  Pulling, not pushing, is our only hope.  When we be the change, some people around us, because of their yearnings, will be inspired and say "I'll have what (s)he's having."  In that way, being the change becomes a way of life -- one of quality!  And, with the newcomers, it's steadily less lonely and steadily more capable.

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Re: Quality of Life

deggleton,

May I respectfully ask, "who are you trying to convince"?  Do you find the peer/family/societal pressure to conform to SOL over QOL difficult?  If you are "being the change. . ." then it is irrelevent who else is "being" a change.  The point is you will enjoy seeing the change you are being.

How do you define QOL?  Maybe others define it differently, maybe not.  Only you can control your QOL.  If $500 sneakers don't give you added value in your life then why worry whether you, or anybody else, has them?

I admit that choosing a path different than what family or society or whoever defines as "success" can meet with resistance.  But, until you have let go of others' definitions and do not judge yourself by others' definitions, you will never have QOL and you can never really be "the change you wish to see." 

If you work toward your own QOL, without regard to what others think, you won't care so much what others think and you'll still have a much improved QOL. 

 

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Re: Quality of Life

Newspapers report on the "quality of life" index annually, which is taken from the UN Human Development Index in the UN's annual Human Development Report. This index uses health (life expectancy at birth), knowledge (adult literacy rate) and per capita GDP to calculate the index. It could well be improved, for example by using the GINI coefficient, but at least measures not just standard of living.

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Re: Quality of Life
DaytonMegan wrote:

May I respectfully ask, "who are you trying to convince"?  Do you find the peer/family/societal pressure to conform to SOL over QOL difficult?  If you are "being the change. . ." then it is irrelevent who else is "being" a change.  The point is you will enjoy seeing the change you are being.

How do you define QOL?  Maybe others define it differently, maybe not.  Only you can control your QOL.  If $500 sneakers don't give you added value in your life then why worry whether you, or anybody else, has them?

I admit that choosing a path different than what family or society or whoever defines as "success" can meet with resistance.  But, until you have let go of others' definitions and do not judge yourself by others' definitions, you will never have QOL and you can never really be "the change you wish to see." 

If you work toward your own QOL, without regard to what others think, you won't care so much what others think and you'll still have a much improved QOL. 

 

I am well along my own way, not personally blocked or hobbled by others' definitions.  The opposite may have seemed true because of what I advocate and because I look younger than I am.

I have not been able to go off and do my own thing, content and unconcerned, as you suggest I might.  Actually, I did for a while in the mid-1970s.  My long-time interest has been the question of what, other than a crash/collapse, might draw most people from the way they've gone, which is a dead end.  Seeing that information about its limitations and destructiveness made very little difference, I wondered and tried to discover what could be more attractive to them.  Humans have chosen and will choose again and again.

Who am I trying to lure?  Ultimately, very many people, but not by myself.  Here among folks fittingly moved by information I try to enlist allies for the effort.

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Re: Quality of Life

Who am I trying to lure?  Ultimately, very many people, but not by myself.  Here among folks fittingly moved by information I try to enlist allies for the effort.

Well hopefully most of us are informal "allies for the effort."

I think humans are natural "copy cats".  We imitate others all the time (some would say we are "inspired" by others).  Marketing works so well to lure people into buying stuff by connecting things to people we wish to be more like or people who have life-styles we'd like, etc.  They play to our tendency to imitate.

Being "the change" brings change because others copy changes that appear to bring you a better life or a happier life or whatever.  I used to be the only person at my workplace who ever rides a bike to work.  My boss even made fun of me to my face about it .  I obviously had fun riding my bike, saved money on gas, lost a little weight, etc.  Now, 4 years later, several people ride their bike to work on any given day.  Even my boss sometimes rides his bike to work!  I don't think making a positive environmental difference has much to do with it for most of them but the effect is the same.

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Re: Quality of Life
SteveW wrote:

Newspapers report on the "quality of life" index annually, which is taken from the UN Human Development Index in the UN's annual Human Development Report. This index uses health (life expectancy at birth), knowledge (adult literacy rate) and per capita GDP to calculate the index. It could well be improved, for example by using the GINI coefficient, but at least measures not just standard of living.

Thank you, Steve for this clarification.  It's great that we don't have to establish the distinction entirely ourselves.  As you say, we probably can imagine and discuss improvements.  I'd nominate earth contact or some variation.

Work we each can do includes inviting and encouraging people around us, including the editors and writers of publications we read, to stretch their considerations and assertions to accommodate the additional dimensions.  It's a reasonable request that can only help more people bring the reality into focus.

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Re: Quality of Life

Deffleton

I am going to suggest something for you to think about.

If we,  and I assume the people who visit this site, are aware that in terms of the three e's and more there is something terribly wrong then we have a container from which we can deduce what it is that is "wrong"

In respect to the economy we can see that there is a strong possibility that the system is run by greed which is a fear based drive. If we look at the environment we can see that there is a lock of understanding of how humanity affects and interacts with our surroundings. In terms of energy we can see that little thought is given to the costs internal and external and sustainability.

I hear what you are saying about SOL versus QOL. At the heart of the difference is the loss of something that has existed on this planet in virtually every culture and region. 

I believe that something is the sense of the sacred. In an economy that holds a sense of the sacred there is no one who is more equal than another. It is not necessary to play a zero sum game because there is enough for everyone. We hold each other sacred so that we all suffer if others suffer.

In an environment that is held sacred,  resources are preserved and nurtured. We would not destroy the very things on which we depend for our very lives. More importantly we take long term views of the effects of our actions. We plan for future generations because they are sacred and enjoy the same rights as we do.

As for energy we use it wisely and conserve as much as we can. We use our environment and economy in concert with energy to protect and preserve for ourselves and those who come after us all that is necessary for fulfilling lives. We live in harmony with all.

Indigenous cultures were able to a large extent live a life of harmony on this planet. We can learn much from the study of how they did it.

Thom Hartmann in his book " The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight " posits that the salvation of humans on this sphere will depend in large part on our ability to return to a tribal system of social organization. John Perkins was instrumental in creating the Pachamama organization to bring the people of North America in contact with the Indians in the Amazon basin of Ecuador to in someway give the North Americans a sense of the  sacred and in the process help to preserve the environment and culture that exists there.

In our own country we can look to the native Americans to learn how to live in harmony and how to regain a sense of the sacred. There are people like Mary Thunder and Leonard Crow Dog who are living what you are in search of.

It is a process we each have to come to on our own and in the course of the journey we will discover our own sense of the sacred and meet those who hold the same ideal. There are really only two choices. we can engage in fear based activities , greed, anger, hatred, pride ,etc. Or we can engage in Love based activities ( i  do not use the word Love lightly nor in the context that it is popularly used). It is pretty obvious the choices we have made individually and collectively that have gotten us to this point. It will take individuals and groups to make the changes necessary to return to a sense of the sacred. If we can pull that off, sustainability will take care of itself as will QOL

V

 

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Re: Quality of Life

V I agree with you,  but I worry that too few people can comprehend the difference between sacred and religion.  One of the deepest flaws we as a nation have developed (and we developed it in concert with other European nations) is the zero sum game you mentioned.  During the cold war we were overtaken by a narrow paranoid vision of humanity that has poisoned our entire culture.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1087742888040457650#

This Adam Curtis film has the best most coherent explanation of this I have found.  Our culture will not go in the direction we are aiming for if we do not eradicate this concept.  And this will not happen overnight.

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Re: Quality of Life

OOO

There is absolutely nothing to worry about. As the Dalai Lama has said ' There is no point in worrying about a problem. If there is a solution then there is no problem. if there is no solution then there is really no point in worrying about it."

I am not concerned with others ability to understand the difference between sacred and religion. We each have our filters that we view the world through.  I have the understanding that not a thing will change for any individual or group without a critical mass of suffering. No amount of talk or therapy will change a drug addict or an alcoholic till they have suffered enough. It is no different for larger groups like nations. CM is hoping we can make changes to avoid or more correctly mitigate the upcoming changes. It won't happen without a great deal of suffering. Many on this site are in reality concerned with mitigation of consequences. As sofistek calls it business as usual (BAU). Yes even some of the most intelligent people on this site are not really interested in seeing profound change. Many just are hoping for a soft landing.

There is no avoiding our karma. We will reap what we have sown as individuals and as groups, whether they be corporations, nation states etc. There will be much suffering and out of that will come a change. Many will not survive, many will be traumatized. Some will go on to form new and vastly different societies based on a new paradigm out of necessity.

The two greatest motivating forces known to man are fear and Love. On this site I see a great deal of action motivated by fear. " How will I get food? What will happen to my wealth? What about water? What is the police state going to do to me? What about my kids? etc"

Take the same questions and come from a place of Love "How will we produce enough high quality food for everyone? How will everyone feel secure and sufficient? What steps should we take to ensure that we have good clean sources of water for everyone? How do we ensure that we are protected and safe without infringing on everyone's basic human rights, regardless of race, creed age or gender etc.? Should not all our decisions take into account the effects it will have not only on my kids but all succeeding generations? "

The shift is subtle but profound and it will happen but at the price of a lot more suffering. It will take that suffering to see that we are all essentially one not only with each other but with all that is.  That is the difference between religion and what is sacred.

V

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Re: Quality of Life

V,

We agree on so much.  In fact, the only difference I feel sure of is that I am not resigned to the more-suffering-before-change scenario.  Hoping for change-before-more-suffering, I agitate for considered and distributed efforts to budge folks who haven't budged.  For that I opened this thread.  Upgrading discussions everywhere from focus on SOL to focus on QOL requires many, many self-appointed field workers.

I believe many who haven't budged want to budge, but remain stuck because they need to see the face that goes with the voice.

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Re: Quality of Life
On Our Own wrote:

During the cold war we were overtaken by a narrow paranoid vision of humanity that has poisoned our entire culture.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1087742888040457650#

This Adam Curtis film has the best most coherent explanation of this I have found.  Our culture will not go in the direction we are aiming for if we do not eradicate this concept.  And this will not happen overnight.

The narrow, toxic vision of humanity has roots that reach to Galileo, actually.  Descartes and Hobbes nourished it.  That's when reducing people to things got going.  Check out early chapters of The Pentagon of Power, a volume of The Myth of the Machine, by Lewis Mumford, for details.

A whole person paradigm has been proposed and proclaimed by Stephen R. Covey (The 8th Habit, 2004).  I believe it's a piece of the puzzle we hope to put together.

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Re: Quality of Life

V,

Quote:

Take the same questions and come from a place of Love "How will we produce enough high quality food for everyone? How will everyone feel secure and sufficient? What steps should we take to ensure that we have good clean sources of water for everyone? How do we ensure that we are protected and safe without infringing on everyone's basic human rights, regardless of race, creed age or gender etc.? Should not all our decisions take into account the effects it will have not only on my kids but all succeeding generations? "

We've had our disagreements, but this is advice to live one's life by.

Where ever else we may part ways, we will always have this as common ground.

Very well put.

Cheers,

Aaron

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Re: Quality of Life

Aaron

Perfectly said.

Jim

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Re: Quality of Life

OOO,

Thank you very much for the link to the Adam Curtis video.  My only quibble with it is that it sounds right about when and how the trouble started, but isn't.  Maybe the turning point it mentions represents another (kind of) hockey stick.  There certainly was added emphasis and deliberation.

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Re: Quality of Life

In Stephen Covey's schema, a person has four needs (to live, to learn, to love and to leave a legacy), corresponding to the four aspects or dimensions of the whole person (body, mind, heart and spirit).  If those needs are met much more often that not, people come way out of hiding, so to speak, finally secure enough to be themselves and to form complementary relationships.  Innovation and community become everyday rewards, and stuff can play a diminished role.

Today, measures of standard of living don't reflect those sets, and measures of quality of life only begin to do so.  As we build community and local economies in each of our locales, let's make a point of being better reflectors of human nature than were our predecessors.  To get the best, expect it and respect it.

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Quality of Life & the Warped American Dream

A newer thread about the American Dream reminded me of this thread.  Did you know that the dream at first was the children will have it better, but post-WWI an industry (guess which one?) successfully campaigned to change it to home ownership?

The warping is by now traditional.  Conflating QoL and SoL is part of the process.  I continue to urge resistance.

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