Affluenza

I tried again to read Affluenza. While I agree with much of the premise, the book is preachy and simplistic. It commits one cardinal sin: advocating the return to “simpler times” as if this were the panacea for all the world’s ills.

We are growing up as a society, and we cannot go back to the 50s any more than we can, as individuals, go back to being twelve.

Much maligned is the secularism of society, but this is where we must go. Not for the sake of abandoning religion, but because we must reach beyond the concept of reward and punishment, and do good because it is good. Heaven and Hell must become irrelevant as we call on our own humanity for guidance. Affluenza says we’ve lost our souls in the pursuit of things. I completely agree, but the way to regain it is not to step backward. The things that are required of us now cannot be supplied with the lessons of the past.

One task I do take from the book: they talk about lifestyles as either material-centered or community-centered. They don’t take into account an anti-materialist hermit like myself. I’m thinking they’re not wrong, and there could be more community in my daily life. A shame about the whole hating people thing. I’ll have to work on that.

7 Responses to Affluenza

  1. Rev Dr J says:

    hmmm… can’t you throw out heaven and hell and not throw out the good that can come with a religious perspective? Some of us, after all, believe we should be good because, well, um, because it’s good… yeah, kinda simplistic, but you don’t really want to get me started (ask JR, he knows not to get me started)

  2. Cat says:

    I hate to repeat myself, but: “…but this is where we must go. Not for the sake of abandoning religion, but because we must reach beyond the concept of reward and punishment, and do good because it is good.

    I’d love an argument on the subject, but it’s important that: 1) we disagree on something, and; 2) we both read what the other says.

  3. Rev Dr J says:

    Guess I read into the “but” the idea that what followed contradicted what proceeded… or, more importantly, I guess you got close to a pet peeve of mine. I don’t know you yet, Cat, except as a friend of JR’s, but knowing that little bit, I’m sure there’ll be room for debate some other time.

  4. Cat says:

    Dammit Mark, I wanted to fight *now*. Ah well. I’m sure I’ll bait ya real good-like later. I enjoy a sincere debate.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Well, if you want to ask for it….

    My argument is that your posting doesn’t agree with me, although you claim it does.

    To start, I haven’t read the Affluenza, so I can’t argue with your critique of it.

    However, you say

    “Much maligned is the secularism of society, but this is where we must go.”

    Ok, I don’t want to live in a theocracy either, and much appreciate a secular state, but then you continue

    “Not for the sake of abandoning religion, but because we must reach beyond the concept of reward and punishment, and do good because it is good. Heaven and Hell must become irrelevant as we call on our own humanity for guidance.”

    The first “but” in these sentences implies that we DO abandon religion as we reach beyond reward and punishment. Even though the movement toward secularism isn’t “for the sake of abandoning religion” these sentences says that the movement abandons religion. Notice your own parallels: abandoning religion/heaven and hell become irrelevant/reach beyond the concept of reward and punishment as opposed to the secularism of society (which is where you say we must go) and the

  6. Cat says:

    Boo-yah! I’ll have to go over this in print and get back to it later. Thanks!