Feb 23 2021

Evening thoughts

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:29

I’ve mentioned a while ago that I love the first season of Altered Carbon. I love it so much I had to read the books. The first one was the best, the other two… gradually lessened in quality. Or maybe I was missing the imagination to create the worlds described in the books.

There are probably lot of things in those books that could be considered good starting points for some very long conversations. But there are two paragraphs that stuck with me.

The following paragraph is from the first book and it is about shopping.

“Shopping—actual, physical shopping—could have been phased out centuries ago if they’d wanted it that way. They (people, society) had the capacity back then. Mail order, virtual supermarkets, automated debiting systems. It could have been done and it never happened. What does that tell you?”

“It tells you that people like shopping. That it satisfies a basic, acquisitive need at a genetic level. Something we inherited from our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Oh, you’ve got automated convenience shopping for basic household items, mechanical food distribution systems for the marginalized poor. But you’ve also got a massive proliferation of commercial hives and speciality markets in food and crafts that people physically have to go to. Now why would they do that, if they didn’t enjoy it?”

“Shopping is physical interaction, exercise of decision-making capacity, sating of the desire to acquire, and an impulse to more acquisition, a scouting urge. It’s so basically fucking human when you think about it. You’ve got to learn to love it, Tak. I mean you can cross the whole archipelago on a hover; you never even need to get wet. But that doesn’t take the basic pleasure out of swimming, does it?

Being born poor I hate shopping; I hate ads and I hate people trying to convince me to buy stuff. Some of my friends used to say that shopping is therapeutic, but I’ve never seen it that way. Well, after reading this, I’ve started to accept the activity of shopping as being perfectly human and started enjoying it more.

Even now, when a pandemic is still upon us and a lot of people are still in lockdown, we are buying things from the internet, but we miss the basic action of manually choosing and gathering our own resources. Maybe shopping is a nice way to soothe an yearning that is left from our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

The other quote that I can’t get out of my mind is this one.

Religion is religion; however you wrap it; a preoccupation with the next world pretty clearly signals an inability to cope credibly with this one.

I’ve been raised Romano Catholic. And religion has affected my life in many ways. Bad ways. But while being a devout Catholic, I had questions. And when I was eighteen I got sick of accepting that there are answers, it’s just that some powerful entity decides not to share them with me. One of the things that changed in my whole attitude when religion stopped being part of my life is that I stopped accepting a lot of crap as being part of life and considering that crap an advance payment for my spot in heaven and this made me fight and work harder to improve this life. Will Smith said something similar: if you have a backup plan, you will not work as hard fulfil the main plan.
This is a simple truth that most people tend to ignore when it comes to religion. If you are truly good and worthy, why are you not worthy enough to have a good life on this earth? How much suffering does that heaven cost, really?

And how does life in heaven looks like? Because there is no book describing that in detail. What if I get there and I don’t like it?

Anyway, if there is something to take from this entry is this: learn to enjoy shopping and make this life the best you can for yourself, because the afterlife is not guaranteed.

And read the Altered Carbon books. You won’t regret it.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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