In the discussion thread: The problem I see with our country is that we have lost the capability to delay gratificationů. [View all]
Response to WCGreen (Original post)
Tue Feb 14, 2012, 08:29 AM
zipplewrath (9,580 posts)
5. A different description
I think you can describe it a different way. It's not so much about the urgency, but about the tendency to value the immediate outcome, over one that is built over time. There is a dominant subculture, possibly a plurality, that does not value long term effort to develop and achieve longer term goals. I see it in everything from the subtle to the substantial.
The speed with which our work force willingly gave up the "pension" system is astounding. Retirement pensions were the bedrock of the "retired middle class". It got traded in for 401K's and stock options because individuals wanted to be more "mobile" which was a metaphor for "transient".
Heck, look at social norms. Go to a social setting and try to "tell a story" of any type. If you take more that 3 sentences, the "audience" will stop listening. Look at our "social media" in all of its forms and it is focused on short, quick, immediate. I don't see it as much as "instant gratification" as it is that people presume that anything that takes time has no value. Meals, long the staple of social interaction from the potluck to the funeral wake, have become focused on the microwave.
Cars are leased and not bought. The 30 year mortgage exists because people don't expect to ever own their own homes. The "starter home" is a thing of the past because we're suppose to always live in a home like our parents had by the time they were 50.
For goodness sakes we have "speed dating", we have "it's just lunch". We can't even invest an evening in the process of finding a life partner. For all we love DU, the conversations are anything but lengthy, spare maybe the pissing contests. The "Latest Page" is a common place for people to visit, far more than a subject forum. The Greatest Page consists of long threads, but not necessarily "deep". Alot of comments to the OP, not necessarily deep threads exploring the subject.
That's probably the key phrase here. For all we've supposedly become the "investment culture" where we all have 401K's and mutual funds, there isn't really any sense of valuing an "investment". We don't build businesses, we "spin them off" and sell them as quickly as possible. We "flipped" houses, not build homes. We don't fix our TV's and appliances because they are just something disposable.
There's an old expression about the man that plants a tree:
A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.
-- Elton Trueblood (1900-1994)
That's what's missing, or changed. We don't invest in our own lives, or ourselves. We have a president that wants to build bridges and trains for the future, for a body politic that wants 5G in 9 months, ignorant of the amount of time it took to develop the internet to begin with. We have a space program in total disarray because you can't hardly set, and pursue 2 year goals, much less 10. And we build houses that need major repairs in 5 years, because it lowered the down payment at the original sale.
No sense of investment, in a culture desperately in need of investing.
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|Historic NY||Feb 2012||#2|
A different description
|Bonhomme Richard||Feb 2012||#8|
|Bonhomme Richard||Feb 2012||#30|
|Newest Reality||Feb 2012||#13|
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