cultural myths and misery

John Schinnerer eco_living at
Thu Dec 6 04:03:49 EST 2001


>> In reponse to the first sentence, I do believe we can determine who
> has a
> better life, but only if we make our inquiry more specific than you
> propose:
> i.e.
> * how many individuals, on their deathbeds, would report feeling
> satisfied
> with their lives?

Good question!  Was the joining-of-battle cry "this is a good day to
die!" an expression of cultural conformity, or of a radically different
take on life and death as parts of a whole, or of life richly lived in
the moment in pursuit of one's passionate beliefs, or...?

> * standard of living in the conventional sense used by the UN to rate
> countries

Oooh, don't get me started ;-)... the UN uses "ability to buy basic
goods and services" as a fundamental "quality of life indicator" - that
is, if you can "consume" basic goods and services in a cash (including
a debit) economy, you have a higher quality of life than if you provide
them for yourself/your community locally and sustainably (the latter
doesn't "count" for much in the UN's little worldview.

> * rates of crime, poverty, starvation, war and insurrection, petty
> violence, birth and death

We're hurtin' on a number of these right here in the USA, at least
compared to most other "first world" nations.

John Schinnerer, MA
- Eco-Living -
Cultural & Ecological Designing
Food - Shelter - Community
john at

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