Our German Hobopoet's scooter trip got me to thinking, again, about conditioned expectations. So much is possible that we never consider or imagine. We are brainwashed to seek luxury and comfort always. The conditioning is so pervasive, so relentless, and so powerful that most Westerners can no longer distinguish between discomfort/inconvenience and deprivation.
The scooter trip is a perfect example. To make such a trip, most folks will tell you a car is necessary. Many will insist that a fairly new car is necessary... one that has been checked, tuned, etc. In America, most people will tell you that they "need" a car.
But our German Hobopoet took his tiny scooter on an international trip with little trouble at all. He had a few inconveniences. But thats it. In exchange, he paid MUCH less money for his vehicle, he used MUCH less gas, and his vehicle occupied MUCH less space on the road. Do we really "need" cars? Wouldnt a scooter serve most of our needs... even in car-culture America?
Lets face it, Americans have become effete, spoiled, babies. They bitch and whine at the slightest inconvenience. They sell their time, their dignity, and their souls in order to acquire gadgets that will eliminate all discomfort and inconvenience from their lives. They have absolutely no perspective, no idea what deprivation really is.
A small example from my own life: Currently I live in a small one room apartment with a shared bath. I must walk down the hall to use a communal bathroom. Also, I dont have a bed, so I sleep on the floor. When I tell this to people, they act shocked. They immediately start to give me advice... to save me from the "suffering" I must be enduring. They recommend that I borrow money to buy a bed. They caution me to wear sandals in the bathroom, lest I catch some horrible disease.
For most Americans, a private bathroom is a "need". And so is an expensive, high, soft bed.
What's worse, our "needs" keep multiplying. A refrigerator is now a "need". A microwave is a "need". Most Americans would also list the following as needs: TV, stereo, oven, a bedroom for each occupant, a car, brand name clothes, a music collection, & health insurance. The media is working overtime to convince us that a cell phone, a computer, a home internet connection, a digital camera, a DVD player, a house, an ipod, and a host of medications are also "needs".
No wonder we are in debt. No wonder we "need" to be full time wage slaves. No wonder we are such crybabies.
Thoreau wrote, "A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can let alone" ... or do without! At the deepest level, its not even our jobs that enslave us. Its our craving for comfort,... our spoiled insistence that life always be convenient and without discomfort. We are enslaved by full time jobs only because we must pay for all this shit.
But pampered convenience comes with a big price: your mind, your autonomy, your soul.