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Stan’s Stuff

Since the beginning of time – no person has had a more charmed life than me!

Someone told me there are a lot of grumpy, angry people around these days. Depending which side of the bed I get out, I can be one myself. But I’ve got to thinking about how lucky I am.
 |  Stan Stewart  | 

Think about it! The universe came into being with the big bang, 13.8billion years ago. I’ve been on the world since 1937. I reckon I’ve lived in the best countries, Australia and New Zealand, at the best time in history.

My dad earned his living by the sweat of his brow. Born at the end of the nineteenth century, he went through two world wars and the Great Depression.

In his final few years, he used all his resources to buy a Hillman Minx Estate Wagon which he used to drive old ladies on site-seeing trips. This made him sublimely happy. The activity didn’t last long as after two years, he died of Asbestosis, the result of building with asbestos sheeting.

The second world war ended when I was eight.  Elvis and Rock and Roll exploded when I was a teenager. Flat feet meant I never went to Vietnam. In a religious fog, I lived through the Cuban missile crisis. More by luck than good management, a third world war has not yet happened.

In 86 years, I have never missed a meal nor gone to sleep without appropriate bedding, even when I cycled with very little supplies from Melbourne to Sydney.

My level of comfort and prosperity exceeds not only my dad’s life but anything previous generations could have even imagined.  Here I’m talking of mundane things, an airconditioned office and automatic car, universal health care, a hi-level of personal safety, unrestricted audio-visual world-wide communication, instant access to the libraries of human knowledge, and so on. We take these things for granted.

However, these benefits have not been part of the human experience in any other time in human history.

There has not been anything like our Kiwi and Aussie world at any other time in history.

But now we think of it as ‘normal’. Worse still we want more, we expect more. In expectation, we wait for the next big thing!. 

However, the current Kiwi and Aussie world is not normal. In 13.8 billion years, there has never been a civilization like ours. However, on the planet at this time a huge proportion of humans do not have access to things we take as normal – running water, sanitation, a police force we do not fear, etcetera. I realise that we are living a charmed life! We all know it is not perfect, but it is the best standard of living and most humane functioning community that has ever been seen on the earth. It has never been better than this. 

The saddest thing is, it is so easy to take it all for granted, to feel it is normal or worse still, that we have earned it.

Most of humanity have worked harder than us and have not shared in anything like the level of prosperity, security, and comfort we take for granted.

Deloitte has an annual survey of the attitudes of GenZ’s (12-27-year-olds) and Millennials (28-40years). They have just released the results of their Australian survey. In no way do these results reflect my ‘never-had-it-so good’ theme’. These young people certainly don’t feel ‘lucky’ or privileged. In fact. doom and gloom are on their minds.

This is most obvious in their views of politicians. Get this!

“Ninety seven percent of young Australians (GenZ’s and Millennials), believe the country’s political leaders are self-interested, shortsighted, and corrupted by donors and special interest groups.” They worry how they will cope economically and feel that home ownership will be out of their reach. 

At no point do the young people surveyed think that they are the luckiest generation to walk the earth. Why should they! No one else thinks/talks like this. The problem as far as I can see it, is that there is no awareness of this anywhere. 

Actually, it is not true that the theme of our current benefits are ignored by all. I was prompted into this line of thinking by the Canadian professor, Jordan Peterson, renowned psychologist, author, and online educator.

As is often the case in his video clips, he was facing a group of university students, most of whom looked grumpy and irate. He told them to stop and think of  their current lives in contrast to life in previous ages. He told them that despite the political and social problems they were articulating, no generation in all human history, had ever had it so good.

I reckon that’s worth thinking about. I try to bring it to mind when I stumble out of bed each morning. It does help me to feel thankful.

At no point do the young people surveyed think that they are the luckiest generation to walk the earth. Why should they! No one else thinks/talks like this.