Sunday, September 20, 2009

The future be damned.

“If we knew that what we have now would soon be gone, perhaps we could better appreciate what we have today. We might be more concerned about family and friends and what is truly important, instead of worrying about amassing more wealth” writes Gail the Actuary in the Oil Drum.

He then links to an earlier post ‘Life After the Crash: Lessons from Kenya,’ in which he had quoted from an email he had received from a Kenyan reader. The reader had responded to Gail’s presentation that had warned that ‘the need for growth in the future would collide with finite resources’:

"It's the mindset that makes most Kenyans experience a happiness most Westerners would never consider to be possible given realities - as they see and experience them.

In Kenya, we do use electricity (hydro / diesel), if we can. We have constant power cuts. But that's not the only limit. In fact, the vast majority of us, even the so-called middle-class, build our lives around limits. Limits are the basis for every decision we make, business or otherwise. It is, you could say, a way of life that is happy when it is not done in - not unhappy if things go wrong (I am not sure that this makes sense).

People there - including me - celebrate every day that was a good day. And a good day is one where we got by. I would say, for 95% of Kenyans, life there is very much focused on the hour - and hardly ever on the future."

According to Derek, people can be very happy just celebrating each day, and not worrying too much about the future. Even if we knew (or suspected) there was likely to be a crash ahead, we could be happy with what we had each day. There is no real reason to worry about possible future calamities. We can only live one day at a time, anyhow, and we are pretty limited as to what we can do to change things”

So, either learn to live today as if there will be no tomorrow or pre-suppose that it will bring good fortune. As the Arab saying goes, “Bukra fil mish mish” (Tomorrow there will be apricots), No point in living 'today' worrying about possible disasters that can strike you 'tomorrow.'


Balajisblog said...

Raj - Almost zen like living by Kenyans....Balaji..

ramesh said...

i think this applies to most residents of developing countries (at least of 10-15 years back)

Raj said...

Balaji: yes, I used to be zen like a few years back, now I have bought a bigger car.

ramesh, true.