DELayed Gratification: A Sign Of Maturity Or The Biggest Scam On Earth?
Society is set up around a system of rewards and punishments--—like getting paid for spending the majority of our lives doing things we'd never dream of doing for free. That's what's commonly called "work". We then internalize that system, whether it's healthy or not. Some of it's healthy. We wouldn’t be able to survive if we catered to our own every whim. If we didn’t set up little internal systems of rewards and punishments, we’d all stay big dirty infants. How would we ever force ourselves to do things that were necessary to even maintain sanitary living conditions, like disinfecting the bathroom bowl or cleaning the refrigerator before the mold made us sick.
Lately, though, it seems that the rewards are are being reduced while the punishments are being increased. It’s getting to be a lot more stick than carrot, if you know what I mean. For example, they keep raising the age of retirement. That's partly because people are living longer. It used to be that people would drop dead about three weeks after they retired, so the government didn't have to pay very much of that money out. Now that there are hip replacements, old people can get up again after they fall. The result is that people who paid in 10 dollars a month for 30 years are taking out 100 dollars a month for 30 years, just by adjusting for inflation. Okay, I'm making up the numbers, but the equation is real. It's mathematically unsustainable. I also question the morality of imposing a tax on the next generation even before they're born. Something about taxation without representation.
All that aside, the way it stands now, by the time you can retire and travel or do what you want to do—you’re too old to be able to do it---or if you can still do it at all—to be able to enjoy it. I don’t want to finally simultaneously have the time and money to go hike the Pacific trail, only to have to do it with a walker on arthritic knees, wincing with every step, and gasping for air instead of in response to the spectacular view. I’m starting to wonder if the whole concept of delayed gratification hasn’t been taken just a bit too far.
I think we need some intermittent rewards built into the system---like being able to take a month off to travel or go to a health spa or resort for every 11 months you work. Since we are playing a big game of monopoly and 1 percent own everything---they could easily all purchase resorts all over the world. Since hardly anybody is getting paid enough to purchase time there anymore, they could just make it a perk. Life would be so much richer if we could be paid with experiences and not just money for survival. Now that they're talking about raising the retirement age yet again, I sure wish I had the option to cash out. I'd rather spend the money to have five enjoyable years than spend it on for-profit health care to extend a life hardly worth living.
Copyright © 2018 by Andy Lee Parker
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