Slaves to Convenience

30 Aug



Some people watch news about starving people in Africa and may think to themselves, “Poor them. They are days away from starvation. Look at how they depend on others just to feed themselves.”

That last thought is rather tricky. In many places in Africa, they are dependent on others bringing them food. Many NGOs, including large ones like UNICEF are the only entities keeping some medium to large populations alive. People, sometimes living on the opposite end of the globe, give money, either directly through charitable giving or indirectly by paying taxes and then having their tax dollars turned into aid sustain these populations to the extent that if the money dried up and the food stopped coming in, these populations would be devastated.

These people are usually given pre-processed food stuffs. Not seeds, not knowhow, but sacks of flour, rice, beans, etc. This drives home the point that if the money goes away, the food goes away and people will starve.

My contention in this piece is, there is no difference between the people surviving on aid and the people supplying the aid in one crucial aspect, self sustainability. Neither population is truly sustainable if left to their own devices. Just as the needy population would be devastated if the aid dried up, the rich populations would be just as devastated if their chain of food were interrupted. Neither groups have the knowhow to sustain themselves. I must admit, I am not sure if I could keep my family alive if I could not go to the local supermarket or restaurant for nourishment.

They are both forms of dependence. The needy are given food thus taking away any incentive to learn how to cultivate food for themselves while the rich cannot be bothered with such activities due to their busy schedules. Both are slaves to convenience albeit in different ways. One group’s chains and shackles are free while the other group pays for theirs.

One just needs to look at the hurricane that hit New York City in 2013. The food supply chain was interrupted due to flooding and New York was almost out of food in three days. People were going into to neighboring states New Jersey and Connecticut looking for food. Imagine if these states did not exist and there was nothing but wilderness until the Pacific Ocean. There would have been massive deaths due to starvation.

It is easy to take for granted how easy our lives are. But it is also easy to take for granted how delicate the balance truly is. We are one natural disaster, one real oil crisis, one cosmic event such as a communications destroying solar flare, etc. away from living as if we were in the Stone Ages. Are you prepared in such an event? I know I am not but it may be prudent to be at least slightly prepared. A doomsday basement filled with rations, arms and ammunition and stashed of gold may not be in order but certainly a little basic knowledge of farming, plants and basic survival might go a long way.


23 Responses to “Slaves to Convenience”

  1. J.L. Pattison August 30, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

    Reblogged this on J.L. Pattison and commented:
    Ryan has posted a sobering article that I wanted to share on just how dangerous total dependence for sustanance on others can be.

  2. J.L. Pattison August 30, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

    Great piece, Ryan. It’s something I’ve been talking about for a while now, but seems to keep falling on deaf ears.

    I hope you don’t mind, but I reblogged this article.

    • Ryan August 30, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

      Mind? It´s an honor and I mean that. Thank you. Thanks for reading the piece. I too have been thinking and talking about this for a long time. Conscious people are few and far between. I guess it is easier to go through life with your “head down, going forward”. Cheers!

      • J.L. Pattison August 30, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

        It’s exhilarating to be awake, isn’t it?

      • Ryan August 30, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

        Exhilarating, scary, frustrating at times…. but I would not change it my friend! Meaning, I would not want to “go back to sleep”

      • J.L. Pattison August 30, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

        I hear ya’. I would add one more description to your list: lonely. Being awake is lonely because everyone seems to be content with their slumber. If there’s any chance they’ll be awakened, they quickly take their blue pill and hit the snooze button. It’s quite sad.

  3. Bruce Goodman August 30, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

    Most thought-provoking, thanks. I think I live in a fairly I-depend-upon-others realm. Well done. I liked it.

    • Ryan August 30, 2014 at 9:18 pm #

      Thanks, brother! I for SURE depend on my community. 100%! This article is kind of what it is like to be in my head.

  4. Eric Tonningsen August 30, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

    “…while the rich cannot be bothered with such activities due to their busy schedules.” That, in a nutshell, says so much, Ryan. Agreed, both constituencies are slaves to convenience, in diametrically opposed ways. Tragic at both ends.

    Nice piece. I wasn’t anticipating real world depth from you. Appreciated!

    • Ryan August 30, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

      I don´t know if that last line was a compliment or a dig! 😉 But regardless, I am glad, as always, that you read it. I appreciate your kind words.

  5. Eric Tonningsen August 30, 2014 at 9:47 pm #

    Sorry, you don’t know me well enough. 🙂 It was a sincere compliment, especially when juxtaposed with your typically suspense filled and appreciated fiction.

    • Ryan August 31, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

      I was completely joking! You have been nothing but kind since we have been exchanging messages here. I could not miss the shot at some self deprecating humor!!!!! Have a great day!

  6. J.L. Pattison August 31, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    Regarding this topic, here is a quote for you consideration:

    • Ryan August 31, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

      That pretty much sums up exactly what I was getting at in the piece. We are about one week without petro of complete anarchy! One month, I bet the whole house of cards falls.

      • J.L. Pattison September 1, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

        I agree, and unfortunately, I think it is not a matter of if, but when.

  7. subhmohanty September 1, 2014 at 6:57 am #

    True and scary come to think of it. A brilliant read

    • Ryan September 1, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

      Hello my friend! Long time. It is scary to think about. And this is pretty much what I think about all day! Thanks for reading and the kind words.

  8. lorriebowden September 3, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

    Hi Ryan…Wow! So valid…so thought provoking for me. I like to think that I am “awake” but I truly have not “realized” everything. This piece is one that will make me think for quite some time. Fragile is the word that comes to mind…

    • Ryan September 3, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

      Very! As a society and as individuals. Thanks for such high praise. If my words make someone think or feel, my job was done!

      • lorriebowden September 3, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

        And done masterfully, I might add!! 😉

  9. floridaborne September 3, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    This touches on a much deeper issue. Human nature. War and overpopulation is as much a part of this as desertification and famine. But at the center of the problem is the human tendency to clump into groups (left/right, rich/poor, ethnic, cultural, religious, etc.) and completely miss the obvious.

    We may live in this terrarium called “Earth” together, but when we talk about saving the environment/world/humanity, it’s really only to make the part of the world we live in more comfortable. If it means we need slave labor in another part of the world to make our phones our clothing, or our conveniences, and their environment is polluted, then we blame the people who live there for the mess “they” created. What we fail to see is that in another 50 years, “they” may be the ones using us as a labor force to produce the conveniences for their families.

    • Ryan September 3, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

      Wow. Your comment is more powerful than the original piece! I concur wholeheartedly. One thing I would emphasize that you said is, we TALK about saving the world/humanity/environment. Only talk! I am not a doomsday person myself but I do feel we are living in fragile times. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      • floridaborne September 3, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

        I, too, feel we are living in fragile times. I wonder how the people in Asia and parts of Europe when Genghis Khan was invading their part of the world, or how aboriginal people felt when other or all colors and creeds invaded. For each of us, it is, has been, and until the last of us are gone, always will be fragile times. As you pointed out, some of us are well aware of it. Others are not.

        As you said, it’s easy to take for granted the delicate balance. You are one of the few in this world who wants to look deeper. Keep on thinking, researching and writing.

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