Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tall poppies and a bucket full o' crabs.

We watch on average 2 hours of television. Per week. We are usually getting something else done that doesn't require too much concentration so we don't just sit with our eyes glued. A show AnnaMarie and I both like is Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations". We like how he brings you to a place. We like how he gets to know locals and targets the poorer quarters where the food is great and the people are happy.
We don't like Sweden.

Well, Sweden's actually just fine. What was bothersome was the attitude Bourdain gleaned from the Swedes, and he built the program around it----the attitude of "Lagom"......"You Americans are always thinking you are so great and better and want more and more things, the biggest cars, big refridgerators. Here, we are all about 'Lagom'. Just enough. Just give me enough so I can get by"
Here's the thing---if you want to live a minimalist lifestyle, that's terrific. There are many benefits. If you want to insist others live that way too, I have a problem with that.
Obama ran and won on a platform I saw as anti-American. He has been vocal about not wanting to promote American exceptionalism. If we are the same as the second world contries, no one will want to hurt us. As Americans we should settle for "Just enough" and let the government re-distribute the extra. The Tall Poppy is the first noticed, but when the other poppies start talking, who is it they want to tear down? Do they strive to grow tall too or just want all poppies the same?
Did you know you can throw one crab in a bucket and he'll crawl out and scuttle away---but you can fill a bucket to the brim with live crabs and not lose a single one? They are so set on clawing their way to the top they continually pull each other back in. None escape.
The moral high ground of Lagom is, you are only expending enough resources to get by. For those of us that want to do more with our lives than just 'get by', we are like the crab trying to climb out, or the tallest poppy just trying to do our best. If you want to embrace Lagom, just study Jante's Law. It's a good way to keep everybody down. If, however, you think hard work should be rewarded and applauded, if you think there are distinct advantages to exceptionalism, then do all you can to encourage it.
To me, what makes our nation great and free and the tall poppy is, anybody the works hard and works smart can succeed.


keeka said...

I guess there is a fine line between what you said and being content with what you have. I want a new add on to the house and we are working to save for it, but we are not obsessed with having it either. We can guess..unless we come into some unexpected money, that we will not have said add on for about 3 years. Does that make every day unbearable? No, not by the widest stretch of the imagination, do I daydream sometimes about having the extra room? Of course! So I guess if you want something bad enough you get a second job to pay for it faster, or you wait until you can afford it. Unfortunately, our country, doesn't get that part. They buy now and pay for it...well, sometimes...never.

keeka said...

Oh and did I forget this part? I can get my add on earlier if a certain someone would want to come up north for a bit and build it for us? Hint hint! : )

flyingvan said...

Be happy to! And thanks for illustrating my point...Prosperity comes from creating new wealth (like your add-on) not redistribution of old wealth. You don't want your addition to be better than somebody else. Nor do you seek to take away someone else's extra room because their house is bigger. Youare willing to work hard, ask for help, and make the sacrifices so you can have more room.