So the Telegraph (the only rag worth reading, in my opinion: I skim the others, only in order to be able to argue with them) yesterday told us that due to the current economic situation, which can only get worse, has reduced families' disposable income to a mere £50 per week once they've paid off all their bills. I can only state that this is not a bad thing.
Britain has been in a state of discontent which has grown commensurately with its dependence on material goods. Keeping up with the Joneses has led to the desperate accumulation of all the latest technical appliances (you're nothing without your 34in widescreen HD TV) and an unhealthy reliance on grooming products and clothes: one's meant to think only about the outside shell, rather than the inner soul. People are unable to function, it seems, without being constantly bombarded by media of all kinds. This prevents individuals from thinking, from assessing the world around them and their place in it, and their relation to others: it creates selfishness, isolation, fear of mortality, greed and angst; it destroys families and family values.
I remember being most heartened by my class of French exchange students who stated categorically that they would never eat in front of the television, but only at the dining room table with their family. Coming together at the end of the day, they said, was the most important social ritual of all. Even when they went off to university, and were no longer under parental control, they still intended to eat their supper at the table. The very act of making a meal and sharing it with others is sacred.
During the Second World War, when people had to tighten their belts both literally and metaphorically, and every commodity was scarce, Britain experienced the kind of camaraderie that it has not experienced since. We do not need to place our reliance upon material things to pass the time or distract ourselves from our own thoughts. Far better that people come together and talk, sharing experiences, wisdom and insight; and the less cash they have for non-essentials, the better they will be in essence.