Tag Archives: hunger

the lies we buy

greatness

greatness awaits.

that’s the new catch phrase being used by sony playstation to promote their new gaming console. a series of scenes showing men  in medieval times battling each other with swords and battle axes, racing fast cars and leading futuristic armies against one another make up the bulk of the commercial. the men sing the late lou reed’s ‘a perfect day’ as they do all this, adding a bit of humour while alluding to the ‘connectedness’ of the on-line gaming culture.

i get it. its smart advertising on sony’s part. men have a natural inclination towards exploring and conquering. it seems to be in our genes. so in one fell swoop, sony was able to portray a product that enables its users to explore new worlds, save humanity from an alien invasion and score the winning goal in fifa world cup.  and you can do it all in one afternoon with your buddies, if you like.

smart.

i don’t want to critique video games or even the people who play them, though i must admit that’s my first inclination. i used to play video games when i was younger so i’d only be a hypocrite if i took that approach. i’d prefer to critique the motto driving this current product – greatness awaits.

video games used to be for kids and youth. today, the demographic has shifted to men in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. with the demographic shift has come a shift in content for games. video game companies focus more on marketing to the older crowd using war, racing and sports.

again, i get it. it’s smart to go after this demographic since they have both the money and time to invest.

smart business.

what gets me is that men are more willing to spend their hard-earned money on, invest their precious time in and build community around/within video games when real greatness awaits them outside of all this.

i agree with sony that “greatness awaits”, but i disagree where we will find it.

i like the quote by martin luther king, jr where he says, “not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service.”   instead of entertaining ourselves with great things, shouldn’t we be employing our gifts, talents and resources in great service to those that need them?
issues to give your gifts, talents and resources to:

a growing movement of people are standing up against all the forms of slavery in our world, but more are needed.  human rights groups estimate that anywhere between 12.3 million and 27 million people are enslaved in forced or bonded labour, child labour, sexual servitude, and involuntary servitude at any given time.

world hunger and poverty still needs a lot of hands on deck. the united nations food and agriculture organization estimates that nearly 870 million people of the 7.1 billion people in the world, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012. almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.

how much does a video game console cost? this latest sony product is pushing $1000.

there is still a large need for big brothers or sisters everywhere. many youth are growing up without any positive role models to help them navigate their lives – education, employment, health, drugs, etc. mentoring can go a long way in the life of a child.

i could also mention the unnecessary wars being fought with corporate profits and not people in mind, or the environmental degradation and exploitation happening all over the globe, or the racism, sexism and prejudice that need people actively working against.

but these things don’t get the sexy commercials and airtime that sony money can buy.

great things do await us, but i don’t think it’s found in the escapism of video games (or any other things – alcohol, sports, tv, politics – we use for escapism) but involvement in the real issues that affect the communities we live in, the countries we inhabit and the world we must leave to our great-grandchildren.

true greatness awaits us, if we choose to pursue and sacrifice for it.

/rantover

1 Comment

Filed under randoms

what do we value?

something really struck me hard the other day.  im only now finding the words to describe it.

so as a people left st. andrews after sunday dinner, we began to take the empty chairs and tables and began stacking them away til next sunday. as i was collecting chairs around one of the tables a woman tapped on my shoulder and reached out her hand to give me something. it was a knife. a quite dangerous knife, most likely used for violence telling by its specific design. “can you do something with this, please?” i raised my eyes  to see her and saw she wasnt alone. her young daughter who couldnt have been older than 9 sat at the table behind her. she looked like a younger version of her mother. she told me she stepped on it as she got up from her seat. it was easy to see the look of worry on both her and her daughters faces. i took the knife and got rid of it, at the same time thinking “they shouldnt have to deal with this”.  now, i dont know their entire situation or how they came to be there but i know that no child should have to grow up around violence.  no child should have to grow up in poverty, especially in a first-world nation like our own thats more than abundantly rich. unfortunately, far too many children in canada have to live in poverty. ive read a few stats on child poverty in canada with one study i read saying 1 in 6 and another saying 1 in 5 children live in poverty. as canada stands roughly at 33 million at the present hour, thats a lot of children either way.

so the question is – what do we most value?

happiness?

comfort?

money?

acquiring more stuff?

where is family on the list? is it even on there..? is it that important to us? it should be!

strong countries are built on strong societies which are built upon strong communities which are built upon strong families. if our family units are weak, we’re all weak. we need to stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about the collective. i realize this is a foreign thought lost in the midst of the large shadow of western consumerism, but ask yourself, does ” stuff” really make you that happy?    has the empty philosophy of materialism made our lives (collectively) better?  i dont believe so. heck, i know it hasnt. just look at child poverty for one moment. one moment! go to google and type in ” child poverty”. you wont need to look much further. the proof is in the pudding, yet, we continue to consume and consume and consume and we forget (purposely?) about the struggling members of our communities, our societies and our countries. im going to bore you for a second with a few more stats and tell you that we have some 3 billion people in this world living on less than 2 dollars a day and that 1 person dies every second as a result, either directly or indirectly, of hunger – 4000 every hour – 100 000 each day – 36 million each year! we could save many of these people. we have the resources to help. why dont we?

so what can we do?

support your community. find a program whose mission is to build up community from within. join them. help kids, talk to youth and reach out to a lonely elderly person. tons of grant money for social programs go unclaimed every year. funding that could change the lives of a lot of people. write a proposal and help run a community-based program. be a big brother or sister. help coach a sports team. reach out to young single mothers. serve a meal at a homeless shelter. find someone in need and help. you might just like it 🙂

rant over/

1 Comment

Filed under ideas