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Our Values and Standards

This topic originated in my Building in Thailand group, and it seemed very appropriate for an entry here as well. The first post that kicked the discussion off, reading like this:

I see in this group we are building some fantastic houses. Does anybody else feel sorry for the Thai family living in the shack just down the street, a guy and his young daughter lives 20 yards away from my boundary in a tin hut?

I think it is a very western attitude to automatically relate the quality of things like housing and transport with the level of contentment and happiness of others. We are brought up in a culture that strongly encourages us to dedicate our lives to achieving bigger, better, and newer to achieve more positive feelings - happy, content, relaxed, fulfilled, etc. It, therefore, goes against our natural conditioning to expect that others might achieve some of those emotional goals without a corresponding connection with or achievement of physical milestones - the big house, the new car an 80 cm OLED TV, and so on.

I get to observe my lovely in-laws Yuan and Lud every day and a more content couple you'd be hard to find. And yet they have a hard life by our standards. Their farmhouse is an open tin shed (refer to photo) and they rarely buy new anything.

I am not saying that in order to achieve life's positives, you need to give up comfort and modern conveniences. The point I wanted to make is that we shouldn't impose our values and standards on others with the assumption that somehow they have less of life as a result of having less of what we expect and largely take for granted.

Finally, my words above are not a criticism of the guy who posted the comment originally. As the discussion developed in my Building group, he showed himself to be open to the concepts being shared.


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