There is a small portion in The Four Loves which C.S. Lewis (the author) devotes to talking about his culture-small town Great Britain, circa 1940-and the things that he likes about it. I flipped back through the book today and a page of notes fell out. I had written things that I like about my culture-U.S.A., circa now. Among those things were:
The hustle and bustle of sunny afternoons
How so many are ready and willing to invite other people into their spaces (cars, houses, rooms)
Indie films in Redbox
This got me to thinking. What effect does my culture have on me? Lewis talked about the warm fireplaces, foggy mornings, etc. What effect, I wonder, did those things have on him?
I have realized that it takes a conscious struggle to not think exactly the way my culture wants me to think. The entitlement monster has definetely become a part of me. I am hungry-there’s a burger king. I want a movie-there’s a redbox. I have to stop myself from thinking that any time I want something, regardless of whether or not I have the money for it, I should have it. Yes, I have plenty of money to buy that movie that was just released on DVD, but should I? Just because I can get it does not mean I should. These decisions are so hard because there is no line between what is OK to get and what is too much. Moderation seems to be the key word. Sure, eat when hungry. Rent a movie for the weekend. Just not every movie. Or too much food. Contrary to ideals of entitlement that are so rampant in my culture, I should not get all. I should just get some. The world is split about 6 billion ways, and I have no grounds for living in excess.