I woke up thinking about deprivation.
I'm not a particularly pessimistic person…but I can't help but feel like the collapse of civilization is upon us. It's probably just a byproduct of my belief system, but I have this specific feeling, I mean, I feel it in my guts, that life is about to become very difficult.
We are so used to having our needs and wants satisfied. I hesitate to suggest that all of man's progress has been driven by the need to be comfortable, but if the shoe fits, wear it. Though we evolved from caves, we have a distinct aversion to things that are hard and uncomfortable. Who can deny the word convenience defines our modern existence? Every design, every product and service available to us these days gives priority to convenience. If it's not convenient, no one's going to pay attention to it.
We're indulgent. We go way beyond our needs (think heated toilet seats), and we have been able to do so for so long…the magnitude of the change that is coming is going to knock our collective dicks into the dirt. The almighty Convenience is going down the dumper and people are going to have to face something people rarely do in this country: deprivation.
Sure, the news quotes the odd (as in rare) official tellin' us there's plenty of everything in the pipeline, those store shelves are going to be filled again.
I don't believe that. I spent fifteen years designing complex warehouses, I've had to understand many aspects of the Supply Chain and logistics and what I know supports my feeling of doom. Unless I'm mistaken, we're about to see a decent. Into a much more primitive state. Very quickly we're going to separate the Needs from the Wants. (People say, "I need this or that", abusing the word 'need' the way the word love often gets abused.) Even the needs may become much harder to satisfy. (If you're having any trouble with the separation of Need versus Want, I recommend Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.)
What's tuggin' at my neurons today is that the amount of suffering you do over your individual deprivations is directly proportional to the strength of your attachments. The pain is going to depend on something people take for granted: attachment.
You drop your ice cream cone and you feel one thing. You lose your cell phone and it's time to call in the therapist. Who doesn't regard possession of a smart phone as a right, not a privilege? We treat our phones like a member of the family, or if we're really attached, our phones hold the same position as a pet. We buy multicolored cases for our phones, and decorate them, just as we might a pet. All you have to do is give your phone to someone to hold for you and within forty-eight hours, you'll be screamin', "I need my phone!"
I'll not argue over the need for smart phones, I need to stay on topic with deprivation and attachment. If you use the phone as a reference, try creating a list of other attachments you might have. I'm rather attached to toilets. I can take or leave a roof (Maslow reference!), give me the porcelain throne and I'm a happy camper. Just think about it a minute. I predict most will say they can't live without a car. Clean clothes, cleanliness in general, is to be desired, so things like washers and dryers seem essential. Make a list of all your needs…then go back and bump that up against the Hierarchy.
It's my belief that our attachments make us vulnerable. When I had to move a year ago, it took me weeks to recover. (I was forced to move when the owner sold the property—I had not idea just how attached to that apartment I was.) It made me start to look carefully at my own list of needs, i.e, my attachments. I couldn't believe the scope of that list. Everything from my medical marijuana supply to my bicycle to the computer I’m using to type this. Dozens of attachments! The deprivation of any one of them would get my attention—but put them all together?
Now multiply my sense of pain over deprivation with everyone else on the planet. People are going to suffer. And there will be blood.
After I became aware to the scale of my attachments, I began an active campaign to detach. From everything! I know, not possible.
I detached from a lot of things. And I think that makes me less vulnerable. I'm firing up a tactical maneuver today, mass detachment, which I know is going to have value no matter how bad life gets. I'm going to prepare myself and run down my attitudes, my current list of attachments, and fortify my mentality around my vulnerabilities.
And let me just say, I know there are many people in this country that suffer deprivation day in and day out. There are still plenty of places on the planet that don't have toilets, much less the requirements for survival. I predict those people are going to be the least impacted by the pandemic.
One last thing to think about. Many a wiseman has gone off into the wilderness, facing certain deprivation. The Buddha himself spent forty days under a tree. Tibetan monks routinely deprive themselves of many things—including speaking, a deprivation that would clobber this motormouth! Try looking at yourself as wiseman/wisewoman. Deprivation doesn't have to kick our asses, and right now is the perfect time to start detaching.