Diagnosing TBA: The BUY Addiction

We buy stuff all the time. Some people have to buy something every single day, if not an item then at least a cup of coffee! They’re not living if they’re not entering into a store and spending some money.
 
Exercise: Count how many days a week go without buying anything, anywhere. If you buy something almost every day, or can’t go out without buying something, then you know you’re dealing with TBA!
 
Don’t you think that I am immune to that! Hey, if I write about some problem, it’s likely that I do or did experience it at some point!
 
Buying addiction is a serious problem in richer societies. It disturbs our inner balance as individuals as well as our global balance as a human community sharing one Earth.
 
We can see this global imbalance manifest in different ways:
 
1. Waste and surplus for some, starvation for many.
  
The rich societies that consume most of the resources contribute to a moral imbalance, which is a manifestation of injustice and selfishness. When food and cloths are thrown away in one part of the world, while hundreds of millions of humans can hardly eat, dress and find adequate shelter, something is grossly wrong.
 
Humans are meant to be one family with acceptable variations in wealth, but with a universal standard of dignity and availability of human needs for all, which our Earth naturally provides, if it wasn’t for the shameful greed and selfishness of some.
 
2. In order to buy more and cheap, the poor have to accept labor slavery.
  
Because money seems to be the God of an overwhelming number of businesses, they don’t see a problem meeting the needs of buyers for more and cheap by moving to poor countries where they can have labor camps. Humans who work most of their waking hours, in very poor conditions, for a pay that will barely help them survive. This imbalance is simply expressed in the fact that a worker could be paid in a week what we spend on a lunch for one!
 
All for the sake of us going into the store and buying a gadget that we might not use and didn’t need in the first place, or for us to be able to buy 5 t-shirts instead of just one. Wow, what a progress, we can have all those t-shirts and shoes in all the different colors. Boy hadn’t our life become much better with that!!!
 
3. More of the things that we don’t need end up creating mountains of toxic trash, and heavily polluted Earth.
  
Because people buy things they don’t need, they end up getting rid of them. In the worse manner possible: throwing them in the trash. Our addiction to keep buying stuff that we don’t need lead to factories producing more unnecessary stuff. Because they want to make them cheap, they use toxic material that will keep the cost low. Then this satanic cycle end with landfills full of toxic waste that no one really knows why it was even created to start with.
 
We lost, the buyers. We lost money and inner peace. They lost, the workers. They lost their life and energy to the factories. It lost, our Earth, and our future. It became full of toxic waste. The only ones who gained are the businesses, only a minority. Are those guys worth all those losses and suffering?!!

The importance of staring at computer screens!

A lot of today’s work is done in front of a computer. I spend most of my working day staring at a computer screen. We know it’s no good for the eyes. Is what we do important enough to risk the comfort of our eyesight for it? That must be a good question!

Before computers, work was being done too. People used different tools. Phones and faxes. Faxes must have been revolutionary enough when they came out. How miraculous was puting in a piece of paper here and have it come out thousands of miles away!
 
At the time of faxes, no one would have imagined something like email. The future might very well be hiding some other tools that we can’t now imagine. Those who dream those tools will make the strange realities of tomorrow. But that’s how it’s always been. Dreamers create the future. They know that things can be better. Conventional thinkers are slaves of the past and the status quo.
 
But I didn’t answer the question about our eyesight, the computer screen, and the importance of our work! Well, we can just accept the status quo. Think that there is just no other or better way of doing things.
 
But I rather be a dreamer. That’s why I know that we can do important and meaningful work, with the most effeicient, eyesight-friendly tools!

Heavy possessions!

A much needed simple living movement has been growing. People living in rich Western societies starting to realize that having more things didn’t make them any happier. Not only it didn’t make them happier, it actually decreased the quality of our life. The more stuff we have, the more stress we feel. Shopping became a new form of a distraction drug. We buy stuff in a state of half awareness, and we wake up to find more things that clutter our life and we don’t know why we bought them in the first place.

One saying of Prophet Muhammad keeps coming back to my mind, brief and to the point of this human misery. It’s hard to render it in English and keep it’s original brief power, but he simply said that having less stuff that gives us what we need is better than having much stuff that ends up distracting us.
 
The truth is, we feel more fulfilled with less, clear things. Once things increase in number, we start to loose control and loose track. We start actually loosing them. A place in our heart will keep worrying about those rarely used items. Our heart knows better. May be it worries how our world is going wrong, when we have things that we don’t use, while other humans are in dire need of those same things. We fill our plate at this open buffet, but we never get to finish it all. The food goes to the trash. Trash full of food in one place; human stomachs empty of food in another. That’s an insane paradox, totally unhuman.
  
If we really want to enjoy things, we actually need to have less of them. That’s a proven fact. Some experiments found that children given too many toys to choose from lost interest and were lost and bored, while those given a fewer number were engaged and satisfied. I don’t mean we don’t have nice things. In fact, since we will buy less stuff, we can then invest in the ones that we really, really like and enjoy. We get less, higher quality stuff. Every piece will matter to us, and will have a place in our heart.

The sun is back!

I spent the majority of my time in America in the northern states. I grew up under sunny skies. A cloudy day in Egypt used to feel nice and different. But the Egyptian sun wasn’t always a good thing, especially in hot summer days, in dusty cities, where the gift of the green color wasn’t that generous.

Now 3 months into my second Chicago year, I’m again rethinking a new relocation. South. Did you notice: South and Sun interestingly share the same first letter!
 
Today we have a sunny day. The world looks different, alive, and beautiful. Hope is renewed, at least in my heart. My life isn’t going exactly wonderful. Something is missing. Sunshine helps me look for it, well, under better lighting! I might know what’s missing. But knowing is not finding.
 
I did live in Florida for about a year. I don’t pretend that being in Sunshine State fixed everything. But at least it could help eliminate one mood-related problem!
 
However moving isn’t that easy. You know why. Job, money, survival issues. I did make a difficult move to Chicago 15 months ago, and it made my life better in some aspects. But I always knew that I belong somewhere warm and sunny, somewhere outdoor friendly.
 
I should plan my next move. The question is: how to free myself from money, or from having to work for money. I will be thinking about just that!

My 2009 Twitter Wisdom, Part.3

 
Only the free souls will make life better!
Sep 15th, 2009
 
God gives us little difficulties to train us for bigger obstacles and greater accomplishments!
Sep 16th, 2009
 
Oh God! How many people on this earth are deprived from their rights by the unfairness of their fellow humans!
Sep 24th, 2009
 
In Arabic; the word for Injustice is: ZULM, and for darkness is: ZULMA!
Sep 24th, 2009
 
It definitely won’t work… When you give up!
Sep 28th, 2009  
 
100′s of spam daily! But I rather get them in my inbox than mail box!
Sep 29th, 2009
 
If God gives us comforts, He will ask us what we did for those who are suffering!
Sep 29th, 2009
 
Every new begining is another chance to clean up the past!
Sep 30th, 2009
 
I had a wisdom tooth taken out, but pain increases my wisdom!
Oct 6th, 2009
 
God! Help us not let one day go by without trying to make life better!
Oct 6th, 2009
 
In 1973, it had taken Egyptians 6 years to win their land back from Israel, now why is it taking them decades to get it back from Corruption!!
Oct 6th, 2009
 
Time has one task and it will keep fulfilling it: passing by!
Oct 8th, 2009
 
Freedom with risk is way better than safety with lack of freedom.
Oct 17th, 2009
 
Just learned that “A cow converts twenty pounds of grass into one pound of beef”. That’s how much MEAT costs humans and their earth! :(
Oct 20th, 2009
 
Got my IL Driver’s Licence instead of my NY one. Finally feel like a real Illinois citizen!
Oct 30th, 2009
 
Every time we eat, we should think of those who are starving and of ways to help them!
Nov 3rd, 2009
 
Life has the potential of being a lot better!
Nov 15th, 2009
 
Beautiful nature is the greatest of pleasures!
Nov 21st, 2009
 
If we want our life to be real, we have to frequently challenge our beliefs!
Dec 2nd, 2009
 
I am not an office person!
Dec 3rd, 2009
 
It’s freezing cold in chicago and we have heat everywhere. What do the poor in similar conditions do with no heat! :(
Dec 10th, 2009
 
The world is suffering because there are more people creating problems than people preventing and fixing them!
Dec 11th, 2009
 
People say life is unfair. God is fair, humans are not, and life has nothing to do with it!
Dec 17th, 2009
 
Sincerity is the only way leading to God!
Dec 26th, 2009
 
Having my tuna salad for lunch and thinking that millions are starving to death this very same moment!
Dec 28th, 2009
 
That was it for my 2009 tweets that I’d like to keep. Those were impulsive ideas that came to me anywhere as I was thinking of something. We never stop thinking. Our mind is a tireless talking machine. Many of those thoughts are useless, many are negative, and hopefully we can make a few of them life-changing! As I look at Twitter, I think it’s a blessing, a tool to conserve and share our big and small ideas in brief. It helped me a lot with Twitter to link it to my cell, I could tweet my ideas on the go as they come. That makes me think if investing in a smart phone (iPhone) would be a good idea. I think I’m being more careful now with my purchases, I learned from many experiences, just like millions of others, that we may very well buy something because we think that we will use it to make our life better in some way, but we usually end up using it a few times then forgetting about it. This should teach us to be careful and learn to buy only the things that will benefit us.
 
Anyway, as I look at those tweets, I think that I might develop those ideas a little more in the future, and use this blog to share what I will be thinking!
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