Those of you who know me will have heard me raving about the book “Affluenza” by Oliver James a lot lately.
Affluenza is about how deeply contemporary life in the English speaking world revolves around the notion of what James calls “Selfish Capitalism” – an economic system that is geared towards unhealthy attitudes to money, status and influence, and that affects how we see each other and how we see ourselves. The problem, as James brilliantly defines it, is that the impact on us as human beings is immense in terms of emotional distress – addiction, depression and anxiety.
It affects how we live, how we think about life, how we think about each other, how we divide up our time, what we do with our money, how we raise our kids, our education system, what and when we buy property, etc., etc., He cleverly and incisively shows the reader how the values that we have adopted without thinking are often dictated by these things more than anyone else.
Looking at it as a phenomena that particularly affects the English speaking world, he interviews various people from England, USA, Australia and New Zealand, whilst also interviewing people from different backgrounds to compare and contrast non-English speaking nations that have caught the “Affluenza bug” (Singapore), nations that are well on their way to catching it (Russia and China), and nations that don’t appear to have it at all (Denmark).
I think this is very relevant for us as a community as a topic for discussion (and not just because it would appear statistically that a belief in God is a good way to cope with our overly Selfish Capitalist society).
Whilst I would disagree with James on many things, I believe the book would be an extremely useful diagnostic tool, in helping us to live out the idea of Balance, as expressed in our Rhythm of Life, as well as identifying possible coping mechanisms for depression, addiction and anxiety. This is something that I have observed us as a community (myself in particular) struggling with, and to that end we will be taking Affluenza as a theme for a month in the new term’s programme.
Also, in order to spark discussion I will blog again about this subject, making it a regular series here. If you want to get ahead and follow me, especially as we are going to make the book into a theme as part of our regular meetings, then get a copy through the link to the right of this page (scroll down, just below “Friends of Moot” section – buying it through us helps moot because a proportion of the cost goes to help fund moot’s work.
technorati tags:radcliffe, moot, affluenza, moot community, book, oliver james, books, balance