Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reflection on My Personal Slaveholders

So, this week is Passover. No, I'm not Jewish; but I did go to my first Seder dinner on Monday. Here's the background: My aunt married a Jewish man when I was seven, thus making that part of my family Jewish. For years I've randomly taken part in Hannukahs and Shabbat dinners when I visit my aunt and uncle. Therefore, I am limitedly informed on Jewish practices, although more than the general Christian public. On Monday nights I have Media Law classes, but my teacher is Jewish so he canceled class this week. (Thus I was able to go to a Seder that my friend invited me to). My teacher put us to the test:

He told us the basis of Passover is the Exodus out of slavery for the Jews. At this time every year Jews will remember the event and thank God for it. Although a lot of the class is not Jewish, he asked us to reflect on three (or more) things in our lives that hold us in "slavery". What three things are we slaves to?

This, of course, is a very intriguing question that we should ask ourselves at any time. So, here are my top 3 things that I am a slave to.

1. Money. Oh boy, are we all slaves to money. Without it we can't do anything - not eat, sleep comfortably, get an education, hang out with friends, go to the bathroom (someone's gotta pay for the water!!) etc. I like to think that I generally shy away from the larger grasp of consumerism. I'm an educated consumer I suppose. I research the products I want to buy before I buy them and weigh the pros and cons of them. But it seems like I'm always losing money for some reason or another (not literally) in the form of bills, crises etc. And of course I'm constantly trying to MAKE money to be able to have a comfortable standard of living that I've sustained my whole life (As a child, thanks to my parents and family). Let's take what's going on right now for an example. I had a substantial amount of money in savings. Enough to be able to move out and into an apartment (so first and last month's rent + deposit and utilities) at the drop of a hat. But then I got sick for a few days and didn't work, right before taking a 10 day vacation out of state. So not only did I not work for 2 weeks, but I was continuing my normal spending patterns (if not slightly more since I was on vacation). I then return from vacation to pay my taxes. There goes another 400 dollars. So at this point I'm basically out around 800 dollars that I would have had. But it keeps on coming. My truck's decided now would be a good time to show that problem that wasn't such a pressing issue when the auto guy told me last year, but is now. So, who knows how much that's going to be. Oh, and guess what! I have to move out in 10 days. But, I'll figure out a place to go. Returning to the slaveholder at hand...I neeeeeed that money. So I'll work as hard and as often as I can, sacrificing my well-being and time with friends.

2. Society. Alright, so. I think that this pretty much encompasses all. How easy is it to be a complete individual in today's society? Probably the most difficult thing there is out there. We all have our ideas -- that have formed because of a reaction or as a result of something in SOCIETY. We dress a certain way, talk a certain way, are raised a certain way. In fact, this is basically the biggest slaveholder the world has. Society molds our brains before we can even walk. And there's no way to escape this slavery except to live on a commune (where that society will become new slaveholders) or to go live by yourself in Antartica where there's no population.

3. Ambition. I'm a slave to my ambition. It drives me to do so much, but sometimes I forget to do the fun things too. This one is probably the easiest for me to overcome, and that's why it's not the biggest thing that I'm a slave to. Also, I don't mind being a slave to my ambition and a workaholic most of the time. I've been working on finding a balance for quite some time, and I believe I'm succeeding.

What things in your life are you a slave to? :)

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