Our Disposable Culture

One morning during our 2010 trip to Hawaii I walked down Ala Moana Boulevard to the Borders bookstore intent on browsing through their Hawaiiana section.  While kneeling on the floor looking through a book a young couple in mid-conversation turned into my aisle.  Still looking through my book I heard the guy say, “Do what you want, I don’t care.”  Being involved in counseling, both the content of what he said and the tone in which he said it immediately put me on alert.  I looked up in time to see the young woman turn her back on him and retort, “Whatever!” as she stomped off.  I thought to myself, “That relationship is headed straight for the rocks!”

Because I deal with relationships as a spiritual counselor I am often searching for the influences which affect how we deal with one another.  One of those influences is that we live in a “disposable society.” When we are done with something then we throw it away and simply buy another to replace it.  Such a mindset does not foster finding reasons for holding onto something.  With such a disposable mindset when we are aggravated with someone we are tempted to simply get rid of them as well!  A hallmark of our disposable culture is that of convenience, of being able to replace one object with another with relative ease.  Being involved in counseling people I often see this insidious “disposal/convenience” mindset manifesting itself as a source of conflict in relationships, especially as the relationship moves into the more mature requirement of faithfulness to the other person.

When a relationship begins it can feel as if our past life has been erased or forgiven.  We cherish the person who has brought such a miracle of mercy!  We sometimes confuse our inner emotional needs with love leading us to “fall in love” not with the other person but with who we want them to be.    When infatuation, like an early-morning fog, burns off a couple is often ambushed by strange feelings about their beloved as faithful- ness in their relationship demands that they embrace inconveniences.  Where previously no task was too great to perform for the other, now requests from the other seem to be increasingly unreasonable.  When one’s response becomes “Whatever” then the relationship comes to a fork in the road. Will they choose another road together?  Will each choose a separate road?  Will “disposability” win out?  Will “Whatever” be the rock upon which the relationship wrecks?

Kahuna-pule Kimo

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