The pettiness of our troubles

The amount of concern we take for things that do not matter is unreasonable and unnecessary, only causing us more frustration. We have, as first world societies, become too accustomed to our lifestyles, consequently and mistakenly taking them for granted. We are constantly over exaggerating, and the sense of what is important has been lost. ‘So and so hasn’t liked my Instagram photo!’ ‘The food was terrible, we’re never going there again!’ ‘I don’t have time to watch my Netflix programme!’ These are not uncommon complaints. Yet all of them become trivial when one takes oneself out of the situation. These things which we take so serious become, as Nagel puts it, gratuitous. Someone hasn’t like your post? Over 50% of the world doesn’t even have access to what you mindlessly post, and that person, contrary to what you might want to think, probably doesn’t really you or even really know you. The food was terrible? 800 million people wouldn’t even dream of such a meal. Can’t watch Netflix? Tough. Over 20,000 people die each day of poverty.

We’re all guilty at times of such complaints when we begin to take ourselves too seriously and we become too involved in what is only going on in our own lives, forgetting about the bigger picture. Of course it’s nice to enjoy some of life’s greater pleasures now and then, but to complain when certain, unreasonably hopeful, standards aren’t met is to make a mistake. Moreover, maintaining the bigger picture may both encourage us to aim towards a better future for all and allow us to appreciate the things which so many others do not have. It may be bad right now, but it could be a lot, lot worse.


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