Updated: Sep 29
Being born in a social context where you can walk into a store and choose exactly what you want to eat may not feel like an incredible benefit or luxury, it’s obviously something you are entitled to. You are so entitled that you might get annoyed if they are out of your brand of peanut butter or milk. Entitlement is the notion that you have a right to something, without considering the ecological impact or cost to others. Being healthy, successful, able to travel and wearing the clothes you want is taken for granted by many, just like having access to clean water.
The question of entitlement runs through the history of mankind where the stereotypes of gender, social status, color of skin and birthline have inspired people to create advantages for themselves at the cost of others. The most intriguing part is that entitlement is just a belief, and as a belief, it is imagined. When the belief is no longer held, the entitlement disappears. You can dissolve entitlement with a thought.
Even if entitlement is only a thought, thoughts will often start manifesting in actions and behaviours. When somebody thinks otherwise there will be a clash or the entitlement will dissolve. What you and I truly have a right to depends entirely on what we agree upon in our minds. To define your worth and birthright is to define a drop of water out of context.
From a flock perspective entitlement is simple, every individual that brings value to a flock is entitled to some personal gains in exchange. In a classroom or workplace the dynamics are simple and allow you to trade a task, a skill, social status, your looks or humor for a place in the flock. In a small community where the flock is clearly defined a natural balance of these dynamics will evolve.
In the global society we live in today the flock isn’t defined any longer and you have no idea whom to thank or at whose expense your food, clothes or belongings were made available to you at the price you paid. This opens up for great imbalances. There is enough water, but the water is distributed unevenly at the cost of lives every day, and no individual is responsible.
The entitlement of being born into a thriving part of your society can be a comfortable delusion. A key to your happiness is the difference between taking a benefit for granted and being grateful for it. We are all a part of the imbalance in this world. If you and I are more conscious about the impact of our behaviour on everybody else and the ecology of the world we can improve life and sustainability on earth instantly.
This is a decision you and I are entitled to.
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