An Irish woman's social, political and domestic commentary
Wednesday, April 28, 2004  


1. Funny website here devoted to debunking 'Euromyths' in the British press.

2. Am taking it easy today after frantic day shopping yesterday. Recommended reading for women of child bearing years is The Red Tent, a historical novel about Dinah, one of Jacob's daughters. It's an amazing story - details here. Anyway, one of the interesting things is that Jacob prospers because his several wives are extremely industrious. He has sheep; but they spin the wool; they grow food; they make clothes: they are always producing. In our more recent agricultural-based society - up to the 1970's anyway - women were also busy; they might have sold eggs from the few hens they kept, made bread, kept a kitchen garden or knitted jumpers: they were always adding to the revenue of the house in some way.

Today's housewives, freed from subsistence, don't produce anything - they just consume. They occupy their minds thinking of things they need to buy and spend hours hunting for real or imagined bargains. So instead of writing pulitzer prize winning articles I went out and bought a steamer yesterday. Which I must say was a great purchase. I steamed the pototoes on one level (best ever spuds) and salmon steaks on the next level (gorgeous - wrapped in silver paper with some lemon, celery, butter and black pepper). Definitely the way to cook and I felt triumphant. Now, feeling triumphant about cooking a lovely, healthy, economic meal is not the worst thing in the world. But it shouldn't really constitute the pinnacle of one's week.

Or should it? Is the drive to add value an unworthy goal implanted in my head through a combination of capitalist indoctrination and catholic guilt? What is the evolved attitude? Is there a Budddhist position on this? I was clearly taught in primary school during religion class that if you had a talent and didn't use it, that was a 'sin'. In fact, there's a bible story about this in which the word talent is used altho' it meant money, which is worse. Its place in the Gospels always perplexed me but it's clearly a heavenly endorsement of investment and profit; somewhat at odds with the trashing of the traders in the temple. Is one required to fulfil one's "life work" (say in my case, presenting the Late Late) or is it ok to relax and devote oneself to one's family? Perhaps the steamer was a bad example. There were many more hours spent trying on summer clothes (the sun came out - always sparks a wardrobe crisis). Apart from the fact that I realised I am going to have to lose some weight, I was acutely aware that I was in a compulsive purchase zone, which is not a comforting state of mind.

I suppose, like everything else, it's all about balance. However, one conclusion is clear: a life devoted to consumption is an unhappy one. Whether driven by economic necessity or self-actualization great satisfaction is derived from production. Maybe that's why blogs are so popular? Hmmm......

I didn't buy the clothes. I am going for some long walks and made a pact with myself not to buy anything until June 1st. 24 hours hasn't passed and I feel slightly panicky but am hoping liberation will follow soon.

posted by Sarah | 12:46 0 comments
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