I have had quite a few things on my mind this past week. Amongst other things, I am getting my first laptop (YAY!), my parents and grandparents had a holiday, a Halloween dress-up is coming, nothing is happening with my project (a bad thing). So, instead, I have been thinking about the ills of the world. And teaspoons.
A while ago in one of our lab meetings, we discussed an awesome paper that was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) about disappearing teaspoons. The authors did a neat little study on teaspoons in tearooms. They had a few interesting findings, one of which really surprised me: The rate of disappearance of higher quality spoons was not significantly higher than that of lower quality spoons... Anyway, what I have gotten around to thinking about, is that there must be some kind of teaspoon heaven (also mentioned in the paper, as a possibly place to go for unlimited spoons). Seriously. Teaspoons must be going somewhere, and surely the would have reached a saturation point by now, if teaspoons are still being manufactured! So: Is there a teaspoon heaven?
And now for the second: The soapbox. I live in South Africa, almost a new country. We have recently become a democracy, and our past is shrouded in racism. One would think, in the normal progression of things that people who have previously been oppressed would get a sense of entitlement, and this is generally the case. Fair enough. But it appears not to be limited to one race. Everyone (ok ok, a lot of people) has this attitude!
If everyone has the same sense of entitlement, the same attitude of "I'll take everything you can give me and more", where does this leave us? Less than what we started with. If no-one can be accommodating, and maybe even giving (instead of taking), the world (or SA), or even my university community might be a happier place?
One example I have thought about is littering. I've posted on the subject before, and now might have some insight into why people do it. Its rather complicated, but with my theory of entitlement, might just make sense. Maybe people litter because if someone else has to pick up their rubbish, they will be higher up in the proverbial food chain than the cleaner. So, although I don't throw down my sweet wrappers, pens and other general rubbish, I have made a resolution:
To pick up just a few pieces of litter a day.
It wont be much, and I'm not going to make much of a difference, but still. Its something. How else do you challenge and change the attitudes and mindsets of those around you?