Consume, Collect, Throw Away or Share and Give Away

As a child I’ve loved to collect stuff – toys, stamps, pictures from chewing gums and many more. I’ve forget almost everything I used to collect as a child. All the other kids were collecting as well, so it was like a big social game. Everyone tries to collect more different pictures or stamps than the others. We not only collected but exchanged the stuff we had as well in order to obtain what we wanted to have. It was a real trade with a lot of negotiations. My parents used not to like every kind of stuff we’ve collected so I often obtained to money from them in order to buy this stuff. So I had to obtain at least one object as a gift in order to can start the game. When I’d already had one I tried to exchange it for two and so on till I had enough, so I can mix with the biggest collections. It was not only important to exchange, but to know to do it correct. There were always some pictures which were very seldom and it was always good to have one of them and even better to have two of them. Because you can then exchange one of them for even hundreds of others! At one point I’ve even noticed that I can make money from this trade. I’ve started not only to collect, but also to sell pictures. I’ve made more money a day than I’ve obtained from our parents. Sometimes I managed to make more than the salary of my parents in month. Thus I gained quite a lot of money and I usually put them aside together with some other saved money from parents and relatives. I used to collect even some old glass, metal, paper, chestnuts, herbs, flowers, snails and so on. You can sell all this stuff. Thus I’ve managed to make a lot of money. With the money I started to buy paintings of unknown, but to become famous painters. 🙂 These paintings are still at home, but I have no idea if I can sell them and make a big deal. I like them so much, that I’m probably not going to sell them.

As you can see, our society forms some kind of trading, management and even investing skills in kids. And all this was more or less a game. But it was as brutal as the normal economy. Some managed to succeed and other just spent the money of their parents and had at the end even no collections or only small ones. It was somehow good, because it gives you some essential knowledge how to make business and how to survive even when you had to start from a bad position. On the other hand it can build in kids some bad habits like showing them how they can win with unfair methods and how they can manipulate.

This collecting based economy and trading was of course created and used from some big companies who managed to sell their bad chewing gums, waffles and so on only because of the pictures inside. We’ve even sometimes thrown the waffles and chewing gums away. This was actually the best solutions because if I tried to eat them I usually had to go to the dentist after that, which was not much fun … As a kid I couldn’t realize that this is a whole industry for making money. It is a typical industry where you buy something, don’t even use it, throw away and then buy again. Some people make millions from it; some a little and 99% only spend money and obtain nothing. But the real cost is carried by the nature. And no one paid for it.

So collecting means nothing but consuming in this case, it’s the same sin. Collecting used to be fun, but it is always connected with throwing away or / and addiction. I’ve often get addicted to some stuff I’ve used to collect. Mostly I’ve get addicted to the money I’ve collected and I only saved them without using them for anything. Which is of course a bad way to use money. Only putting them aside leaves them without purpose. Thus I’ve made them not useful not only for me, but for others as well. Or I’ve started to collect those paintings. So I was again by collecting. It’s definitely an addiction. On the other hand such addictions teach you how to get rid of bigger and much more dangerous addictions. Because when you collect something, at some point you have to sell it or to throw it away. When you sell it, you still have something in your hand and can start again collecting or can be at least happy that you made some money. But it is really painful when you have to throw away. I’m never going to forget when I had to throw away two full big bags with old toys. I was the age of five and my father decided that we don’t need these toys anymore, because these were for younger kids and I had to start with some more meaningful things like books, games and so on. The really bad thing was that I had to throw them by myself. I’ve cried a lot, but it was a good way to learn that you can not only collect, you have to throw away as well. Nowadays I’m translating this as you can’t only obtain, you have to give as well.

As you can see, the whole process of collecting I was involved in as a child was nothing as, but the way our whole economy functions as well. At some point I’ve discovered that this whole way how our society functions is not really sustainable. But I don’t really have a solution for this problem. I’ve just found a solution for myself not to be addicted. I’ve just started to throw away everything which I do not need. Thus I’ve managed to get rid of all those material addictions and to concentrate on some more important spiritual things.

Only recently I’ve discovered that there can be a better way of doing things. I still have this throwing away type of character, but I’m not throwing away, but always giving away the stuff I don’t need anymore. And much more important, I’m not taking part in the so called consuming society. I’m buying almost no stuff and I’m always trying to share the stuff I have. And never letting my money just stay somewhere. Better to lend them and let someone else using them! Only thus a really sustainable culture of  sharing and giving can be achieved.