Opportunity Cost Of Being Humans.

Young Pravin who studied Opportunity Cost just a few years ago has once again bowled a googly or for my American readers, pitched a curve ball!

I suspect that he has done that because he has read something from a spiritual book which he quite regularly reads, to throw us old bandicoots like Shackman and me off balance. It will be interesting to see what he comes up with eventually.

As far as I can see, since the alternative to being humans is being apes or angels, and the likelihood of the latter option being available, remote, the opportunity cost of being humans now is that we have lost all ability to be natural, like apes or even our own ancestors. And since we have lost that ability, we have become unnatural in our whole approach to life. We have become increasingly dependent on so called logical thinking and have been giving up or ignoring our intuition resulting in all kinds of problems that other living beings do not seem to have.

Let me illustrate with a simple example. If I give something to my dog she will sniff at it and instinctively know whether it is edible or not whereas if I give something to a human being he will now google to find out whether it is alright to eat or not. Many things that my grand mother knew as handed down knowledge is now lost because we have got educated in a system that condemns such knowledge and glorifies so called logical and scientific information gathering. Even as late is the middle of the last century, we were very different as human beings than the specimens that we have now become.

Nothing explains is better than this following meme that has been doing the social network rounds for quite some time now.

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren’t overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo’s, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms……….WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.

And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn’t it?!

And just to reinforce my argument that we have gone bonkers, I take my readers to this very interesting and illuminating article on the idiosyncrasies of the modern humanbeing.

Pravin has suggested this week’s topic. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin, Ashok and Shackman.

This entry was posted in Blogging, Economics, History, Humor, Nostalgia and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Opportunity Cost Of Being Humans.

  1. Gabbygeezer says:

    The meme is a very accurate description of my years growing up in a small midwestern American city. It probably is appropriate to mention that during those years and the several decades I and my friends lived following them the
    average life expectancy in the U.S. improved considerably.
    Gabbygeezer recently posted..Why Are We Surprised?

  2. shackman says:

    I read the linked article and was reminded of my 17-year old granddaughter Ashley – she prefers to sleep in my long sleeve black tee shirts. Lucky for her I have a bunch of them as she wears a different one each night so she would definitely wash her pjs every day should my closet door be stuck or locked.

    I took a different approach to the topic, treating its economic side a bit. I considered it payback for my somewhat esoteric topics like Hawking’s sell by date.

    • I found your take on the subject very interesting indeed. I really do not have the problems of the laundry, living as I do in India with help affordable but added that to drive home the point I was making on the absurdity of our lives now.

  3. “Many things that my grand mother knew as handed down knowledge is now lost because we have got educated in a system that condemns such knowledge and glorifies so called logical and scientific information gathering.”

    I’m afraid I’ve given up a lot of things that my grandmother taught me:

    Eat the crusts of your bread, it will make your hair curly.
    Never go outside with wet hair, you will get pneumonia.
    If you say something optimistic about the future, always knock on wood.
    Don’t read so much, it will ruin your eyes forever. Etc., etc.

    Hurray for science, I say! “The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.” A lot of that has been because after WWII governments understood that radar helped save Britain so they invested heavily in scientific research. Now China is doing that, and even North Korea. The U.S. under Trump, on the other hand, is cutting funds for science, especially anything connected with understanding climate change and its implications.

    Also, about guns. When I was in the early years of grammar school a friend died from one. The kid next door fired a gun into the air to celebrate the new year. It landed on my friend’s head and killed him. Yes, no lawsuit, just a devastated family.

    • So have I Monk, so have I but I decided not to edit the meme and published it in its entirety as otherwise the thrust of the post would have been weakened. I have no quarrel with science per se nor am a luddist. I still believe that our getting away from being close to nature and following our instincts has had a detrimental effect on our wellbeing.

  4. “If I give something to my dog she will sniff at it and instinctively know whether it is edible or not…” She may sniff and decide it’s all right, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be poison. A friend of mine lost her precious pup when a dog-hating neighbor gave him and other dogs anti-freeze. Apparently it smells and tastes sweet, but it’s a horrible way to die.

  5. Ursula says:

    There are parts of that meme that are ridiculously rose tinted – and plain, well, ridiculous. Electronic devices and having friends are NOT mutually exclusive.

    I take particular umbrage with, because it just ain’t true for those born in the fifties and sixties, even the seventies, that “First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.” That is just so not true because in those days women didn’t smoke or drink. I remember family occasions where the men, my uncles, would drive to the venue, graciously (drunk) allowing their wives (my aunts), some hours later, driving them back home.

    There is so much wrong with many points of your meme I could cry. Running with scissors? I dare say, one of the first lessons any child is taught is how NOT to run with scissors (not to talk when eating fish with bones) and, first and foremost, how to hold “scissors” when passing them to another person.

    To mention just one more, before testing your patience: “The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!” You must be talking in jest. Name me one person (past and present) who wouldn’t do anything to bail their child out and I name you a bad unloving uncaring vindictive parent.

    “We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!” I am not saying these are your opinions, Ramana, but do you seriously think that anything has changed? Everyone does, always has, always will, learn “how to deal with …” the fallout of their human existence.

    What is wrong with the last couple of previous generations hell bent on disparaging the current young generation? Let’s not forget one thing: WE were the ones bringing them up. Responsibility? Indeed. Ours.

    U
    Ursula recently posted..Let me bore you

    • My mother smoked a lot and drank some when she was pregnant with me. Needless to say there was a lot of secondhand smoke in the house after I was born. I think the new emphasis on not smoking is an improvement.
      Cheerful Monk recently posted..The Days Are Too Short

      • Ursula says:

        Your mother “smoked a lot and drank some” when she was pregnant with you? Have you forgiven her? Would you forgive her if it had damaged you in any way?

        I consider myself as pretty tolerant about most misdemeanours. When it comes to pregnancy I have zero tolerance. Zero. In fact I despise women who won’t let off the smoke and the booze for a few years (if you take pre-conception, conception/pregnancy, and breastfeeding together). In my early twenties my immediate boss, the boss’s wife was a wonderful woman, a hoot. Yet, she was evil too. She fell pregnant (accidentally). She kept chain smoking, she kept downing the whiskey. And when gently nudged, not least by her husband, she’d say “The little bastard has to take its chances”. Well, the little “bastard” did survive – albeit displaying the typical stunted growth thanks to a chain smoking mother; he escaped the misery of a hare lip (destiny of many of those whose mothers drink heavily during pregnancy) . What he didn’t escape, and it was heartbreaking, was WITHDRAWAL – on birth. Want a screaming baby desperate for a fix? Withdraw all drugs on entry to the world. How cruel is that?

        If there is one thing I feel militant about it’s the above. Have a child, don’t have a child. Whatever. Just don’t impress the sins of the mother on the child.

        U
        Ursula recently posted..Subterfuge

    • No, you have not tried my patience. You will appreciate however that the meme originated in the USA and many of the things that happened there did not simply happen in Europe or in the UK. Other similar things did and unfortunately, I could not find any memes of them. If you put yourself in an older American’s shoes, say like Gabbygeezer who has commented here, you will see how it resonates.

      I am a hybrid Ursula, mostly an orthodox Indian with affinity to British values and language due to our colonial past. Quite how I would react to the dealing with it all will take a completely new post!

  6. well, my take on “opportunity costs” is different…and it does have to do with economics.

    I see as the opportunities that come ones’ way like in – the throes of wars, strife, depression periods – people found ways to make a living from something that no one thought they needed. Usually luxuries. Like parachute silk – or hard to get “stockings” – cigarettes – more than just what the food stamps got you i.e. exchange some for something like fabric that fell off the back of a truck.

    even now, there is probably someone taking an opportunity to add more to their financial piggy bank, whether legal or not…without the tax man knowing or the justice system discovering your “money pile”

  7. Important to maintain your sense of humor when you read the list—some items are less dangerous when viewed from the perspective of history!

  8. nick says:

    Indeed, our lives are becoming more and more artificial and it’s hard to know what is our real identity and what has been grafted on to it through social custom, technology, slick advertising, fashionable products etc. And all this artificiality hasn’t made us any happier or more fulfilled. We may all be living longer, but to what end?
    nick recently posted..Celebrity blues

  9. Max Coutinho says:

    Hi Rummy,

    First of all, great theme selection. Second, awesome meme: it’s a shame it proves our society is filled with spoiled individuals. Third, the Guardian article shows us that some mums have nothing better to do than wash clothes all day, everyday (Al Gore, instead of bothering the normal us, should gather them up and have a serious conversation with them: they are harming the environment and wasting resources). Fourth, after humans see their basic needs supplied they move on to futility and utter nonsense…nothing that a few trips to Africa, Asia and some places in Latin America won’t fix (i.e. reality check).

    Cheers

  10. One more for the list:

    Our parents said “No!” and didn’t worry about trying to be our “friend”.

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