Still absolutes in modern culture


Growing up in Hoagland my life was pretty good. I can’t really say I had everything I wanted, but I had everything I needed.

When I came home from school someone was there to greet me. When I turned on the switch, the lights always came on. Our home was always warm in the winter, and I always had clothes to wear. As far as I knew, life was pretty good. We could go about anywhere we wanted but just had to be home by dark. Dad never got too excited about much with my brother and me. We always thought it was as if he could make others just like us if need be. This all happened before the internet came into existence and changed the entire world from what we were all used to.

Our house was like most others. We had one car, one TV that had three channels, play clothes and school clothes (and you never mixed them), church two to three times a week, and a host of other items that no longer exist. Life was really very simple. Wow, have we complicated it all.

Now, please keep in mind I am sitting at my desk writing this article on my computer. It will then get emailed to my daughter for corrections, then to the newspaper to publish.

I now live in a home that’s big enough for at least two families, have four cars, a lawn mower (that costs as much as a new car used to), six acres, many unneeded toys, 300 or so TV channels, enough clothes to wear for months (and never wear the same one twice), and so many more items I do not need. And, of course, high-speed internet. If any of these modern conveniences go awry in the slightest way, I would feel very frustrated while never giving thought to how it used to be before any of these things came in and changed my life.

At least for me, time is passing faster now than ever. It seems like I blink twice, and a week is gone. I am getting older fast, the grandkids are growing up fast, and the whole world is just going way too fast. I wonder if I have been a part of letting that happen. I have let the things now available keep me way too busy to enjoy my life as it should be enjoyed. I have almost become enslaved to them.

From those that have the least to those that have the most, we have way more than we should. Rules and even laws that were in place to govern us have been changed or even abolished. Certain behaviors that were never tolerated in the past are now embraced. Products we consume have skyrocketed in price and the number of people that are willing to work has dropped to where some businesses are forced to close.

There is so much we can learn from the Dutton family of the television series “Yellowstone”. The series “1883” is a prequel to “Yellowstone” about the Dutton family moving west. They travel in a caravan with several wagons and several families. As time goes on, they lose wagons and many people due to sickness, disease, Indians and bandits. The daily hardships they endured made me question if I could have suffered and lived through it myself.

The most interesting part of the whole show is how they handled issues that came up in the caravan. Some of them were the same ones we face today; they just handled them differently.

They would have some lazy people with them that wouldn’t carry their share of the workload. When food got scarce, some stole from others within the group. How did they deal with those things? They left them to fend for themselves. It was not tolerated. There was no meeting to see what could be done. No special arrangements were made. The decision to leave was made immediately and with great force and no negotiating was done.

My takeaway from this: Every generation seems to live much easier lives than the ones before. We enjoy conveniences that were only a dream in the past. For most of us, life is fairly easy. But, with this ease of living have we become too tolerable? Just like the Duttons, we have rules and laws in place to govern for the good of us all.

My question is have we allowed a few to change many of the rules we all live by? I am not meaning to pass judgment in any way. I am proposing the question.

I think there are absolutes that still exist in modern culture — things that are right, and things that are wrong. Some of them may change a bit, but some will always remain with us.

Randy Butler is a lifelong resident of Highland County and a licensed real estate agent.

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