The price of guilt

In our affluent, first-world, decadent society we truly get into the spirit of Christmas. Well, perhaps not the true spirit as defined by various religious entities, but certainly we know how to enjoy ourselves. And indulge we do!

In some respects it is tragic how many privileges we have, compared to many other peoples around the world. Truly we are blessed in terms of the lifestyle we are privileged to enjoy. Sure, some would say we should beat our backs with birch sticks just to remind ourselves of the plight of others but that hardly seems appropriate. If it were able to achieve a meaningful redistribution of wealth and privilege, perhaps, but . . .

So it is that we let our hair down at Christmas – and all the way through New Year – as we stuff ourselves with the abundance of food and drink available to us. But then consciences kick-in and guilt builds. Market research specialist, Ibis World, has put a price on the level of our guilt. It says we will fork-out some $112 million into weight-loss initiatives to start 2010. Of this, an extraordinary $93 million will be new gym memberships. Now that’s real guilt.

Imagine, of course, just how much good we could achieve for those less privileged (not just around the world but here at home, too) if we committed n ourselves to helping others to the same extent we want to ‘help’ ourselves? We should give thanks but always remain mindful of our remarkable advantages. It is the very least we can do.