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The Necessity of Human Wastefulness

September 20, 2013 | By

Wastefulness is a virtue not a sin, and wasting must be carried out religiously

Having closely observed the general tendencies of human civilizations, I have come to the conclusion that its necessary, to consume, and simultaneously waste that which is not easily available or accessible to everybody. Due to the nature of society (and as Darwin would have us believe), competition for resources is so tremendous that only the fittest emerge victorious and manage to survive.

What ‘fittest’ would include is of course open to debate. One may consider access to capital, or superior intellect, or sexual prowess, or even race/caste as markers of ‘fitness’ that ensure survival in society – depending upon the space and situation. Naturally therefore, the privilege of surviving is afforded only to a selected few, the ‘chosen ones’.

Wastefulness is a virtue not a sin, and wasting must be carried out religiously

Wastefulness is a virtue not a sin, and wasting must be carried out religiously

Again, ‘survival’ in that sense may be defined as living in a comfortable and dignified manner/as living as part of the many unknown, faceless, identity-less bodies that exist, merely exist on the peripheries of society as unimportant, inconsequential individuals that need never emerge from their positions as the subalterns, or even as living comfortably and yet, complacently. Survival therefore depends upon accesses – to resources, facilities etc.

But what happens to those who don’t have such access to these advantages? The society, in reality, is not comprised merely of victors content in their own spheres of engagement and activity. It comprises of both the equipped, as well as the deprived – and that despite Darwin’s universally accepted theory of survival which claims that only the fit manage to survive. However, the less than fit also survive.

What then ensures their survival, substandard as that kind of ‘survival’ may be? What ensures that people who are not ‘fit’, have death-like existences, and have no scope and hope for any betterment in the future, sustain themselves, and in ways, just, ‘survive’?

It is at this point that I can say with confidence that human wastefulness is quintessential to the existence and sustenance of mankind. For if the ‘fit’ don’t waste, the less than fit will not survive for if the fit don’t litter, the less than fit would probably never have that which is not otherwise available to them. Indeed, a country in which capitalism, privatisation, and liberalisation do not allow for equal distribution of resources or cheaper alternatives, and disallow the sustenance of small-industries, the only hope to feed the poor is by allowing wastage to occur efficiently and adequately so that enough garbage is provided to rag-pickers to sift through and sustain themselves by.

It may therefore be said that human wastefulness is becoming increasingly important in current times of capitalism. The government should carry out campaigns spreading awareness on the need of wasting as much as possible so that the poor are adequately fed and therefore manage to live. Food, paper, water, etc must be regularly wasted so that they eventually benefit the whole of mankind by ending up in places where they may be picked up by beggars and street urchins.

In fact, wastefulness ought also to be made one of most crucial corporate responsibilities. People ought not hesitate before throwing away, say, a half-eaten sandwich, for it may later feed a starving man who daily finds his dinner in trash cans.

I thus propose that wastefulness is a virtue not a sin, and wasting must be carried out religiously and dedicatedly so that those who have no means of purchasing things themselves may find them easily in garbage dumps, land-fills and roadside litter. It is of utmost importance that wastefulness is encouraged, and in fact increased, as only a rich man’s waste can now redeem a poor man’s existence.

Note: The above article is based on a real-life incident. The writer witnessed a poor man looking for food in a rubbish bin outside a prominent restaurant in the heart of the capital city: CP. As the writer looked on , shocked at the sight, the man unabashedly licked off the disposed plastic plates that held the leftovers (gravy and breads) of people and as he was doing so, suddenly looked up with a tragic look of wild self-contempt and disgust mingled with helplessness, and met the writer’s eye for a brief moment, and shattered her heart.

Ipshita Nath is enrolled in the third semester of the Masters degree programme of the Centre for English Studies, School of Language, Literature and Cultural Studies, Jawaharal Nehru University, Delhi. Her research interests come under the rubric of Cultural Studies, though she has an abiding fondness for the textual mythologies of Shakespeare, Milton, Byron and nineteenth century British and American novelists. She occasionally indulges herself in écriture poesy, enjoys the music of Kumar and Burman, is as fascinated by the persona of Marilyn Monroe as by the works of Botticelli and Michelangelo, has an enduring passion for bi-chromatic American, Bengali and Hindi cinema and would like to get hold of a time-traveller to hop in to the ‘40s and the ‘70s.
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