The new Apple iPad has now been released in Australia and I’ve already heard it described by friends as a “must have” item.

Really?  Must have?  Something that didn’t exist a month ago, something that wasn’t even an idea until recently is now considered by many people to be a necessity.

Have we all gone mad?  Perhaps.

Please don’t take this as an anti-Apple rant, because it isn’t.  They do make really cool, user-friendly stuff and I am the owner of an iPhone and iPod, so I’m certainly not one to judge people who want to buy the latest gadgets.

I’m just looking for a little bit of perspective.

The reality is that for over half of the world’s population, it will take about a year for them to save up for an iPad.  That’s if they don’t choose to waste money on such luxuries as food, shelter, clothing and education for their kids.

Why do we have such a yearning for the latest cool gadgets?

Unfortunately, for many of us much of our self-esteem and sense of belonging comes from owning things.  A bigger car, a bigger house, a bigger TV, the latest mobile phone, the list goes on and on. 

We either feel a fleeting burst of satisfaction if we are ahead of the curve (by being the first in our crowd to own one) or feel relieved that we have caught up to everyone else and aren’t left behind during conversations.

The reality is that we want iPads and we need oxygen.

Our genuine needs are as simple as food, clean water, shelter, clothing, companionship, physical safety, meaningful work, optimism and a set of beliefs that you find genuinely fulfilling.  There may be one or two other things that I’ve left out, but I can comfortably say that iPads aren’t on there.

Let’s start a new cool crowd.  One where:

  • sponsoring kids from the developing world is cool.
  • volunteering in the community is cool.
  • encouraging others and freely giving praise is cool.
  • living within your means is cool.
  • putting the needs of others before your own is cool.
  • spending time with your kids (if you have them) is cool.
  • not being a slave to material things is cool.

Would you like to a part of this cool crowd?

Now don’t get me started on 3D televisions…

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