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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Are Americans really ever satisfied?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26798points) August 17th, 2010

As Americans are we ever truly satisfied? I remember seeing a YouTube video of some gal throwing a hissy fit because her parents bought her the wrong color new car. When I was in high school you were happy to get the use of the family car and to get passed down the car was about the pinnacle; getting bought a new car? That was practically unheard of.

People get lateral promotions where they get more money and responsibility but they are not happy because they did not move up the org chart.

We American want ever larger serving portions at restaurants or we feel we are getting rooked.

It goes on and on. Are American every really satisfied?

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20 Answers

BoBo1946's avatar

Yes, some Americans are always after a “bigger carrot!” The lucky ones are the people who are happy with the simple things of life. Family, friends, etc….or, just a good cup of coffee!

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I am an American and I do not feel this pressing desire to have more more more. I do feel like a bit of an outcast for it, I have to admit. I don’t have a great job, a fancy house, my car is 10 years old. I don’t have cable television and I rarely buy myself new things. I’m not in any rush to change it, either. I get far more joy from being close with my loved ones and rolling around on my (30 year old) carpet with my dog.

I think it’s almost a sickness at this point. People never seem to know when enough is enough anymore. Makes me a little sad….

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Question is, are humans really ever satisfied?

ZEPHYRA's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie, you are truly blessed and you seem to know what it’s really all about. Stay as you are, there are too few of you!

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@ZEPHYRA thank you… very sweet of you to say so.

Austinlad's avatar

This is an old soapbox of mine. One of America’s founding tenants is that we should always to strive for more, but I think over the years that’s evolved into our believing Americans deserve more—and more specifically, that we deserve more than other Americans (thanks to credit cards, we can always get more, but that’s a whole different topic.)

I think if each of us had to live in another country for a while we’d realize how fortunate we Americans really are just to have what we have.

And by the way, in respectful response to @ZEPHYRA, I believe there are plenty of people in this country and certainly in other impoverished ones who are forced to be satisfied with what little they have and long-since given up hope of ever having more.

CMaz's avatar

”.or, just a good cup of coffee!”
Yea, a $6 cup of coffee. :-)

Its not that we are never satisfied.
It is that everyone else’s business we make our business.

When we stop trying to keep up with the haves and stop seeing what we don’t have.
Satisfaction will take on a whole other meaning. It then becomes what you need is what you want.

Sarcasm's avatar

If you’re talking about the same video I’m thinking of, (this video) that was actually a viral ad for Domino’s pizza. At the end of the set of videos, she sells the car on ebay for $10 so she can buy a pizza.

I don’t think Americans are unique in the fact that they want things, I think everyone all over the world desires to have stuff.

And it depends on your time scale. If I get a new video game and get sucked into it, I can be pretty damn satisfied for a few months. But eventually, its entertainment value will decrease and I’ll desire something new.
I don’t feel “rooked” when I don’t get a massive serving at a restaurant.

DominicX's avatar

I don’t think that girl is representative of most Americans. Most people I know (some of whom did get a new car bought for them, including myself) would consider that girl a spoiled bitch. Having your parents buy you a new car has more to do with wealth than it does with generation. The wealthy kids in the olden days probably still had parents that would buy them a new car. This kind of thing isn’t new.

My point is that isolated incidents like that are not really grounds for making a general statement about Americans. There are definitely Americans who are never satisfied and that’s sad, really, because they’ll probably live miserable lives. But I don’t think that speaks for most Americans. Americans tend to be ambitious and strive for more, but there’s quite a difference between working harder so you can buy a bigger house eventually and screaming because your new car that your daddy bought you is the wrong color.

wundayatta's avatar

You can be satisfied when you’re dead. Up until then, it’s all competition. People who are satisfied will fall behind. They won’t have good opportunities to reproduce, and their genes will be removed from the gene pool over time.

We have evolved to be competitive and to always want more because that is the way to the top of the heap. Sort of.

Some people want to change the image of what the top of the heap looks like. Instead of constant consumption, they want it to be spiritual advancement, which includes detachment from the acquisition of things.

It’s an interesting question as to whether the rules can be changed. Certainly, for a a portion of society, you can gain status by spiritual pursuits…. unless…. Maybe there are secret rules about acquiring goods—look at the various churches and religious/spiritual groups around the world. They all acquire property and build beautiful buildings. They all have strict hierarchies. It is clear who is top dog; the head of the pecking order.

Often, people who are overtly spiritual or spiritual seekers have the resources (including education) to support their seeking. After all, you can’t reject materialism if you never had things to reject. And people rarely reject their education and knowledge or position in society together with their rejection of things. Of course, you can’t reject knowledge. But you could reject your social capital to some degree.

Anyway, I would argue that the inability to be satisfied is built into all of us. It gives us an evolutionary advantage. The constant desire appears in many ways—not just material. In fact, you could make the case that the desire for spiritual good is a stronger indication of dissatisfaction than even materialistic desires.

josie's avatar

At the risk of sounding shitty, I really do not care. When I am satisfied, things are good. When I am not, it usually means I need to work harder or get better. Everybody else can feel the way they want to. None of my business.

MeinTeil's avatar

I hope not.

The quest for perfection made America what it is.

YARNLADY's avatar

@MeinTeil You beat me to it – I second your answer

CMaz's avatar

I am $28,000 from being satisfied.

boffin's avatar

I’m good. Small fish in a big pond. Living within my means. Like I said I’m good!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Sarcasm That is it, I don’t believe every American or American teen acts like a self-absorbed spoiled b**** as that McKenzie gal was. And the follow up was even more appalling. Many people would be glad to have any new car that ran no matter the style or colors, she tries to justify throwing a hissy fit by not getting just what she wanted because it doesn’t match anything she has. Neither would the bus. Rather than be thankful she can drive herself around she isn’t grateful because it isn’t blue.

I am grateful of many things, that I can travel on smooth straight roads not dirt washes or dried river beds as some nations have to do. I go to the sing and water flows, right from the tap clean and plentiful. I don’t have to lug it from a well or the communal spigot. I have a fridge to keep my stuff from spoiling, no worried if I can’t use all that meat right away. Even simple things like having a choice of stores I can go to and purchase clothes, I know to some it is slumming because it is off the rack and not by some designer, but at least I have it new not used from a UN clothes drop.

I want things, a home of my own, maybe a car that is more fun to drive, big screen and such, but if I don’t or can’t get them I am not going to throw a hissy fit as if I deserved them and not having them will erode the life I have already. I don’t like to wish bad on anyone but I hope that car gets creamed in a parking lot, stolen and stripped, or throws a rod.

filmfann's avatar

You are confusing thinking Americans with 16 year old girls.

Whitsoxdude's avatar

Nope, never. We are like vampires.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Austinlad I think if each of us had to live in another country for a while we’d realize how fortunate we Americans really are just to have what we have.

While we are on the cusp of Thanksgiving how many do you believe are truly thankful? Here in America we have hot and cold running water; no heating up over a fire pit or hauling it 500yd from the communal well. Most will have a fat bird to eat on Thanksgiving with all the trimmings in a nice warm house and a table to sit at. There won’t be any leaky roofs or muddy dirt floors to contend with. The roads to and from family that might be visited will be more than not smooth, easy and safe (barring douche bag drunk driver) to travel, many things that are seen as a luxury in many other nations. You are so right, we should be very thankful for all we do have but are we really? With all of this what can people really grumble about? Because someone else has more cars, a bass boat, larger flat screen or newer cell phone, heftier credit card? If you get home or end the day at home after the guest are gone and you have a full belly and you are alive and well, shouldn’t one take time to sit back and be thankful of that?

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