First World Problems: Errors In Thinking

I was reading this morning a question on a website that I frequently check in with. It’s a showbiz website, which often also has information about all sorts of happenings in the world of tech. I’m not the biggest gadget geek, but what really does interest me is far far the human race has come with developing solutions to even the smallest of problems.

You might be surprised that I said smallest of problems there, rather than choosing the big, global issues, not least because this is a website relating to natural disaster relief. Bear with me – all shall become clear. Yes, the solution to world hunger and global peace would be huge, but the fact of the matter is that we’re a long way from solving them completely, even though small steps have been taken. In truth, in both of those global issues, it can feel like an eternal game of cat and mouse, with a step back for every two forward. That starts to zone into the point of this update though – small steps are needed for the biggest journeys.

Returning to the post I was reading – I felt myself feeling somewhat irked by the content, which was about waking up to a cold house thanks to a boiler breakdown – an f75 code flashing on the display and the water running cold. It’s certainly not something that I know anything about, and to be fair, want to. Again, that’s not what this website is aiming to educate on, useful though it might be to someone who needs help in that way.

After a few moments, I realised that while the post probably wasn’t the most interesting they’ve ever made for their readers, it does illustrate the point of my update – this very page. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Whereas some people in poorer parts of the world have no running water, let alone hot water for a shower, we have a tendency to feel rather under attack when a boiler breakdown strikes. I think that’s what they mean by ‘First World Problems’. Our focus tends to be on much more fundamental issues of survival – not least earthquakes. So, as my title says, we have a bit of an error in our thinking, no?

Well, as usual, I’ve thought a little more deeply about this, and perhaps it’s a bit of a necessary evil, a side effect if you will. We are all used to enjoying warm homes, shelter, food and so on – things we shouldn’t take for granted, but do. What it does mean, though, is we have the time and resources to make a difference to those a lot less fortunate. So, is that justification in itself?

Your Global Britain
Your Global Britain

Well, I suspect that most people would like to be able to do their bit to help, but we tend to be caught up in our daily lives. While some will argue that last year’s Brexit vote turned the UK inwards, the PM’s big speech yesterday was very keen to say exactly the opposite. We have to agree, as there is no country better for raising money for good causes, sending tax payers money to foreign aid causes and so on. Most of us support that too, apart from the few (who to be fair are likely to support Brexit too) who used the referendum result to justify their intolerant ways.

As the PM’s tagline went, we’re on course to be a Global Britain, and that’s something we should all be proud of, regardless of how irritated we are by a lack of hot water.