It was pointed out to me by the young 'un, and confirmed by Mrs. TD, that in Orwell's 1984, the all-encompassing state used the mechanism of a state lottery as one of its numerous means to keep the proles in line; the lottery was extremely popular amongst the proles. State lotteries as of the 1940's (when Orwell wrote 1984) were not all the rage as they are now; but as in so many things... Orwell was prophetic. It was once suggested to me in blog comments that 1984 was not intended as a manual. Well, whether or not it was or wasn't so intended, it has sure as hell been used as one, especially here in the United States of late, from its creative methods of torture, to serving the public rot-gut cheap crap (Victory gin, anyone?) to keep it in line... to state lotteries.
Anyway, fast forward to Canadian couple Alan and Violet Large, who won over $11 million in a lottery prize, and then proceeded to give every last loony, quarter and penny away to friends, charities and hospitals, noting that... they're happy... they have each other!
Everything I read tells me that "stuff" doesn't make one happy: experiences and especially doing nice things makes one happy, and, not coincidentally, will help one live longer and healthier. Which is one of the truly great ironies of a Western world that is choking with stuff, but starved for "doing nice things." And so we come to the United States, with tens of millions of people on antidepressants while choking amidst stuff (much of it made in Eastasia, with whom we're at war... or is it Eurasia?)... virtually none of whom would even dream of doing what the Larges did, no matter how good it might make them feel.
I throw this out there because when we run out of comparatively-cheap oil in the next few years... the incidence of "stuff" (that would also include food and pharmaceuticals, as well as i-pods and x-boxes) is going to collapse (along with so many other things)... if we were already inured to "doing nice things"... such as favors for friends or just random kind acts... we might be of the kind of mind-set that would get us through the privation. Of course, being Americans, many of us feel "it's about the stuff," and even though, the ultimate irony is that money really can't and won't be able to buy happiness... most of us probably won't adjust.
Well... an exemplary (and cautionary) tale from the Great White North... one we might consider heeding.