The consequences of a good standard of living appear to me to be endless waste. I was contemplating this fact as I walked back up the village yesterday in a blustery shower. Shielding my face from the wind and rain my eyes were upon the pavement. It was there I saw a small, apparently lace-trimmed handkerchief, the sort a child might have. I didn't dwell on my dilemma long. In an instant I resolved not to pick up the muddied and wet piece of cloth on the basis that I didn't need it, I don't know anyone else who would need it, and in any case it might bear the bacterial or viral remains of some affliction that I would rather not acquire.
In nineteenth century England a child could be hanged for stealing a handkerchief. I ruminated upon that fact. What a terrible fate awaited those who were forced to steal in order to eat back then; for I'm quite sure no child - with the shadow of the hangman's noose above them - ever undertook such a risk without very very good reason.
So is society a better place today? We don't hang children. But is the fact that I felt no wish to pick up that handkerchief a Good Thing or has our society, wallowing in its piles of unwanted items, plummeted to the depths of depravity with the amount of acquisitions that every day we waste with barely a second thought? I'll leave you to ponder that.