Art of Complaining

There’s a meme running around that is expressed in the phrase, “first world problems.” I used the phrase the other day in conversation with God and he stopped me and made me define my terms. I don’t think it was so much because he didn’t understand them, or me, as it was just that he wanted to get me to focus so that I could better understand what he wanted to say next.

To me the phrase is a sort of post-modern recognition that the thing I’m about to complain about is pretty high up in the hierarchy of needs. Generally, so high up that I (or whoever) feel kind of guilty bothering to complain about it at all.

God says that although the particular expression is recent, the concept that our complaints may be trivial compared with those of our forebears is not. He says that one of the first times he talked to someone about it with someone was with a caveman complaining that the limited palette of pigments available to him didn’t allow his drawings on the wall to really capture the essential spirit of that day’s hunt.

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