Four Examples Of First-World Problems

[Krishna's lotus feet]“The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal, fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.7)

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ममैवांशो जीवलोके जीवभूतः सनातनः।
मनःषष्ठानीन्द्रियाणि प्रकृतिस्थानि कर्षति।।

mamaivāṃśo jīvaloke jīvabhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ।
manaḥṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi prakṛtisthāni karṣati।।

Shri Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-gita that the jiva souls, those conditioned by the vulnerability to material life, struggle when in a temporary land, covered by material elements. He does not make a qualification between rich and poor, young and old, or male and female.

Through perceiving the world around them, a skeptical person may raise objections along the following lines:

“Don’t you think some people have no reason to complain? Their problems are ridiculous. That is the reason for the term, ‘First World Problems.’ The idea is that many people around the world would love it if their only issues in life related to these supposed emergencies requiring urgent attention. How can anyone objectively say that these folks are struggling? It doesn’t make sense to me.”

1. The Music app on the smartphone is more difficult to use

I don’t understand. This company rebounded from near obscurity to record prominence through the revolution in the music player. Others were first to the market to deliver a portable way to listen to digitized music, but none of the products were very good. They had bugs to them. The battery life was weak. The interface was difficult to use.

Then this other company released a product that became immensely popular. The secret was being able to navigate to a song to play in a matter of seconds. A few gestures using one hand and you could be listening to your favorite artist.

[original iPod]But along with the advent and popularity of streaming, the same company has ruined its own application for playing music. Now there are these giant images for the artists, when before reading text was sufficient. It takes forever to get to the album you want. Creating a playlist is also very cumbersome. That used to be my morning routine, prior to leaving home for the office. I would pick some songs quickly and then listen while driving. That is now out the window; never to be experienced again. I am so frustrated.

2. The video streaming service of choice doesn’t automatically play the next episode

It took a while, but I finally got on the streaming bandwagon. I am too lazy to shuffle through a shelf of DVDs to find a title to load into a device. That also requires extra storage, for things that may only be watched once every few years.

Now I can simply open up an app on my television. The problem is this specific company makes it very difficult to play episodes in sequence. I have to go back to the main menu and find my place all over again. It is terribly annoying, especially since the episodes have thumbnail images and a short description. These are things I do not wish to see, as they are kind of spoilers.

3. The voice in the GPS app is hard on the ears

I remember when portable navigation devices initially became available. I was one of the first to have them among friends and family. They thought I was crazy to buy one. They figured I would never need it. Nor did they think it would work properly.

Fast forward to today and drivers can hardly live without such assistance. The GPS is integrated into the smartphones, making life much easier. The only problem is the voice. The one I have is really annoying. I can’t stand it. I would rather not stare at the screen for turn-by-turn instructions, getting distracted from the road in front of me. But at this point I have no choice. Keeping the app on mute is the only way I can tolerate the situation.

4. No WiFi on the train

This is a long ride into work each morning. I know by the average commuter’s standards my trip is rather short, but it seems to take forever. Having internet connectivity would help a great deal. I know in other cities there are wireless hotspots almost everywhere. Yet here I am stuck with nothing. I have to just sit there. I don’t want to bring a book with me, since that means carrying extra stuff that could get forgotten or lost during transit.

These are referred to as “first-world” issues because in places where technology is not as advanced, people would never think of lodging the same complaints. If there are no cars to drive, how would they ever use a GPS app, for instance.

At the same time, the outside opinion bears no impact on the actual emotion. That is to say the person with the supposed “first-world” problem has genuine suffering. We can consider the situation of someone who has a million dollars in the bank, but still worries about money. They should not have concern in that area, but due to forgetfulness they are always uneasy. One could say the worry is unfounded, but the worry is there all the same.

And so we see that Shri Krishna is indeed correct in His assessment. Every person is struggling. The cause is the six senses, which include the mind. This is all the more reason for taking up bhakti-yoga, which is the culmination of assimilating the science of self-realization.

[Krishna's lotus feet]As every person is struggling, they can benefit from connecting with the Supreme Lord in a mood of love. Everyone can feel the transcendental bliss resulting from chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Sacred texts like Bhagavad-gita are for everyone, as the principles explained apply to every circumstance and foresee every potential divergence and area of misunderstanding.

In Closing:

These people complaining should?

Since others never would.

Because within world not in first,

Where urgency on hunger and thirst.

Who cares of music app or streaming?

To even own a car only dreaming.

Still that pain and suffering real,

Lacking yoga everyone to feel.

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