Are we deserving of anything?

What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude. / Brené Brown

Who Am I?

Name: Micah Dierks

pet peeves: hypocrites, rich/snobs, belligerent correctors, cultural obsession with sensuality, capitalism, conservatives

dislikes: violence, disparity, hate, close-mindedness

Man is not, by nature, deserving of all that he wants. When we think that we are automatically entitled to something, that is when we start walking all over others to get it. / Criss Jami

Essential Question

Are we (as humans) really entitled to anything?

My Experience:

  • white family raised in a white environment, private school
  • uncle threw our comfortable world upside down
  • we've grown to despise our former life (in a sense)
  • moved here precisely to experience a less entitled life
  • I've hypothesized that perhaps it's the capitalist culture itself that fosters such a sense of due

Legalism breeds a sense of entitlement that turns us into complainers. / Tullian Tchividjian

Explanation of Topic

Entitlement: the belief in one's own claim to anything

the root cause of issues such as violence, prejudice, etc. : all predicated by greed .

I want to discover...

  • cultural movements for the abolition of entitlement
  • the effect and influence of entitlement in other cultures
  • psychological analyses of entitlement
  • root causes & effects of entitlement

What I want you to take away...

  • that we as humans can live more aware of our egocentricity and the falsehood of our 'right' to anything - engender a more grateful, humble, & peaceful social environment

Causes of Entitlement


Cultural Diversity

Mitakuye Oyasin / Nahko and Medicine for the People


Mitakuye Oyasin

This is the place for all my relations

To bring celebration

Through meditation

Giving thanks for

All of


We are so provided for

We are so provided for

We are so provided for

We are so provided for

All of the blessings

I have received

How could they have been

bestowed upon me?

So I'll put it all back

in the ground

Back in the soil

Where I am found

It all started



Skan Skan

Something holy

Moves here on the land

It is my brothers'

and my sisters' hands

It is the way

We make our plans

We don't make them


This is it

What is this

This is Eden

Eden is

Where I live and where I give

My whole being

to the Great Spirit

We are waiting

and we're on our way


Mitakuye Oyasin

This is the place

For all my relations

To bring celebration

Through meditation

Giving thanks for

All of


We are so provided for

We are so provided for

We are so provided for

We are so provided for

Effects of Entitlement

The Lie We Live

Like-Minded Thinkers

Nahko & Medicine for the People - My Country w/lyrics

American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World / David E. Stannard

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A Language Older Than Words / Derrick Jensen

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A Language Older Than Words | Excerpts

"I see now the line of thought and experience that leads ineluctably from this perception of private ownership–the word private coming from the latin privare, to deprive, because wealthy Romans fenced off gardens to deprive others of their use–to the protection of this perceived ownership at first through fences, then through the creation of a theology and politics to justify my perceptions, and finally through a whole system of police, prisons, and the military to enforce my rights when others are so stupid or blind as to not acknowledge my ownership."

"I see also a parallel and complementary line of thought that doesn't merely protect my belongings, but proactively and permanently prevents others from stealing them. Instead of building a fence, why don't I, as I mentioned before, just kill the coyotes? It would be easier, and would eliminate the worry. I'd be in chicken heaven, or at least chicken-owner heaven. Of course, coyotes are sneaky, so unless I kill them all I'll eventually be forced to invent better ways to kill them. Others, too, may steal the birds. There are hawks, snakes, skunks, raccoons, and rumor has it, a mother bear and cubs can be found. Now that I think about it, even though my retired-doctor neighbor and his family seem very nice, they do sometimes look enviously at the big black hen. I've got to stop them all. Today I own chickens, tomorrow I eradicate coyotes, and the day after I knock off the retired doctor and his family. And it's not only the chickens. I need gasoline to run my truck–I can't dumpster dig without a truck–and gas has to come from somewhere. I heard that Saddam Hussein wanted to cut off access to the United States' oil in the Persian Gulf. The dirty [glutton]. We've got to stop him, too."

"Manifest Destiny as a claim to virtue soon evolved back into the ideal of making money. An enterprise was deemed as good as it was profitable, while domination and control remained safely unspoken. The forests of the Northwest were described by a corporate spokesperson as 'a rich heiress waiting to be appropriated and enjoyed.'"

"Rational discussion presupposes rational motivations, yet claims to virtue are always attempts to place rational masks over nonrational urges. This means that to focus on the claims without broadening the debate so that it includes a consideration of the underlying urges is to be irrational and ultimately fall into the same pattern of destructiveness. Another way to say this is that while the claims themselves possess the veneer of rationality, the process is not rational, but only within a severely distorted, nonrational framework–and then only so long as one doesn't question the framework itself."

"In the beginning is the urge. In the people who would destroy it is always there. Like poisoned water, it is heavy; like poisoned water, it is ungraspable; like poisoned water, it always seeks for cracks to seep through, to exploit, to wear away, to open; like poisoned water it emerges, and when the vessel breaks, as so often it does, like poisoned water it comes out raging its mantra of death."

Jesus for President / Shane Claiborne & Chris Haw

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Jesus for President | Excerpts

"'The ethic of conversation is the explicit abnegation of man's dominion over the Eath. The lower species are here for our use. God said so: Go forth, be fruitful, multiply, and rape the planet–it's yours. That's our job: drilling, mining, and stripping. Sweaters are the antibiblical view. Big gas-guzzling cars with phones and CD players and wet bars–that's the biblical view.'

–Ann Coulter"

"'Not since Rome has one nation loomed so large above the others. Indeed the word empire has come out of the closet.'

–Harvard Joseph Nye, Washington Post"

"Throughout all of the world wars, border disputes, and cutthroat economic boom of the twentieth century, a conviction increasingly developed that the United States needed to solidify its control of the global scene. Among the myriad critics of this global-dominance project was Martin Luther King Jr., who initially aimed at race and class issues but later voiced criticism of the US as an imperialistic 'policeman of the whole world'. He wasn't killed without reason. Even a glance at a high school history book shows that the United States' imperial objectives are all too clear. The Stars and Stripes fly over more than seven hundred military stations in more than one hundred countries all around the globe. The US has claimed lands far and wide as its own (Alaska, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guam, Guantanamo Bay [in a country it explicitly opposes through sanctions], the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, etc.). It participated in and escalated the most belligerent and out-of-control weapons race ever known to humanity ... "

"'Seneca says that peace, freedom and liberty are things that sound beautiful 'but are hard to touch.' He said they belong to all, but only as a slogan, because 'no one really knows what they are anymore.'

In the speech of Cerialis in Trier after the plundering of Germani: 'Freedom, however, and other specious names are their pretexts: but no [one] has ever been ambitious to enslave another or to win dominion for himself without using those very same words.'


"'If their enemy has wealth, they have greed; if he is poor, they are ambitious ... they behold with the same passion waste and want. To plunder, butcher, steal, these things they misname empire; they make a desolation and call it peace.'"

"'Such vast quantities of the spoils of wars came home that in Syria a pound of gold was sold for half its former value.'


"'Aelius Aristides: 'Now the earth itself and its inhabitants have been granted universal security which is evident to all. Every war begins with fear.'"

Who are we to think we deserve anything? What makes us so great? No one is 'lucky' to have us. We are full of it. / Donna Lynn Hope

Hop to It

  1. Avoid the temptation of instant gratification
  2. Work towards the routine of keeping a daily grateful journal
  3. It's all in the mindset – you don't deserve ANYTHING (and yes, that includes non-material concepts or feelings, etc. as well)

Making universal property a right is the surest way to universal property. / J.S.B. Moore