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Every species on our planet exhibits self-entitled behaviour. Whether it’s the basic survival instinct of killing for food, disturbing habitats for shelter, or intraspecific brood parasitism (where a bird will sneak their eggs into the nest of another species). Nature favours selfish behaviour — it can make the difference between survival and extinction. Yet, there’s only one species which acts in such an overwhelmingly self-entitled manner that it is rendering its entire planet uninhabitable. You guessed it. It’s us.

It’s not surprising we act in this way. Every instance of modern life features social norms which serve to enable entitlement — our hyper-ego-centricity. We are primed to “want”. We are bombarded with information from corporations; targeted by advertisers which employ manipulative strategies to persuade us that we need new items to improve our lives. Often, advertisements exploit socio-economic findings and behavioural studies, such as Richard Thaler’s infamous Nudge Theory, to powerfully influence consumer behaviour. Our exposure to the media could actually be reshaping human expectation. While social economics can’t reliably compare pre-modern behaviour with life today, it’s safe to say that at least in the 21st century, our species loves to get new things. And society repeatedly shows us that we “deserve” it. A brief look at the marketing of various products shows how casually advertising can feed this idea — fast food, chocolate and headphone brands have all used the “you deserve this” strategy over the years, while the general presentation of smiling, happy people acquiring new things is pervasive across advertising in general. …


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Each boy gazed at the brown water rippling beneath huge slabs of exposed stone. Green sludge, algae and sorry-looking plant-life decorated the edges of the large pool, where water met rock. The brothers’ eyes remained fixed on the water, as though hypnotised. In the diminishing orange light cast from a clear autumn sunset, a faded sign beside the nearby footpath stated: Denham Quarry.

“Disappeared?” Michael replied with a furrowing of his brow, “What? …


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Ok, so maybe you don’t remember those times. Maybe you weren’t born. It’s also unlikely that anyone reading this shared a bedroom with me, apart from my brother (hi, Ste), however, you might conjure memories of at least one of the Sonic the Hedgehog games. Or maybe the TV show. …


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“What?” he asked.

“I was just lying on the park and I felt an itch on my leg. I reached round, thinking it’d be like an ant or something, and there was this big moth. Just chilling in the sun. Happy as anything.”

“Did it fly out yer wallet?” he replied, and we had a good laugh. …


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The rest of the year, he remained inside. Through the gaps in the curtains we would sometimes see him, with his long hair and beard, wrapped in a blanket, watching TV, or playing video games. Usually pretty sedentary, except for the one time we saw him dancing. Other than that, we might glimpse him during his fortnightly delivery of groceries, and once in a while he’d get a parcel. That’s how I met him. Yesterday, the post-lady delivered a heavy parcel to our house by mistake. …


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We considered swimming to cool off. I noticed the lobster man get dressed and depart the beach, following the solitary narrow path through jungle which led up to the village. Alone at last. Toes dipped in water as clear as the air, Eryn removed her bikini top. …


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The corpse of the robot lay sprawled on the floor. A wet, yellow pool surrounded it, creeping outwards, teasing rivers into the grout between ceramic tiles. “What the hell happened?” said John. Exasperated, he crouched down beside the corpse and used two fingers to turn the head to the side. “Was this you, Lucy? …


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“Oh really?” I replied, politely feigning surprise. As a matter of fact, I could believe it. The unit was quite battered, with the oak-effect veneer peeling off the shelving edges in places.

“Yes! I was just browsing a dog-lovers forum and there it was, out of the blue: someone offering a free set of shelves. Only three miles away. The post had been up for forty-three minutes too! I couldn’t believe my luck — how had no one replied?” His eyebrows raised. A glint appeared in his eyes. I raised my own eyebrows in response, and nodded, though I can’t be sure I matched that glint. …

About

Andrew Jolly

Human person. Chorley, Lancashire, UK.

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