The student news site of Hawthorne Math and Science Academy

Aviator News

Filed under Opinion Editorial

How Much Is Your Life Worth?

Dollar+Bills+courtesy+of+401%28K%29+2013+on+Flickr%2C+labeled+for+reuse+under+the+Creative+Commons+License+
Dollar Bills courtesy of 401(K) 2013 on Flickr, labeled for reuse under the Creative Commons License

Dollar Bills courtesy of 401(K) 2013 on Flickr, labeled for reuse under the Creative Commons License

Dollar Bills courtesy of 401(K) 2013 on Flickr, labeled for reuse under the Creative Commons License

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






In a capitalist country, like the United States, people are far better off than others in much poorer nations. People who live a life of comfort here often take it for granted, but what if they were taken out of their usual comfort? How would a person adapt to a situation they were not generally accustomed to?

On MTV’s new reality competition show, Stranded with a Million Dollars, ten contestants, who can drop out at any time, have the chance to split a grand total of $1,000,000. The group starts off with $100,000, gaining $100,000 more at each camp site they travel to. The journey through the wilderness is ultimately a challenge full of physical, social, and emotional trials for each contestant. Contestants must face the elements, hostility, fear, and homesickness. After facing all these obstacles for 40 days, at their final destination, the remaining contestants split the prize money. There are two catches; however, the group has the opportunity to purchase various tools and food items, and are given “temptations,” which are exactly what they’re called–temptations! These purchases and “temptations” take away from the group’s total amount of money and open the door to many questions. It has MTV’s idiocy and teen-appealing drama marked all over it, but unlike the vast majority of what MTV produces, the show actually made me think about what I would do if I were one of the contestants.

Unlike other competition shows where a set price is what the winner(s) receive(s), the amount of money split among the last-standing contestants is determined by the choices the competitors make. Regardless of what has already occurred on the show, the obvious decision made by contestants is one between life and money? In a world that allows a piece of paper to control practically every sphere of life, wouldn’t money be life? People are greedy and the endless chase for money, although in vain, only heightens this greed even more. In a situation where the opportunity arises to nourish, and even enhance, one’s livelihood, how much money would be spent? As mentioned earlier, contestants in Stranded can make purchases. Among the items listed, there are items that although unnecessary are helpful in the survival process, such as a machete, tent, pot, or duffle bag. On the other hand, the food items are absolutely unnecessary, because contestants have access to–yes, I’ll admit–boring food, like coconuts and taro. Compared to paying $3,500 for a jar of peanut butter or $5,000 for pizza (I LOVE PIZZA, but no one should ever have to pay that much for it), the bland repetitive food option is the better choice when taking money into account. Nevertheless, none of the items they are offered are essential for survival. Whether or not a person in this situation chooses to purchase the times that would ultimately ease many of their troubles demonstrates their priorities. If items that aid the survival process are bought, life is prioritized over money, and vice versa if opposite actions are taken. If it is taken a step further and food is purchased, another question arises: Is luxury a necessity?

Along with the purchase of food, “temptations” remind the contestants about the comfort they left and currently yearn for. “Temptations” generally consist of food prizes, but can also contain other luxuries, such as new clothing or a shower and products for personal hygiene. For many people, these are standard for happiness, but what if you had to pay $15,000 to enjoy these things? People wouldn’t be so quick to spend money on luxury if it was at an exorbitant price, especially in a competition that might feel like an eternity, but only lasts 40 days. The factor of time causes a person to second-guess taking the “temptation;” however, if the luxuries presented are integral in a person’s life and boosts their morale, it is likely they will take it. I’m certain if it were me on the show, I would take any of the “temptations” in a heartbeat. No, these are not necessities, but they are tempting, and when placed in a different, life-sucking, psychologically-destroying environment, the mind becomes weak-willed and does anything to repair itself.

The prospect of winning money influences people to spend as little money as possible, while the ability to buy food or take “temptations” has the opposite effect. In this situation, and because of the normalization of luxury, the contestants will have to spend money eventually. Ideally, money would only be spent on vital items, but this is unlikely. The amount of money spent is dependent on the value, skill, and mentality of each contestant.

Both survival and money are significant, but are we losing sight of which of the two is more important, or are they growing into inseparable concepts? It is also important to note that luxury, another prominent factor in the show, is becoming increasingly normalized. The role luxury plays in relation to survival when compared to its relationship with money, is quite distinct. Survival does not require luxury and usually results in its sacrifice. Money, by contrast, is what is used to provide luxury. A person’s perception of luxury is key to what they place more significance on in the battle between survival vs. money.

I have never known what it feels like to live an uncomfortable life. I have enough clothes, enough food, enough of the basic necessities needed in life. I am even lucky enough to get some of the things I want that are not necessary for my well-being. It is a life millions of people around the world could only dream of having one day. Survival is not something I question daily because it isn’t a problem I face daily. Sure, it crosses my mind: “What would I do if a tragedy occurred? How would I cope?” I never have the answer. It’s not an answer I want to have. Watching Stranded for the past couple of weeks has been a bit distressing. I am watching other young people trade their money for luxury that is not essential to their survival and asking myself, “Is our generation really this self-indulgent?” Unfortunately, yes! Survival is the least of our worries, what matters to us is having whatever we don’t actually need at all times. Little makes us content about where we are if we can’t temporarily satisfy ourselves through gluttony or technology. It’s plain excessive and outright materialism! Our constant need for more infects every aspect of our mindset, becoming the greatest weakness of our generation. Survival is about making sacrifices and using what you have access to, but many young people today disregard this, never preparing for the worst as if they’ll always have access to everything they want and need. If any of us were placed in a situation like Stranded where we were given the opportunity to earn money but had luxury tempting us at the same time, it would only be a matter of days until we started abusing our money, killing ourselves for the god of consumerism.

Is that what you truly value?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • How Much Is Your Life Worth?

    Opinion Editorial

    Free Speech University

  • How Much Is Your Life Worth?

    Opinion Editorial

    Is Senioritis a Thing?

  • How Much Is Your Life Worth?

    Opinion Editorial

    The Demonetization of YouTube videos

  • How Much Is Your Life Worth?

    Opinion Editorial

    A Bystander’s Role

  • How Much Is Your Life Worth?

    Opinion Editorial

    One for All or All for One?

  • How Much Is Your Life Worth?

    Opinion Editorial

    Is Adulthood Defined by Age?

  • How Much Is Your Life Worth?

    Opinion Editorial

    Social Media: The Power to Connect and Disconnect

  • How Much Is Your Life Worth?

    Opinion Editorial

    Should HMSA Have Longer Breaks During Passing Period?

  • How Much Is Your Life Worth?

    Opinion Editorial

    Scott Pruitt is Not Suitable to Head the E.P.A

  • How Much Is Your Life Worth?

    Opinion Editorial

    Was the “Day Without Immigrants” Protest Worth It?

The student news site of Hawthorne Math and Science Academy
How Much Is Your Life Worth?