The goal of achieving a successful and comfortable life for oneself and ones family is shared across the globe, though it is known colloquially as the "American" dream. But the resources of the world, and even the universe are limited. Life itself is defined by constant struggle. It is unclear if the current notion of the "good life" is possible, or even desirable. And although a utopia by definition is impossible to achieve, there are many who live out their existence in situations that can only be described as idyllic. Even the middle class often have the goal of reaching the higher echelon of society and seem to work towards a goal of having no further need to labor at all. There is an important question to be posed, and it requires a moral system that holds the improvement of the human race as the most important tenet. The question is as follows: Is it morally reprehensible to spend one's time and financial resources in the pursuit of distractions, namely the accumulation of enjoyable material goods and leisurely activities?
It would be helpful, perhaps, to narrow down the target of this pondering. Essentially, it is the expenditure of billions of dollars on seemingly unnecessary tools of distraction. Distraction is certainly the best way to describe what is provided; distraction from the suffering of one's fellow man. Every penny spent could go toward easing the hardship of the third world, or indeed, the first world. The argument is not being made here that free citizens should be forced to spend their hard-earned money or should be coerced by anything other than their conscience. It has been said of man that he cannot live on bread alone, but should it rather be said that man is great enough to endure on bread alone, so that his fellows might also be sustained?
Should that then be the fate of all men? To labor without end in pursuit of what is, in essence, improbable if not impossible? There is a definite nobility to such a struggle, and a poetic beauty in a constant battle against circumstance itself in the service of oneself and society in general. But beauty is a matter of perspective, and all but useless as justification. There is reason enough to warrant self-indulgence. To live without it is to live either without hope, or with the support of faith in the unforeseeable. One must either live with the reality that the "good life" is and always will be inaccessible to most of humanity, or have faith in the ability of man to augment himself and his environment with the use of scientific knowledge. If hope is not surrendered, or faith is not embraced, then one cannot help but placate selfish desire.
Although the word "selfish" is used, it is not necessarily pejorative. In a very real sense, the facilitation of a comfortable environment can be seen as the crowning achievement of society. For what are lives spent and sacrificed for if not a better life for the next generation? Such an environment, in which enjoyment is abundant and beloved for it's own sake, is thus far the closest the human race has come to creating a paradise. But that paradise is built upon the backs of those who work so hard and for so little, that they are essentially slaves to the system that is so enjoyed.
The question has no easy answer, because any answer that can be found lies within the heart of the individual.