Tuesday, February 26, 9991


We are told repeatedly that “more is better”, so we desire more and better clothing, food, vacations, electronics, automobiles, and houses.  We then must pursue more money in order to buy all this stuff.  Since money is a limited commodity, one person can gain only when another loses.  Thus, the whole system is based on scarcity, competition, and fear.  We worry that we won’t have enough money to buy what we want, so we toil, steal, gamble, and manipulate in order to get it.

The majority of what money can buy brings only temporary enjoyment.  A gourmet meal satiates us for a few hours.  A vacation lasts a week or two.  Even our house doesn't bring ever‑present enjoyment because we’re not home all the time. 

We could be contented with so little: a small house, a functional automobile, some friends, a few knickknacks, a smattering of books, a modest wardrobe, and a warm bed.  However, our ego sees something beyond those - a large house, a luxury car, a trip to the tropics, a fashionable article of clothing - and says, “I want that!”  So we work long hours in order to save up” to buy it.  Then, after the novelty wears off, we desire something else, and toil in order to buy that.  Thus, via consumerism, we give up continuous well-being in exchange for temporary enjoyments.  If we could stop desiring things we don't truly need, we could be contented all the time, whether we were taking a walk or at the grocery store or with friends or sitting in our living room.  Then we would not desire luxurious possessions or “peak” experiences, and the lesser material comfort would be far outweighed by more emotional comfort.