Fascinating subject. Buddhism calls the three great ills of mankind:
greed, hate, and ignorance. Further, that human desire/greed is
endless. It is our nature, yet we do have a choice to try and meditate
it away. This does work, at least for the actual moments in time that
you are in meditation. Desire will fly right back in once you are back
in the world. Even the Dali Lama has said that when he passes by
colorful displays of DVDs, for example, he desires them, though he has
no use for them. And now I will talk about myself :-) I, like David,
collect books and video games, more than I will probably ever live
long enough to actually consume. I have tried to have some control,
buy used, am not in debt, etc. Yet I am a hoarder of these things and
live in chaos and clutter. I have tried to analyze myself. Sometimes
what I am really trying to buy is time. I buy more when I am busiest,
most stressed at work, have the least time to actually enjoy the
things I buy. I buy to distract myself from pain, from loneliness,
etc. I used to think I was buying wisdom, but I not longer have that
delusion, for the most part. I buy expensive dinners just to have the
experience of a particular dish. I spend money to take classes in
things that are of no practical use. I have never had any interest in
keeping up with the Joneses or buying brand name items to impress
other people. I still drive an old car. I web surf "tiny houses" and
am fascinated by people who live with very little and manage to get
by. I fantasize about living on the street yet I know I would not be
able to do that for long, especially in Minnesota. I work not to so
much to achieve a level of success in the sense of "belonging" but so
as to not to be a burden or a pariah, and to maybe be of some help to
my children and grandchildren. I am okay living on the outer ring of
the circle as long as I'm not an outcast. Make sense?
On 6/28/12, Jon Anderson <[address removed]> wrote:
> 1-what do we do with our misfits?4
> 2-assuming food, clothing, and shelter are what we most value, what's
> driving the economic need to grow?5
> 3-are professional sports good for us?5
> Assuming food, clothing, and shelter are what we most value, what's driving
> the economic need to grow?5
> David: through most of our existence we were content with having enough food
> and shelter. Now, myself included, we want (need?) more and more things.
> Why? how much do we need of anything? I like to buy video games, some I'll
> never use, yet I want 'em!Why want a mansion when your little house will do?
> is it greed, envy?
> Jim: if we have a house, food, and nothing else, would one be happy? I say
> no. We need something to stimulate us. People want to work.
> David: I agree but there's a difference doing work to achieve something and
> doing work to accumulate stuff.
> Jim: a person who wants to be productive will inevitably need more to
> continue productivity.
> David: but we once were satisfied just to have food, shelter, clothing, and
> Larry; I don't think they were any more satisfied then than we are now.
> David: maybe survival was so up front we had little time for hoarding.
> John: we don't know if they weren't trying to acquire then. Perhaps they
> sought to acquire better hunting grounds? Once tools began to develop, then
> our ancestors wanted to improve those tools. Then moving to our modern
> society, things aren't equal, so those with less would like to get more.
> David: why?
> Larry: we want to improve ourselves
> David: but "improve" isn't what's happening
> Jon: the author Jonathan Haidt argues in his book The Happiness Hypothesis
> that we strive to acquire the things that will make us fit in with those
> around us. It's a community making thing. He even goes so far as to say that
> we are willing to sacrifice a great deal -- even our happiness -- in order
> to acquire whatever we decide is necessary for fitting in.
> David: is fitting in why poor areas have people who won't succeed because
> they fit their community?
> Jon: we have a Socrates Cafe member up in St. Paul who tells us he was
> raised in such a poor economic community and that yes, he had zero awareness
> (or even interest) in how one fits in outside that neighborhood. He says he
> one day decided the expectations he grew up with were wrong for him but that
> this decision was not easy. He had to leave that neighborhood in more than
> physical ways. He had to begin living/working among people he had previously
> seen as outer space aliens.
> John: poor African American kids don't want to be excluded. David assumes
> that we could live in a steady state. Pick a year, say 1918, we were using
> gas and oil then but we would effectively run out of gas and oil well before
> now for lack of the techologies that came later which enabled better and
> more efficient ways of retrieving and processing oil into gas. In the book
> "the Prize" efficiencies enabled not running out, tech for finding oil and
> Jim: Malthusian population control arguments work only if we assume our
> technology will not improve.
> David: I want more video games. I collect books.
> Jon: how'd you feel if you weren't allowed do those things?
> David: I'd find a way to get 'em anyway!
> Jon: so then acquisition is human nature?
> David: I guess.
> Jim: "we don't need" is the rub. Without improvement we don't get
> infrastructure. We need infrastructure and so many other things.
> Larry: Joe Campbell, talking with students said he spent a lot of time
> building his reputation as a scholar but when if the time lost away from
> family was away from family was it worth it, he said no! This is the guy
> popularly famous for advising we all "follow your bliss"!
> Jim: yet we're assuming that along the way he knew his choices to be apart
> from family were wrong. Hindsight is 20/20.
> John: it also assumes that family time would have made him happy -- it's
> hypothetical. Everyone has an ego. People at the top are striving for
> "positional goods." It's more important than money. Some baseball players
> want the bigger salaries not for the money, but for the status
> Jon: I am definitely doing work that means little to me in order to maintain
> my version of success. Some of that success looks like excess, but perhaps
> having that satisfies my wish to belong.
> Jim: I think we underestimate Obama/Romney as position seekers having an
> David: big egos must not be so important to some.
> Larry: I found some of the best leaders were lazy; they were skilled at
> talking others into doing their work! What about the ones who don't want
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