Saturday, March 18, 2006


by Skald

"People have enough to live, but nothing to live for; they have the means but no meaning."

--Robert Fogel

There's America in a nutshell. Weve got enough. 99% of us. Weve got enough food. Weve got enough clothes. Weve got adequate shelter. Our physical & economic needs are met.

What drives the capitalist system is not need... its obsessive desires. Almost every mystical-religious tradition in history recognizes that the reduction of craving is key to happiness. They recognize the essential benefits of simplicity. They stress awareness, direct engagement.

In other words, business thrives by thwarting the spiritual. Businesspeople are anti-Buddhists... their goal is to increase craving. And if Buddhists/Hindus/Mystics are right, their goal is therefore to increase suffering. Is modern business evil?

Wanting more, more, more is a one way ticket to misery. Buddhists call such people "hungry ghosts"... whose appetites can never be satisfied. These are people in a perpetual state of scarcity.

Most Americans fit this description. Despite being the wealthiest nation on Earth, they want more. Despite having an unchallengable military, they feel insecure. Despite a million "time saving" devices, they feel rushed. Despite cutting edge communication technology, they feel lonely and isolated. The more they collect, the more vulnerable they feel. The more they own, the more they are imprisoned by their possessions. The more they eat, the more sickly they become.

Sadly (and somewhat humorously), Americans try to fill their spiritual void with yet more things. They try to spend their way to happiness, meaning, connection. I find this comical... because the solution is so damned simple.

Work less. Talk to people. Read. Write. Create. Feel. Love. Observe silently. Meditate. Reflect. Listen. Travel. Explore.

None of this requires much money. None of it requires expensive gadgets. Anyone can do these things.

Break the spell of marketing and life becomes so much EASIER. No need to struggle.

Life can be a marvelous pastime. And a wonderful journey.

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