Have you noticed the tone of the commercials nowadays?
Every second commercial boisterously and noisily assures you that their product or service gives you ‘MORE’. The word ‘ZYADA’ is being hammered at you all day long in one way or the other. It seems to have become the most enticing word in the all languages. If this word… or some of its more subtle variants… were banned from the advertising industry, I am certain the industry would shut down.
This desperation for more has the unhealthy tone of panic in it. There is something of a cornered rat in it too. It’s as if the rat were running faster and faster… while crouching in its corner baring its teeth and trying to look menacing.
There are two kinds of running. One is when you run towards something, the other is when you run away from something. The first is a positive motivation. It is the joy and pleasure of gaining something inspires you to pursue something. There is no desperation or need underlying your efforts. There is just a worthy, dignified striving for improvement. There’s nothing wrong with that at all.
When you run away from something, however, you announce your fear of the thing you are running away from. The stress is palpable. You aren’t hoping to gain anything; you are just trying to make sure you don’t lose the much you have by strapping it to your back when you start running. Do you think you will ever be able to run your best with your baggage tied to you like that?
The world says: “You have needs — satisfy them. You have as much right as the rich and the mighty. Don’t hesitate to satisfy your needs; indeed, expand your needs and demand more.” This is the worldly doctrine of today. And they believe that this is freedom. The result for the rich is isolation and suicide, for the poor, envy and murder.
~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky
This desperate running away has another strain of stress added to it. Left to yourself (like on the proverbial desert island, perhaps), you’d take stuff or leave it alone. Living among your brothers (and sisters) however, you aren’t able to practice you inherent loftiness of perception. You aren’t as afraid of losing life’s bounty per se; you are worried more about your brothers getting more than you. And THAT, my dear friend, is a poison indeed!
So the unwanting soul
sees what’s hidden,
and the ever-wanting soul
sees only what it wants.
~ Lao Tzu
Honestly, did you need that new car you’ve bought because your junior bought one… and well… ‘if he can afford it on his salary, why can’t I?’ syndrome? Did you really enjoy that bonanza of a trip which, truth be told, made you feel like a hundred because it was so hectic and exhausting- but to which you felt compelled to go because you are fed up (like eating your heart out fed up) of all the holiday photos thrown in your face by your newsfeed? And while on the subject of the newsfeed… you know why you want to upload your vacation photos the day you return while a mountain of laundry languishes in the corner, don’t you?
I wonder when the vigilance to get value for money got converted to the disease of an endless demand for more. Sometimes it feels as if people have lost the capacity for contentment. More seems to be the bottom-less pit in which humanity has happily suck itself. It reminds one of that frog in the parable… the one who lived in a well.
The worst of it is, even when you are able to get more bang for your buck than you ever could in the history of mankind, you still feel resentful. It is as if you were being cheated out of that tiny, additional sliver that your brother got and you didn’t. If it weren’t so sad it would be hilarious.
Left to yourself (back on the desert island please), would you care two hoots for the car (of course you wont need it since the island can be covered in three strides) or the holiday (oh, but you would already BE on a exotic island, wouldn’t you?)? What else would you not need if you weren’t being sold the idea of getting more; nor were afraid your brother would get the more and you’d lose out?
Time to re-evaluate and de-clutter?
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