A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. ~Henry David Thoreau
Thru the entirety of my life I have found less is more, that material possessions, clutter, all the stuff and things people surround themselves with to be burdensome, confining, and profoundly wasteful; that the accumulation and retention of possessions reflects psychological and even spiritual insecurities, not to mention a disharmonious relationship to the social and environmental realities.
It is a pathology folks. This past month as we again purge our own household a little deeper I am struck by a couple insights. One is that we really have been all deluded by this consumeristic society at a very deep level about the all the stuff we should have, and that it is apparently acceptable to have. That what has come to be considered normal and acceptable is in fact dysfunctional. We do have an obesity problem in this country and its not only around our waists. Nor is it restricted just to the rich or poor or middle classes. I see just as much ‘!**^! crap’ all about the homes and yards of those without as those who have.
Very few people truly know how living simply and with minimal possessions enriches one’s life, and how profoundly all that stuff disrupts and burdens. All the wasted energy and time and money that perpetuates this sick treadmill. Does anyone really realize how much of everything they are or could be or would be is sluffed off by the presence and care and restriction of all the stuff they have? Heck most people I know actually have more ‘keep sakes’ than people in the rest of world have total. Is it that bad… that the bulk of our good memories is defined by ‘things’?
Yet here is part of the challenge…it is hard not to get muddy when you are living in a swamp, a swamp with a lot of quick sand. What do I mean? We have created a consumeristic swamp in our culture. It is artificial and ubiquitous. I am increasingly taken by the reality that not only do we over accumulate we over generate. We are drenched by the advertisement industry at every corner of existence from one angle while our towns, cities, and communities are now 99% totally invaded by and dedicated to businesses all about selling their wares. Have you ever been to a community where this is not the case? Where it is just a community, a self sufficient one at that? I have. At one time they were as common and as natural as a football game without some frigging sponsorship. Some of you might remember those too.
We have too much stuff, everywhere, and we don’t own any of it, it owns us! Too many clothes, too many cars, too many books, too many dishes, too many toys, too much furniture, too many absolutely worthless gismos, trinkets, gadgets, superfluous shoddy made pieces of junk crowding us out and off of everything but the hill of Sisyphus while we remain under the spell that it all provides for our happiness, security, and entitlement. To hell with what it really does to us, the real economy that lays under the facade of wall street, or the planet from which ultimately it is all extracted and dumped upon.
Part II in the next day or so..”What are we/you going to do about it?”