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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Deep thought and cheap trinkets



There's something weird about humans. For most of us it appears we'll happily give up our deepest philosophies for a few cheap thrills. A recent example of that is all the Eastern countries with long spiritual traditions now diving headlong into consumerism. They are only the most recent examples. The virtues of poverty and sacrifice don't get much traction these days in Christian countries.

Only the bounty of fossil fuels has allowed the average person to come under the sway of commercialism. In previous civilizations only a tiny elite could experience such vices. The rest of us poor slobs were too busy with the basics of survival. Having a stoic philosophy or the promise of a better afterlife helped people get through their days. Thanks to abundant cheap energy normal people have been able to acquire stuff -sometimes so much stuff it's a disease.

Science has shown that having stuff does make us happy, but only to the point where the basics are satisfied. Beyond that, more and more stuff is less and less satisfying. It's a trap. The modern world provided us with the ability to satisfy our basic needs. The pursuit of material things paid off, at first. No wonder so many of us gave up on everything else. However, once we have enough, material things cannot make us any happier. Then it's good to have something to nurture the soul: philosophy, spirituality, or even a religion. Whatever works.

Of course, lately the pursuit of cheap trinkets hasn't been working out as well as it used to. Wages are down and cheap material things aren't so cheap anymore. Those who strive for material happiness are going to be in for some major disappointment.

At least philosophy is a sustainable activity.

-Sixbears

14 comments:

  1. My doctor says studies show that people who don't get quite enough to eat are usually very healthy. However, the moment they get ENOUGH, they get TOO MUCH and start to get fat and UNHEALTHY. So it goes with the attitudes and emotions, I suppose.

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  2. And some will wear the noose of debt proudly around their necks. Can't fix stupid.

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    1. Stupid can't be fixed, but ignorance can.

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  3. You od realize that religions emphasized the idea that poverty was virtuous to keep the poor happily toiling in the fields and accept their lot rather than demanding a real share of the wealth.

    Notice how none of the kings who ruled through Divine Right went in for the sackcloth and gruel thing.

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    1. Sadly, yes. Religion has been abused pretty badly, but that doesn't mean people don't take comfort in it.

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    2. I could say the same about alcohol or heroin.

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    3. To be clear, I'm not saying people aren't too concerned with material things. But any time somebody says how poverty or deprivation is good for you, just check and see how much they benefit from your poverty or deprivation.

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  4. I think organized religion almost obsolete, I believe in a God and a higher power, I don't cram it down anyone's throat..In times of great travility and sadness in my own life I cried out and God helped me to heal, I went to organized religion for years, but my husband being Jewish seemed more happy than my lot in life, he doesn't attend temple, our only child is not religious but treats everyone and felines and canines well..What is it about life that some religions say Poverty is the way to go, one needs sustenance but not being a pig about it I have type 2 diabetes and I think it is because I overate the wrong things and did not exercise religiously after we got a huge tv plain and simple, I do bike everywhere I don't drive, walk like I was in a state of I don't know what..I was raised with mostly poor choices of everything after my Mom passed young, I believe that the hell most people speak of in many Christian churches is here and now there cannot be anything worse than the killings over in the Gaze strip and the poor people out there wandering for some relief who are a differnet religion than the majority..Many in the world and the USA specifically think that more is more and better, buying cheap crap from 3rd and 4th world countries and the men and women who used to work in manufacturing have lost their jobs never to return, why? Greed? Avarice hell one can live very well in the USA on very little we do everyday consciously, my hubs a union fellow all his life me too, the jobs we did are gone baby gone, how is
    this progress at all..I so agree stupic can be fixed but Ignorance can't and many in this great USA think irgnorantly about working people..There is a strike here of Grain workers been going on for years a judge has now decided it must come to an end legally and in favor of the Union it only took 4 or 5 years many Union fellows and gals had to strike and find work to survice, really ???? really? one must have some money to live on and I am not talking like living like the rockefellars or kennedys who are loaded, ciao!

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    1. For more of use to live comfortably, some poor billionaire will have to sacrifice one of his vacation homes in the Hampton.

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  5. I meant to say Stupid can't be fixed but Ignorance surely can, if people would read and investigate where big companies like Walmart get their products, how they treat their employees, no health benefits mostly and that the heirs to the Walton fortune are the richest people in 5 states they would never purchase one item from them ever..They don't like unions, care little for their employees and the places in my opinion only been in 1 in my lifetime look like crap..Who needs the crap they sell? one can get what one needs where we live in stores that pay their help well, health benefits, retirement benefits and decent wages, some are union mostly they are going non-union because of Walmarts wages to compete. Our country has lost respect and anykind of compassion for the working man, women, etc. it has, it is shameful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. There are enough big mansions in Arkansas. We don't have to send the Waltons any more money.

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  6. We forget.We have been created in order to love and be loved.we won't find happiness in accumulation of things.ONLY LOVE

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    1. Life is certainly better with love than without it. :)

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