On Stuff

Warning: The pictures contained herein do not necessarily bear any pertinence to the subject matter.

For a man such as my self who has lived much of his life in suburban locales, it is easy to become acutely aware of the general dissatisfaction that many people have with their many possessions. Dissatisfaction in the fact that “many” does not necessarily mean “enough,” and “enough” fails in definition when it comes to “stuff.” ‘Tis the season currently to wonder what stuff we and our own may need in order to survive/enjoy/not spontaneously combust during the year of our lord 2013, so long as we survive the Armageddon expected on the at-least-interesting-looking date of 12/21/12 (or 21/12/12 to my European viewers(either way, the digits still add to 9 – just sayin’)).

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But what is the origin of this dissatisfaction? Why, when so many of us have everything we need, and lots of things we want, do we continue to crave more and better stuff? Imagine yourself briefly as a caveperson. You’ve got yourself a cave, a loving hairy spouse type partner, fire in the hearth, animal skins for warmth piled in your stone armoire, a couple of grubby offspring napping flint arrowheads for tomorrow’s hunt – quite literally, everything. There is little more you could ask for, though the Joneses in the next cave over have a stoneblower for those occasional cave-ins, and up the street the Stonerschmidts have just installed a new Mastodon-tusk picket fence.

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It is then maybe envy which drives us to desire. We see things that flash while our own possessions are lacking luster. All manner of electronics dazzle and ding around us while our own are usurped by planned obsolescence. After all, technology is now necessary for survival, right? At least in this, the first of worlds. This first of worlds where eating healthy, organic, locally grown or raised foods is a privilege of the rich, and meanwhile basic health care is prohibitively expensive. This first of worlds where political representation is dictated by wealth. This first of worlds where resources are extracted from beneath the feet of people too poor to protect themselves or even the quality of their water.

Or maybe, then, it is distraction that we seek.

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I may not be wise enough to completely quell the envy I have for those who presumably have it all. But I’m smart enough to recognize that it’s misplaced. What I am most notably seeking is security – in paying debts, putting food on the table (and on the floor for Cedar), maintaining my shelter (from the storms of nature and general woe), and preserving my dignity as a capable man, a productive man, and as a person equal to the demands of humanity.

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2 Responses to On Stuff

  1. Anonymous says:

    When I started out as an adult, that is exactly what I wanted. Pay my bill, pay my rent, have something to wear to work and feed my kitties. Then slowly life got a little better, then a little better, so on. That’s where it begins…..One can try to preserve the idea of only having what you absolutely need. It’s a life long test.

  2. dfconnelly22 says:

    I think there are non-necessity items that become necessities in a more cultured world. Art, for instance — especially in the form of furniture and the like. But it’s the wanting in general, the lack of appreciation for what we have, the desire that is born of competition and consumerism that I rebel against.

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