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Living within 'limits'
by Kittirat Yothangrong
2014-08-03 13:28:29
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In contemporary society, we are led to believe that more is good and the path to happiness. It's the driver of the materialistic society that we are all trapped within.

We are victims of our desires. The more we can consume, the more we end up wanting, in a continuous cycle of want, consumption, and satisfaction, that leads to more wants, consumption, satisfaction, and yet more wants.

Think about it. Consumption doesn't necessarily make us more content. Consumption leading to contentment is more myth than reality.

People who live within a limited set of wants are usually more contented than those who continue to consume more to satisfy their growing wants. Hence the wisdom of Confucius ... "Buy according to your needs, not wants" maybe sound advice in today's social situation.

If you sit back and think about it, running around is more about satisfying our wants than anything else. This stresses us, and when we don't have what we think we want, we have this sense of dissatisfaction within us. A craving that makes us unhappy, which can lead to emotions of envy and greed. Just imagine some of our behavior that stems from these emotions and you can start to see the downside of our materialistic society today.

Probably what debt really measures is the level of social unhappiness. More debt, more stress, who is really happy.

In the rush to consume, we take care of our bodily cravings, but forget about the needs of our mind. Contentment comes from being peaceful, but today we mistake this peacefulness for loneliness.

Thus when we have some peacefulness, we become bored, turn on the music, or rush out to shop or party with others, to make our minds busy again.

How many times have you heard people say they are too busy to think about things. Listening to music on our ipad, texting, google-ing, and becoming absorbed in games is 'zombi-zing' us.

Our desire to consume more and more ruins opportunities for us to find peacefulness. Want with expanding limits just keeps our mind busy generating emotions that destroy the chance to be contented.

Restraining our wants brings a simplicity of mind that nothing you buy can provide.

So when you next feel the desire to possess something, think again about need verses want. If you can learn to get over some of your consumption cravings, you may not just have more peacefulness of mind, but carry less debt as well.

Your stress levels will go down, and most probably you will be much more contented than you were 'locked up' in the craving and consumption cycle.

Living within limits is a virtue most have forgotten.



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Emanuel Paparella2014-08-03 14:22:03
Indeed, the whole Madison Avenue advertisement industry is predicated on taking one’s wants and making them one’s needs. The entrepreneurs of our brave new world call this “the market” which has a soul of its own and insist that it fuels the best economic system in the world. The best for whom, one is tempted to ask. Most of the things we buy on our dissolute shopping sprees, are not needed but are wanted, but the advertisements on TV keep suggesting to us that they are needed to be happy. Twenty four centuries ago, not unlike Confucius, Aristotle, in his “Nicomachean Ethics” pointed out that to achieve happiness harmony in one’s life one needs to practice virtue and strive for balance and harmony, to achieve harmony one has to be able to distinguish one’s needs from one’s wants. It appears that not many people have been paying attention to Aristotle in the last two millennia or so. Maybe they'll pay attention to Confucius, but I wouldn't bet on it.

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