I went to a
store recently and watched a man wheeling out a cart that had a
60-inch television on it. That's five feet of television,
from corner to corner. I know that he had to pay a
significant amount of money for such a television, and I
couldn't help but think as I saw it, "You can have
It's not a judgment at all. It's a simple fact--I don't
want ever to have such a television. I have absolutely no
need of such a thing in my life. We do watch movies and TV
shows on DVD now and then, but we don't have cable or satellite,
and we're very glad that we have neither. Our lives are
much simpler without the constant presence of television
stations in our home, and without the constant bombardment of
advertising that TV brings. We don't miss it a bit, and
when we walk by houses that have two or three satellite dishes
on the roof, we always think or say, "They can have
When I see someone driving a huge car that seems to serve no
purpose other than to be big and imposing, I always think,
"He can have it." I don't want a huge car--I
don't want to have to pay for the gas, I don't want to add the
extra pollution to the environment, and I don't want to
contribute more than I do to our world's dependence on fossil
Sometimes I'll be with someone who's having a nice, relaxing
time having fun with friends, and all of a sudden his or her
cell phone will ring, and their lives suddenly are filled with
some sort of stress that some other person feels that they
should have in their lives. At those moments, I feel very
fortunate that I don't have a cell phone at all, for I
appreciate being able to be fully in the moment wherever I may
be, instead of constantly being at the beck and call of anyone
who happens to have my phone number. Cell phones?
You can have 'em.
are possessed by the things we possess.
And no, I'm not anti-technological. I was among the first
to have a cell phone, but I got rid of it when I found out just
how much they affected the quality of my life. I'm not
anti-people--I love people, and I love being around them.
I just also love being with just one friend when I'm with that
friend, and keeping my attention on that person instead of being
distracted by phone calls. And I appreciate it when a
friend is able to stay focused on me and on what we're doing.
As I get older, I realize more clearly just how important the
teachings of some very wise sages have been concerning our
attachment to things in our lives, whether they be big cars that
cost us more money than we really can afford, or cell phones
that distract us from the present moment, or televisions that
keep us addicted to their programming. I watch as people
become enslaved to their things--mere objects--allowing those
things to influence their decision-making to an amazing
degree. How often do people decide whether to spend time
with family based on what's on TV? I think that even once
should make us re-evaluate our relationship with the television.
People obviously can do whatever they want, and I'm not going to
change them. I know, though, that the quality of my own
life has gone up significantly since I decided not to allow any
things to have a large amount of control over me. And
while I don't like to see others controlled by things, I know
that I really can't do anything about it if they are. For
me, life's far too short for that, though, so as far as I'm
concerned, you can have them!
* * * * *
When I like
an object, I always give it to someone.
generosity--it's only because
I want others to be
enslaved by objects, not me.
Jean Paul Sartre