November 5
The weakness of our age is our
apparent inability to distinguish
our needs from our greeds.

Dan Robinson


Today's Meditation:

It's been going on for quite some time:  people in marketing and advertising have been doing their best to make us feel that we need certain things that aren't actually needs, but wants.  And it's working, too--there are many, many people in the world who have a difficult time distinguishing between needs and wants, and many others who want something so badly that they allow someone else to convince them that they need it.  After all, that's how a consumer-based society functions, isn't it?

In business, it astonishes me to see that banks and business strive for a seven-billion dollar profit instead of a four-billion dollar profit.  Instead of keeping it as profit, those extra three billion dollars could go towards hiring and training new people and improving and expanding services for customers.  But those things aren't in their lists of priorities, it seems, and a four-billion dollar profit just isn't enough.  That's greed.

We do need to have enough to eat in our lives, and we do have to have shelter and clothing.  These things are needs.  We also need to have time to relax, and we need to have relationships with others.  We need to have some level of security, and we need to have available health care.  Some couples live in 250-square foot RV's, and their needs are met nicely; I know other couples who live in 2500-square-foot mansions, all by themselves.  That's greed, too.  Sometimes it's greed born of insecurity and fear, but it definitely is a case of people using more resources than they need for no really good reason.

If we want to distinguish between our own needs and our greed, then we first must be aware of things that we wish we had.  And then we need to be honest.  As I grow older and gain more experience with things, this gets easier for me, and I get by with much less, and I recognize my wants vs. my needs much more easily.  And the best part is that when I do see the difference, my life grows much more simple.

Questions to consider:

Why do we sometimes convince ourselves that we need something when we really don't?

How much of an effect do marketers and advertisers have on our perspectives towards the things we want?

Why do so many people make greed a way of life?

For further thought:

Our desires always increase with our possessions.
The knowledge that something remains yet unenjoyed
impairs our enjoyment of the good before us.

Samuel Johnson

More on possessions.


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