Thursday, June 9, 2011

Boundless Greed

"When it comes to dealing with greed, one thing which is quite characteristic is that although it arises from the desire to obtain something, it is not satisfied by obtaining it. Therefore it becomes limitless or boundless, and that leads to trouble."

—the Dalai Lama

In comments to my last post, Robert and Teresa Evangeline both pointed out the disappearing nature of any satisfaction that comes from buying stuff. 

Things age. Newness fades. Cars get their first scratches, or a tiny parking lot dent, then sooner or later, they'll need maintenance or repair. The insurance I had to buy pays for none of these. Computers and other electronic contraptions (Teresa E.— I love that word, con-trap-tion!) become obsolete as newer, faster, smaller, better updates appear. 

Greed for objects is boundless, as DL points out, because acquiring things won't bring satisfaction.

When I'm about to spring for something new and shiny, I try to recall the fact that my satisfaction won't last. It'll fade as the object ages. I picture the whatever gewgaw I am about to buy sitting in the trash can or thrown in the van with other items on their way to the recycling center. 

Then l I can slip the Visa card back into my wallet and turn my attention to activities much more likely to bring contentment.


Teresa Evangeline said...

As the Dalai Lama has pointed out, trying to find happiness in things is a bottomless pit.

I can appreciate your thoughts around your last post, finding a way to replace the very satisfying day-to-day interactions with your students. People need people. We don't need more things. I try to remember that the Universe has a door open and waiting that will allow for this kind of human interaction. I just need to See it and walk through.

Dan Gurney said...

Yes Theresa, that was the main point of yesterday's post. I think one of the reasons that we Americans are such avid consumers is because we are so disconnected from our real (not virtual) communities. Lonely people gotta fill the void with something, and shopping sure fill the bill easily enough.

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, I'm sure that's it, Dan - disconnection from real communities (and also, actually, the inability to properly discover and communicate with one's one inner self) leading to shopaholic, and all sorts of other -aholic syndromes as a kind of compensation, the need to fill a void (as you say). But people find stopping the gap in this way to be a miserable and futile thing in the end. Your pic of the rusted car says it all!

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Robert. I suspect there is more to the story of how greed gets its hold on us. It's such a strong afflictive emotion!! But at least an important piece of it for me, in June, is that loneliness seems to activate it.

And yes, greed won't be satisfied. Ah, when we go under greed's spell it can be so hard to see that the satisfaction won't last.

Reya Mellicker said...

Since I don't have money, and hate shopping, I get to skip this temptation all the time. That's why I spend my days walking around taking pics. It's FREE, there's nothing left over that I have to figure out where to keep in my tiny apartment. And it's so much fun.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Reya. I don't enjoy shopping either. Walking, taking pictures, putting them up on Puppy for the world to enjoy... what better way to use your time??

I know you have a lot of people who are glad you don't go for retail therapy.