Less is more

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

We have been conditioned, and not just in our modern times, to believe that if we have more money, more goods, more of everything, we will feel better and live better.

lessBut we can see that most people who have lots of money and possessions are not happier that those who have less; often those that have less are happier than those that everything and a lot to spare.

The rich tend to run after more money and then wonder how to protect it. They are not happy, they are stressed out as to how to keep the money, goods and property that they have accrued, more often than not by exploiting the poor and the working class, and how to make still more.

But this attitude has also been transmitted down the line, so to speak, with the ordinary folks also believing that the more they have the better their lives will be and the happier they will be. The people of the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany) also believed that until they were taken over by the capitalist German Federal Republic – occupied may be a better term – and now many, the great majority it would appear, long to have the GDR back and the way of life that they knew where possessions where not what counted but quality of life.

Wealth, personal and that of countries, should not be measured in money terms, it should be measured in quality of life, in joy, in having community, in living in harmony with nature.

Today most of us, especially in the developed world, have far too many possessions and those possessions are indeed possessing the possessor who wants new stuff all the time for the belief appear to be that the next new gadget, the next new car, the next this or that, or the next higher paycheck, will give the peace and the happiness that they all desire. And, when the new car, new this or that, does not provide the desired happiness level the aim is to get something else that will and thus the vicious circle and spiral continues.

Marketing and advertising, especially on the television, try to make us believe, and succeed with many people, that if we just have this new cellphone, this gadget or that, or this new car or whatever, we will be happy ever after. Until, that is, that they suggest yet another one two days later.

The first move towards a simple life, one where less can become really more, is to divorce and ditch the TV and get into the habit of not taking any notice of advertising in any shape or form. It can be done but it means training oneself to become that relaxed about things.

Even in the green movement people have been brainwashed by advertising that they need this and that green gadget and whatever in order to not just be happy but to be truly environmentally friendly and greener than green. But no gadget or product can make anyone be environmentally friendly.

Reducing consumption is one of the main steps to becoming greener, so to speak. Not buying more, even if those goods and products are eco-certified, and are ethically made and made from recycled materials, etc.

Less is more and good for the Planet. Not greensumption. And less is also more as far as happiness and contentment is concerned. We just have to understand this first to become happy and content and in order to do that we must ban suggestive advertising by means of the TV out of our lives and that of our children.

Make things for yourself, from scrap, and see how satisfying it can be to do that. Make things from wood and the same result will be yours, and even more so if you persevere and you start to become a master in making things. Teach your children and grandchildren such crafts and the contentment that comes from those too.

The greatest part of the so-called rat race is the perpetual pursuit of happiness by consumption. You can't buy happiness and you also don't have it fall into your lap by ever more income, especially if you hate the job. Don't worry what the Joneses do; you are not the Joneses. And remember: it is not a competition.

© 2013