More stuff won’t make you happy

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have been distilled into a sociopathology of consumption and unrealistic expectations of “prosperity” that do not lead to happiness or well-being.


~ Charles Hugh Smith

2 Replies to “More stuff won’t make you happy”

  1. I was talking about this with my family on Monday. Tiffany and I were headed off to the 46th Annual Scituate Art Festival — a three day event on Columbus Day Weekend where thousands and thousands of people come out to a quaint New England village to enjoy hundreds of booths of fine art, crafts, antiques and food. It is totally a beautiful weekend and I love going with my daughter. But this year as I prepared to go I thought about how I do not need to buy anything — I need nothing. I am in the process of trying to get rid of stuff. Then I thought, you know, we all really need just a certain amount of stuff. And if we are affluent, perhaps we will get some more stuff. But even an affluent person can only handle so much stuff. So all the shopping that we Americans all do all the time is just recreation (in the least pure sense of the word). We do it just for fun. We actually get a little rush from finding and choosing and paying for something we like. But the feeling is so fleeting that we have to do it again and again — for some people it becomes a real problem. How much more pleasant and how much longer lasting the feeling is when we actually CREATE something instead of buying it — a quilt, a painting, a guitar, a cake, etc. It means so much more and the sense of accomplishment and contentment lasts a very long time. And when we give those handmade gifts to each other, the benefits are multiplied. Simplify, reduce, share.

    1. Very well said. Simplify, reduce, share. I love that. And, I know what you mean about the recreational excitement/distraction of shopping. It’s akin to hunting. There is this false and ultimately empty sense of accomplishment when you’ve fixed on something in your mind and you start hunting for it, then find it. People actually take pride in being good shoppers!

      And, as you suggested, there’s a time for this, a phase, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with this activity or the resultant feeling anymore than it’s wrong to engage in any other similar distraction or activity, if it remains balanced. When we latch on to it for that rush or feeling of faux accomplishment is when it becomes a problem. It then lands in the same category as abusing booze, drug, food, or any other substance or activity.

      Thank you for the great, engaging dialog. Have a great day!

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