This is too good to not share!
While the stock market, housing prices, jobless rate, and falling GDP may point to a financial crisis, those are only symptoms of the real illness. Just as a doctor would never describe an overweight patient’s condition as, “a crisis of too many fat cells,” we must look to the cause of our problem if we ever expect to effect a cure.
The USA has gorged itself on debt, but even that’s not the problem. It’s yet another symptom of a society focused upon personal comfort and satisfaction, chasing an ever-changing vision of happiness, a narcissistic assumption that it was about us, and that “we should have it all,” and have it now.
In the past few decades we've shifted from a country of savers to one of spenders—binge spenders, drunken in our chase for the “good life.” Movies and television told us we could have it, and their ads spewed a never ending array of what we “needed.” With the latest gadgets our lives would become simpler, less stressful. With wondrous images they carted us off to faraway beaches with perfect sunsets and plastic people.
But the images were all a lie; the contrary was true. The accumulation of “stuff” created a need for more money, requiring that both spouses work, and work harder, longer. The constant demand for money kept us forever chasing a better position, more pay, to help us afford the stuff we had already bought. More money would take us to an even better lifestyle that always remained just out of reach.
We didn’t want the simple house of our parents; we wanted more bedrooms, more bathrooms, bigger kitchens, fireplaces, media centers, and three car garages. We weren’t satisfied with a basic car; we needed SUVs, maybe two, and a sports car for the kids. A vacation at the beach wasn’t enough, unless the beach was in Hawaii.
We wanted the best for our children and we bought computers, video games, cell phones, and other electronics, expensive clothes and cars; we wanted them to have it all, too, to have a better life, to have more than we’d had. And we succeeded—after a fashion. We spent more, went in debt more, and lived for the pleasure of the moment.
We had more and our kids had more; but the ever-increasing indebtedness, like a millstone, pulled us into an abysmal stupor and caused us to miss out of much of the enjoyment. We drugged our stress with alcohol, pills or the latest pop psychology that promised to restore us to “Nirvana,” and the children whose happiness and love we purchased, became strangers.
Of course this isn’t a universal indictment; but it’s more widespread than many are willing to admit. And it doesn’t apply to ME or to YOU. It’s those “other people” who have allowed their problems to morph into a crisis. But WE all have an obligation to help find the solution.
As our country and the world enter the crucial stages of a financial meltdown, many are reflecting upon lives spent chasing an elusive future utopia that could never be; and many are ready to get off the train. Some have begun to reconsider where they have focused their energy, their labor, and have begun to realize that life was never about the stuff. It’s about discovering our place and helping others; it’s about the choices we make and the lives we lead; it’s about releasing ourselves from fear and living and sharing the wondrous joys of this life; and it’s about today. We don’t have tomorrow. The good life we’ve been seeking isn’t in the future. We’ve had it all along.
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