Why ENOUGH (sm) Is Never Enough
Today, of Americans officially designated as ‘poor,’ 99% have electricity, running water, flash toilets, and a refrigerator; 95% have a television, 88% a telephone, 71% a car and 70% air conditioning, Cornelius Vanderbilt had none of these.
The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley
As a puppy when playing fetch with both Moses (my male standard poodle who graduated in May of 2013), my female standard poodle -Her Royal Highness (Goodie) - wasn’t satisfied with just her ball – she wanted Moses’ ball despite her inability to hold both tennis balls in her mouth simultaneously. The result, her Majesty wound up holding neither. (Simcha ((my 7 month old standard poodle puppy)), momentarily, tried this feat – but gave up on it after one afternoon – satisfied with one tennis ball to play with or puncture at a time.)
It seems no one is “happy” (as in satisfied or flourishing (1)) with one tennis ball and no one has ‘enough.’ There is never enough.
Two previously stated reasons: the soldering of defective premises of acquisition (and it’s derivative more) and happiness.
(More) …It’s the oldest established permanent floating crap game
Guys & Dolls
First, fearing extinction of ourself (which we identify(2)) of our physical body), man’s preferred strategy to secure permanence, continuity, certainty (immortality) is acquisition. (Note: acquisition in Hebrew is ‘cain.’ And yes, this is the same ‘cain’ as in Cain & Abel as well as the metaphorical reference per the Orson Wells’ classic movie titled ‘The Citizen Kane’). The derivative of acquisition is ‘more.’ The irony, is ‘more for more’s sake” manifesting itself as ‘more, better, now’ has a habit of becoming ‘less, worse, later.’ As e.e. cummings wrote, ‘more, more, more, what are we all morticians?’ and Edward Abbey noted, ‘growth (more) for growth’s sake is the ideology of a cancer cell.’
Nevertheless, we pursue ‘more’ (two tennis balls) Fast & FUR-iously for ‘happily ever after.’
Secondly, implicitly and explicitly, is the mirage that getting more – securing more – acquiring ‘more’ will yield enduring happiness. Yet, ‘more’ neither yields certainty, permanence, continuity let alone happiness. Happiness is but a temporary palliative relative comparative state (to others) requiring increasing dosages of more to fuel the hamster hedonic treadmill. To paraphrase an H.L. Mencken anecdote: ‘happiness in my husband making $100 more a week than my sister’s husband.’
Happiness (itself and or promised by the acquisition of more) is an illusion. Happiness is Disneyland packaged and promised by advertising to solve one’s ‘lack, not enoughness, defectiveness.’ While Disneyization sells ‘happily ever after,’ (which is more) as Tom Hanks and that perky Meg Ryan become now and forever in You Got Mail, advertising pitches ‘more’ as the answer to ‘the dissatisfaction & lack’ yielding sex, status, and eradicating one’s zits (literally and figuratively).
Grabbing too much winds up with nothing
Given Ecclesiastes ‘all is ephemeral,’ the pursuit of certainty, continuity, permanence’ via acquisition and it’s derivative more compounded with the additive promise of happiness neither yields immortality nor ‘happiness’ - nor can it. If anything, seeking ‘more for more’s sake,’ more to avoid ‘what next in one’s life,’ or more out of comfortable acculturated habit and hardwiring is never enough and never yields enough.
There are no solutions only tradeoffs
What are potential tradeoffs to the delusion of ‘more’ and illusion of happiness?
Relative to happiness:
· it is better to seek equanimity (rising above the good and the bad)
· to seek, find ,discover, rediscover “flow in” one’s life whereby competency meets challenge and time ‘flies’ while ‘engaged.’
· find, discover, rediscover not the meaning OF life but rather meaning IN one’s life to flourish and ‘flow’ toward
· akin to abstaining from cookies while losing weight, go Disney Hallmark Channel free (like gluten free) and the Hallmark until you lose the illusion of happily ever after and rich & happy forever
Relative to disassociating from More
· know what ENOUGH is – really
· want what you have
· seek equanimity rather than than ‘a hit of more’
· find one’s flow (see above) to engage and flourish
· find, discover, rediscover meaning IN one’s life
· re-member materially you are better off than Vanderbilt
· most certainly have dogs in your life
Notwithstanding the above most will still attempt to get both tennis balls in their mouth, anyway – as ‘enough’ takes ‘balls.’
1.- flourish is another name for ‘flow’ whereby one is engaged as challenge meets competency and ‘time flies.’
2.- our identification, despite denials otherwise, is ‘being through having’ (and ‘more’ having is ‘more’ being – cumbaya.)