There is no place that I would rather be than by a fire. Whether on the beach, or a mountainside I love to gaze into the fire. Maybe you know that feeling? When all of your senses are singing. The smell of it, the heat, the light. But you cannot touch the fire, it will burn you. How is it then that so much joy, so much emotion, can come from this thing that we cannot touch?
“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” -Socrates
We, humans, love so many things. We love them to death. Sadly most of what we love are the things that we can touch. Akin to mainlining drugs, touch is one of our most rapid and raw senses. How much more perception lies in thought, or in what we view? But not touch, it is raw and visceral we find pleasure, comfort, displeasure, or pain in our touch. Pleasure? Pain? These are emotions are they not? So what we touch creates emotion? This has strong implications for the philosophy of Minimalism and living Modestly.
Don’t judge, I used to sell Automobiles. You can not sell a car if the customer does not touch it. Once the potential buyer does say, test drive the vehicle, the possibility of them purchasing it increases by at least 60%. What I am trying to establish is, WE BUY THINGS BECAUSE WE WANT TO FEEL THE EMOTION. But what if I told you there are exponentially stronger and more fulfilling emotions for us to experience. What if our modern consumerism is similar to getting coffee where you get your car fixed? Yes, mechanic coffee. When it tastes like the pot hasn’t been cleaned, possibly ever. While living Modestly is like grinding the beans in the mountains with the smell of the morning dew, and brewed with water gather from a cold mountain spring. Yeah, it is that much better. We are living a sterile life of fabricated joy while limitless happiness, inexhaustible in its supply lies all around us. We just have to dig ourselves out from underneath the ephemeral objects that are burying us alive.
“Too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption.” -Jimmy Carter
The real question, does joy and happiness lie in the tangible or in the intangible. Of course, some would say that it is both. But when we purchase an object, especially one that serves no practical purpose, don’t we seek the emotion that it brings. The feeling is intangible. Do we desire and purchase tangibles, seeking the immaterial result, a positive emotional reaction. If so living Modestly will set our hearts on fire with love, appreciation, adoration, respect, and most of all fulfillment. Because there is a way to feel amazing every day and it doesn’t require that you purchase anything. There is no auto rebill, or waiting to feel good until you obtain that next thing. You’ll feel happier because you need less. Cause only Hollywood and advertisers will tell you that desire feels good. It doesn’t, it feels like shit.
Experiences bring happiness into our lives in ways that objects simply cannot. The things we buy lose their luster, break, they get lost, they get stolen. Has anyone ever taken a special memory from you? Has one of your memories ever lost its luster? Everything that is tangible has a shelf life. Everything that is intangible lasts forever. Living Modestly is rooted, most importantly in the intangibles. The intangible(emotional) life that we develop for ourselves determines the usefulness, power, and authority of our physical(tangible) life. We want our physical world to work for us, we don’t want to work for it. If our love and affection lie in the things we touch, our energy will be forever wasted. What we desire is the feeling. Go straight to the feeling, do not be distracted by the touch.
“Consumerism has led us to become accustomed to the superfluous and the daily waste of food, which we are sometime no longer able to value correctly, as it’s value goes far beyond mere economic parameters.” -Pope Francis
Is it a tool, or does it link you to a memory? What else is there in a modest life? Emotionally we need so much to feel whole as human beings. And the lengths we go to attempting to fill those holes is astonishing. Physically what we need is so minimal most wouldn’t believe it. Especially coming from lives of Western excess. Living Modestly is about shifting our focus away from the physical and tangible excesses of our past. We should be moving in the direction of intangible excesses. Art, Literature, Education, Research, Philosophy, Advancement! We are wasting our resources. The material resources of our planet, and the mental resources of our greatest minds. Stop this nonsense. Live Modestly. Free your surroundings, and free your mind.
Live modestly, and live your best life. – A.C.