More is never Enough
More is never Enough - By P.K.Odendaal - September 2013
When I wrote the article on 'Asking the right questions', I came to the conclusion that we have been called to serve God and Mankind, but that we are moving in a direction diametrically opposite to that calling, namely of alienating ourselves from God and Mankind. After some contemplation, I have come to the sobering realisation that the reason for this is because 'More is never Enough'.
I have written an article in 2011 on Minimalism in which I expounded the virtues of living a life of minimalism. Of course I encouraged everyone, except myself, to pursue such a life - but as for me - I liked being a maximalist. What I did not see then was that more will never be enough - but the penny is dropping slowly!
Conventional wisdom has it that more is better - and maybe it refers only to things we think are good, although we have no idea what is good and what not. And because I always believe the opposite of conventional wisdom, I should have known then already that the true wisdom is that more is less. However, it is never too late to admit one's faults and to learn from them. How long it will take me to learn this lesson I am not sure, but it will surely be a torturous path, having been a proponent of capitalism for too long.
We are pursuing money, wealth, leisure, entertainment, free time and communication, friendship, company and many other things. In this process we neglect what we should really be doing.
Of course 'less is more' is an old concept championed by Mies van der Rohe in architecture almost a century ago. Now, that sounds like real wisdom to me. He introduced us to the Modern Architectural era with his 'skin and bones' designs. He adopted the motto 'Less is more' to describe his aesthetic tactic of arranging the numerous necessary components of a building to create an impression of extreme simplicity by enlisting every element and detail to serve multiple visual and functional purposes.
If I return to my article on minimalism, here is what I wrote:
Think of the energy you and I expend on the ownership of a single article. We have to plan for it, read reviews about it, look for the best deal on it, borrow the money to buy it (or work that overtime), deprive ourselves of essential things that we do not realise we need, go to the shop and buy it or order it and wait for months to receive it, transport it home or borrow someone's truck if its big, find a place for it to stand in our houses, remove the useless things which occupy that place now, learn how to use it and try to understand these manuals written in another language and translated directly and incorrectly, clean it or around it, maintain it, insure it, try not to break it, fix it when it is broken, getting parts for it now that it is outdated and has been discontinued, pay someone else to fix it poorly, so that we can call them back again and again to fatten their purses, make regular payments on it and explain to the shop or bank why we can't make this month's installment, dispose of it after finding out that nobody wants it now.
Let us look at a few people who went for the megabucks. There are nine people who have more than $30 billion in wealth. What do I not understand here - or what do I miss? I have never been able to eat more than three meals a day, wear more than two outfits a day - excluding my pajamas, drive more than one car at a time and sleep in more than one room at a time. Of course I have no problem with having that kind money and using it for some human purpose or to uplift mankind, but amassing that … no way! Just managing that kind of money must take up all of one's time.
If I look at myself, I know that I too have more than I need, so I am just as guilty. Quoting from 'The Prophet' by Gibran:
You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
And, tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the over-prudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?
And what is fear of need but need itself?
Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable?