Living Outside The Box Born-Again Techo-Geek Renaissance Man

11Dec/110

The Cake Is A Lie

The unspoken rules of conspicuous consumption (ripped off from bikesnobnyc):

1) You are what you “own” (or, as is more often the case, lease from a bank)
2) The more money you spend on a vehicle the more human rights you have
3) Anybody smaller and smarter than you deserves to be punished

And there you have it. Anyone still wondering why Occupy Wall Street is happening? This is why. The affluent are taught that anybody who isn’t buying the most expensive stuff they can afford isn’t “successful.” Never mind the fact that there are people who don’t want the most expensive cars and houses they can afford, or the headaches and horrendous work hours and/or ethics required to make that much money. Yes, those people exist.

What if your goal in life wasn’t to make as much money as possible? What if you simply wanted to be the best writer, or musician, or artist, or teacher you could be? What if living within your means makes you happy? What if being a “good businessman” means your family goes neglected, you compromise your beliefs daily for the sake of profit, and you think anybody else who doesn’t is stupid? If that’s success, then count me out.  What is wrong with not wanting to be rich and powerful?

Sadly, with today’s America being what it is, people aren’t being taught to be the best at what they love. They are being taught to obey, submit, conform, and surrender, and maybe someday if they’re good at bootlicking, they can achieve “success.” Sorry, but I’m not interested in that definition of success.

I read a story (in "The 4-Hour Work Week" by Timothy Ferriss) about a businessman who went to Mexico on vacation. He met a local who sat on the beach most of the day playing music with his friends, and occasionally would go fishing to earn just enough money to feed his family for a while.
The businessman told him “You should fish all day, every day, to make more money.”
“Why?” replied the local.
“So you can buy more boats, and hire people to work for you,” the businessman answered.
“Why?” replied the local.
“So you can grow a huge business, take over the market, and earn enough money to retire,” the businessman answered.
“Why?” he asked yet again.
“So you can sit on the beach all day and play music with your friends, and go fishing every now and then...”

Sadly, this is the world we live in now. It’s funny, but only because we know it’s true. What is the purpose of killing yourself trying to achieve the unachievable? What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his own soul? (I should do a review of The 4-Hour Work Week, there are some good tips there, but I think Ferriss misses the point)

By the same token, we aren't called to hate the wealthy. Unlike most Americans, I am not envious of them, nor do I want to be like them. I feel sorry for them, because the real enemy is affluency itself. Jesus Christ himself put it this way: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

We are taught self-indulgence, when we should be practicing self-denial.

Oh yeah; Merry Christmas.

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

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