Possessions possess us. Yet, we keep wanting (them) anyway.
September 2, 2009
We can never satisfy these ladies but we keep trying…
Possessions possess us.
My father made the above statement to me eons ago, I think as a reaction to some big material item I was thinking about purchasing. Maybe it was a house or a car or a cabin in the woods. I don’t remember. But I cannot forget the comment. Accursedly true, not to mention prescient. Coveting stuff is dangerous business.
First of all, it’s a borderline sin. Wait a minute, you say! Wanting what we don’t have is benign. Everybody does it. We all wish for things, right? You’re thirsty you want a Coke. You have a baby you want a new house. You’re bored you want to have a fling with the neighbor…
Subtle the progression from natural instincts to self will run riot. While my latter example is obviously the egregious one, I could argue they all are. Coveting a new home because you have another mouth to feed might be entirely inappropriate. What if you’re barely making ends meet as it is? Maybe only Mom wants the new home. She’s met a bunch of new moms at school and, gee whiz, they all have such lovely houses. Dad’s realistic. Why can’t we just convert the extra bedroom for the baby? They fight about it. Things get worse. Dad starts thinking about his secretary, who’d be happy with the life he can provide. And so on. If you’re diabetic even desiring a Coke can be unhealthy. The point is: wanting is not far from craving, coveting, possessing.
Having an addictive personality, I am especially vulnerable to my desires. Thankfully, I rarely act on them…at least not the material ones. Truth be told, my wife is the shoppaholic. For her, shoes fill far more than closet space. Something is going on that makes her want what she doesn’t have or even need.
This, then, is the crucible. Not only in my marriage and (I suspect) countless others but in life. The thought anchors this blog. Drives my vocation. Why do we want what we don’t have, let alone need? One reason (albeit a minor one) is advertising: We make you want what you don’t need! But the pilot light is on in all of us. Desire burns 24/7. Advertising merely fans the flame.
In my novel, The Happy Soul Industry advertising is the devil’s hand maiden.
Ironically, my father was referring to none of the above when he made his comment. It was more of a warning: once you buy that second home, son you’re going to be spending the rest of your life and money tending to it. Possessions possess you.
Indeed it does, but that is a topic for another blog. Mine is ostensibly about advertising, where obsession precedes possession!