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!

Possession via Twitter


7 Responses to “Possessions possess us. Yet, we keep wanting (them) anyway.”

  1. Posessions do indeed posess, but only to the degree that we are attached to them. The posessions, and the desires for them, are actually just thoughtforms, and in most cases the desire attached to the thoughtform causes a much stronger feeling than actually acquiring the posession. And that’s why consumption ultimately never satisfies, because we’re subconsciously looking to be made whole by things that can never do so. And believe me, I’m preaching to myself more than anything. I’m keenly aware of my role as one of satan’s cheerleaders 😉

  2. SRP said

    I know I’m preaching to myself as well… to the converted, if you will 😉
    As usual, thank you for your readership and good comment.

  3. “Complete possession is proved only by giving. All you are unable to give possesses you.” It was Gide who said this. I once worked with a pretty famous director of photography who wore a number of symbols around his neck. The usual cross or two was accompanied by one I didn’t recognize. When I asked what it was he told me it was a Buddhist charm that protected the wearer from the things he desired. I think every ad person should have at least one.

  4. SRP said

    I’m not familiar with Gide’s quote. Thank you. Your comment reminded me of the old adage that everyone learns the hard way: Be careful what you wish for.

  5. Alayne Porter said

    Paul Hewson said it best…

    “All that you fashion
    All that you make
    All that you build
    All that you break
    All that you measure
    All that you steal
    All this you can leave behind
    All that you reason
    All that you sense
    All that you speak
    All you dress up
    All that you scheme…
    Leave it behind
    You’ve got to leave it behind.”

    Because in the end, you can’t take it…well, you know the rest. About all we have at best is our soul and our karma. Yes, I’ve been living on the left coast for over 15 years now…can you tell?!

  6. SRP said

    God bless you and U2.
    I’ll be seeing them twice when their North American tour starts Sept 12 at Soldier’s Field.

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