Greed and Minimalism

Hieronymus Bosch, “Greed” (from the Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things)

“Take greed. Do you know what greed is? It is eating more food than you need, wanting to outshine others at games, wanting to have more property, a bigger car than someone else. Then you say that you must not be greedy, so you practice non-greed – which is really silly, because greed can never cease by trying to become non-greed. But if you begin to understand all the implications of greed, if you give your mind and heart to finding the truth of it, then you are free from greed as well as from its opposite. Then you are a really intelligent human being, because you are tackling what is and not imitating what should be.

So if you are dull, don’t try to be intelligent or clever, but understand what it is that is making you dull. Imitation, fear, copying somebody, following an example or an ideal — all this makes the mind dull. When you stop following, when you have no fear, when you are capable of thinking clearly for yourself — are you not then the brightest of human beings? But if you are dull and try to be clever you will join the ranks of those who are pretty dull in their cleverness.”

Jiddu Krishnamurti

According to the doctrine of enantiodromia, introduced by C.G. Jung and inspired by Heraclitus, the superabundance of one thing creates its opposite. If the pendulum swings to the furthest right, it will inevitably swing to the left. A documentary Minimalism (http://minimalismfilm.com/watch/), which I have recently seen on Netflix, asks all the important questions while providing a true diagnosis of rampant consumerism. It is true that we live “on the hunt” for bigger, better and more stuff. It is a valid point that advertising and fashion trends create and feed the need for the new. It is hard to argue that consumerism feeds and feeds off the lowest human instincts – greed, competitiveness, egocentrism, insecurity, and so on. Time is definitely ripe for downsizing our excessive lifestyles.

The Minimalists are two men who used to be enormously successful in the corporate America standard manner while now they are equally successful as mentors to humanity. As can be read on their website, they “help over 20 million people live meaningful lives with less through their website, books, podcast, and documentary. The Minimalists have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Forbes, TIME, ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, CBC, and NPR.” It is notable that all the newly-converted minimalists interviewed in the documentary used to be highly successful in the conventional understanding of the word; as if minimalism was an exclusive club where the poor have no access.  It is ironic that the Netflix documentary’s final scene features the two Minimalists addressing a crowd in LA (of all places), who are visibly moved by their words. It seems as if for the two men too much minimalism has created space for maximum success.

Minimalism appeals to me as an idea. I sympathize with the thought that by focusing on what we can achieve and acquire in the outside world, we turn away from the pressing needs of our Selves. However, the quote by Krishnamurti, which I have included as my motto, invites to look deeper at the issue. The real challenge is to grow beyond greed and its opposite, which in this case is minimalism. In this pure awareness lies the true freedom of the soul. Otherwise, we will be just swinging with the pendulum of the current trends – be it minimalism or consumerism.

Morris Graves, “State of the World”

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Minimalism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Greed and Minimalism

  1. Enantiodromia seems to be at the heart of Jung’s saying that one often becomes what one hates. Minimalism by free choice or minimalism imposed through want and scarcity appear to be the only two future options available to humanity. But maybe greed will eat the world up as a near unalterable aspect of human nature, nurtured through unsustainable materialism. Do you like any minimalist music Monika ?

    • I am sorry but my knowledge of minimalist music is indeed minimal. Googling yielded Erik Satie as a precursor(?) I adore his music.
      I am wondering which of your visions of the future will come to pass.

  2. Dewin Nefol says:

    Hey Monika,

    Succinct as always and cut with a rapier mind.

    Minimalism versus Materialism – our heart has infinite capacity for Love, our mind infinite potential, and yet our ego’s and sense of frail mortality limit us to a finite understanding. We are at once blessed and cursed and left in flux resisting, persisting, and exisiting between the two

    How might one convince another to ‘abandon’ sense of materialism when society has already demanded that that individual invests 60% of their life, their time, energy, commitment, loyalty and service to satisfy their own Maslow Hierachy’? I know many who would not forgo their trappings in exchange for a pure awareness they could not hold in their hand. Empiricism and materialism seem symbiotic bed-fellows fallen into stride long ago when science surpassed the spiritual. Gratefully and unexpectedly, perhaps as a ‘by-product’ of Artificial Intelligence science appears to be reinventing itself, building on principles once regarded as mystical. One hopes that there will be an extension of this emotion leading away from the laboratory and into mainstream consciousness. Whilst the world stands on the precipice of upheaval and change and we stand to gaze towards an unknown future with deep uncertainty and apprehension, I sincerely hope that humankind reaches far, far higher than perhaps it has in order to escape what we should have left behind long ago.

    Materiality versus minimalism – why not just call it common sense and decency built on a global foundation of compassion, love, peace, equality, and fairness?

    Wishing you a very Happy Easter, blessed I hope with happiness and peace.

    Namaste 🙂

    DN

    P.S: On the back of watching videos on Fractal Brain Theory, I went a little off-tangent in my reply – you know how it is when the mind wanders – but if interested, Wai H. Tsang – Interview – Fractal Brain Theory Summer 2012 on YouTube is a worthwhile watch. One wonders how Jungian thinking will fare in a future world heading towards man/machine synthesis?

    • Hi Dewin
      After seeing the interview, my mind is a bit in frenzy; fascinating man, but so mercurial and shape-shifting with his answers. It must be hard with this brain of his bombarded with insights.

      About the man/machine synthesis, my initial response is that I am not afraid. I imagine a world of the future with sentient beings such as androids, etc, co-existing with us as equal just different life forms. They are emanations of the Source as well – perfect as they are. But perhaps I am missing the point being too idealistic. Regarding your point about science catching up to the mystical reality, it is inevitable. Who can stop this explosion of ideas we are experiencing nowadays?

      Thank you very much for your comment.

      Monika

      • Dewin Nefol says:

        Hey Monika,
        Thank you for having taken time to watch the video and appreciate the content. Agreed, his mind is amazingly active and yet so fluid between ideas, it’s frenetic. It’s almost as if he explores all possibilities simultaneously when answering questions and grasps/plucks the one most suitable, and most eloquent. Certainly he is at the cutting edge of the cutting edge. Mercurial indeed!
        Your thoughts on androids paused my thoughts Monika. Robots as emanations of Source….yes agreed, but perhaps not in their totality I suspect. Would they have a soul? Would they be able to elicit emotion as might a human? Would a robot ever weep at a sunset or paint a masterpiece born from Love’s labour? Time will tell I suppose. Moving the idea of robots on a few evolutionary levels to a complete human-machine hybrid, a cyborg…what then of Jungian theory? Would the shadow cast by servitude to technology fused with the flesh slowly start to change the very heart and soul of a human being? Would that then constitute human evolution by the ‘natural order’, by God’s provision, or would it be a mere facsimile of our intended future world? How subservient to technology should we be? How much faith should we invest in it?
        I agree science will again meet and marry the mystical rather than remaining separated from it. I have always held firm belief that science is always looking for God, but wants God observed in the empirical sense. Science will never be able to reach that high or indeed that low. Heaven cannot be accessed by building a space rocket and heading for the stars, and yet…who knows what is really out there beyond the beyond if one were to just keep going? I’d love to be the first one aboard that particular flight mission…romantic that I am, the concept of Stargate Universe just blew my mind! (as too Star Trek) I’d go boldly where no human has been before…wouldn’t bother me one iota about coming back either. A one-way ticket to starry adventure would be perfection. Was it not Arthur C Clarke who wished his corpse be sunk in amber and fired at the heart of the Sun? Way to go Arthur! Awesome 🙂
        Sometimes I could sit here all day and chat away with you Monika. Your Blog is like my think tank….and an excellent reference. I think Wai H. Tsang would like it here also 🙂
        Best wishes for a warm and blessed weekend.
        Take care in all ways always.
        Namaste 🙂
        DN

      • Hi Dewin,
        Thanks so much for your wonderful comment! I really appreciate your presence here.

        From Star Trek I particularly remember the episode called “The Measure of a Man.” Embarrasingly, I watched it again a few weeks ago and shed a few tears. I just think it is so perfect. Would they have a soul, you ask. Who are we to know? Isn’t soul all-pervasive and present in every thing that surrounds us? I do not intend to start an argument here. Believe me, I am not in favour of dehumanized, automatized world.

        Warm wishes to you as well

        Monika

  3. Pingback: Greed and Minimalism – lampmagician

  4. Jeff Japp says:

    Interesting, although I think somewhere between minimalism and materiality/greed is sustainability, and that is what I strive toward. Your post kind of ties in to the theme of the post I published today on environmentalism and the Qur’an. Take a peek if you have time. It’s short and would love to hear your thoughts.

    Cheers!

    Jeff

    • Hi Jeff, I like the synchronicity between our posts 🙂
      Obviously, people with prominent Taurus energy (your Sun, my Moon) will be pulled by the material to a greater extent. I like the idea of sustainability as well. I am also always reminded that Buddha was a Taurus.
      Best
      Monika

  5. litebeing says:

    It is always a pleasure to visit here Monika and give my brain a workout!

    Here is what I can add to the plethora of fascinating commentary: As an astrologer, one theory that I do adhere to is that if one has an abundance of 3rd house activity, some of it will transfer to the 9th. Or a highly Scorpionic type like myself, with have a spillover into Taurean territory. This theory, which was created by a well-known astrologer ( cannot remember the source) is similar to Cosmobiology. I am not an expert here, but see a parallel between this practice and enantiodromia. I believe we all contain an aspect of every possible facet in our personality and soul structure. This is because we are part of the whole, which is ever-shifting around us and through us. Transcendence is the goal, of course.

    Enjoy Earth day in all its glory,
    Linda

    • Thank you so much for your visit, Linda. I entirely agree with your astrological observations. Aren’t we drawn to opposite signs? Those Scorpios and Sagittarians keep coming back to me. Fascinating stuff.
      Hope Spring is treating you
      Monika

  6. Brannan Bell says:

    Real stuff! Love the content. Check out my site when you get a chance 🙂 http://www.thesolobird.com

  7. Thank you for this thought-provoking post!
    I have a lot of things and i’ve been researching minimalism and considering a change to a minimalist lifestyle. At the risk of sounding silly, it never actually occurred to me to dig deeper within myself and find out why I buy into consumerism and what fuels my greed. I just thought “I want less stuff, let’s do minimalism!” Again I was influenced by a trend. Your post has sparked a new way of thinking for me, so thank you for that. I’m off to get to know me better…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s