This article is reprinted with permission from Maria Popova. She is a cultural curator and curious mind at large, who also writes for Wired UK, The Atlantic and Design Observer, and is the founder and editor in chief of Brain Pickings (which offers a free weekly newsletter).
Thanks this reminder of my past experiences which have educated me to how unimportant material stuff is! I have had the job of after death of loved ones, clearing out there stuff, which they wouldn't let go of while on this earth, none of it gave them the joy of peace and love. Also there younger generation didn't want any of it, which they regarded as family treasures. I should say the odd thing of value was argued over so perhaps some stuff being kept was right, yet! In saying that it brought discord between the close family. So not really is stuff part of our life on this beautiful planet. The maker of this earth gave us it all, the beauty, food, materials to live, a mind to be educated, yes the rest is up to us as individuals just to buy or obtain the material things to enhance our well being and our families. What a fine balance that is. perhaps if we could all keep to that, then to the third world we could pass on a share of what we have accumulated. Blessed then we would all be.[Hide Full Comment]
I've been many places in America, both wealthy and poor. I have been many places in Europe, both wealthy and poor. I have been to a handful of places in Central America and the Middle East, all very poor. The experience indictes that the manifest need of the human population to increase its "wealth of posessions" seems innate and universal with only a handful of individual exceptions.
It's interesting to compare and contrast. I would have liked to have seen beyond stereotypes though and compared equally across.... I do get the point; we have waaaaay too much stuff in much of the developed world and place too much importance on possessions rather than on relationships with People. I've traveled in Central & South America, Africa, Europe and throughout the US; what I've witnessed most in the US is a HUGE pressure to Have More rather than enjoy what one's already got. And in other parts of the world there is this insane pressure to emulate us in the West. I find that sad. Honestly, what happened for me was when I arrived home after my first trip to Central America in 2005, I promptly sold my home and most of my possessions to create/facilitate a volunteer literacy project and offer the skill set I had to try to make life just a little brighter for someone else. I realize how little my possessions meant to me and how little I truly needed to be happy and fulfilled. 8 years later I am still happy.[Hide Full Comment]
I don't know if this article was "trying to do" anything, but I would love to see more people drag everything out on their front lawn, take a photo of it, contemplate it and see what they do tomorrow. How weird would it be if we all did this at home at least once in our life? I'm glad I saw this.
I understand what this article is trying to do. But comparing first world countries to third world countries is comparing countries that can afford luxuries compared to those who cannot. I do not see how that is suppose to change someones mind to change their materialistic ways. If someone can afford it they will buy it, if they so choose.