Friday, October 15, 2021

Not Wanting Things

The moment comes when suddenly you find you do really want anything any more.  It is rather a shocking feeling, because due to the natural state of being a human or from an inherent sense of covetousness, there always seems to be (at least for me) something that I always want to have.

Part of it derives from the fact, I suppose, that from a young age we always seem to have things we want.  We have holidays that things come on - Christmas, birthdays - and especially when we are small children, that is pretty much when things come.  So we begin to associate those days with getting things and so we look forward to those days or months in advance (how many years did I spend pouring through the Sears catalogue right when it came, looking for Christmas ideas?).  

Then, when we first start earning money, we find out that we can buy our own things. And so begins the life long pursuit of things.  The economy runs on us purchasing things, and so we are actively encouraged (the fancy word for it is "marketing") to not only think getting more things is nice, but that it is an imperative.  This, we are told, is how we measure our success in life and show that we are "doing it right".  Happy people, so "marketing" tells us, have things - and so should we.  And if we cannot have those things, we should spend our time eagerly wanting them and spending time dream about them (and watching marketing, of course).

Until that moment comes when we find we really do not "want" anything anymore.

There will always be needs, of course:  no matter how many times I darn my socks I will eventually need new ones and sports shoes simply do not last forever.  Things at the house need to be replaced, as do parts on my car.  Maybe in another world these do not qualify as "needs"; in our modern world, they tend to.

But the rest?  There suddenly seems to be no desire.

Oh, if pushed to the wall I suppose I could find something.  But that is only if I am thinking about it a great deal or there is something which, although not a necessity, is something which would make life more pleasant or easier.  But now,  only if I am really thinking about it.  For the most part, I find I am not thinking about such things as all.

It would be a problem, of course, if thousands or even millions of people suddenly found they no longer wanted things with the same intensity.   Imagine the complete rewiring of our economic system if this were to be case. 

Or put another way, imagine if someone created a consumer goods based economic system, and over time no-one showed up.


  1. Anonymous3:55 AM

    I've always been a fan of 'sharp pointy things' (i.e. knives). Over the years, I've accumulated quite a collection of them. Mostly working tools, not 'art', manufactured by manufacturers now long gone.

    I see them not only as collectibles but as an investment. Discerning people will seek higher quality because they believe they will last longer. On the other hand, a lot of people who recognize the names of those old knives are aging out. So many will go to their local departmnt store and buy the cheap East Asian knife. When it breaks, go back to store and buy its replacement.

    What happens when the stores no longer have these items on their shelves ? Well then, maybe I can be of some assistance ...

    1. Anonymous - As a martial artist, I can appreciated your interest in sharp pointy things. And while I probably have more than enough to train with in my career, fair to say there is probably one or two more I could "acquire" under the guise a better training weapon.

      I think we will get to test your theory in the not too distant future.

  2. I downsized over the last five years. A crappy first marriage, lots of family tasks, and a demanding job, led me to realizing the rat race was guaranteed to have me leaving my last day on the job in a body bag. The change led me to observing how all the things I once wanted were just more spare baggage for someone to sort through, after I'm gone.

    1. Jess, this has really come to my attention as well as we have started going through my parents' things. Most of the things I own will be of a similar nature to my children: some items of actual value, some items of personal value, but a lot of items that will just not matter at all to them to be sold or given away. As you indicate, better to sort through it now - or, as the saying goes, "Do your givin' while you're living/so you're knowin' where it's going".

  3. It’s part of getting old maybe?

    I know lots of guys saying similyghings from our age bracket. Mind you, my parents were very materialistic right until recently.

    I like very much the idea of being able to sit and do nothing except enjoy the day. Materialism can get between a man and his soul if he’s not careful…

    1. Glen, I think you may be correct in that it is an age related thing. Although I also think that there are people that are that way right up to the end.

      In the past, I have made many attempts at getting rid of things. Maybe I attack it differently this time, by starting with bringing minimal things in.

    2. I used to think of decluttering too… but I am second guessing that now, and maybe you should consider it too. When you retire… you are going to have a lot of hours to fill. I bought all my junk because at one time it interested me…and I go in cycles on things. I seriously considered getting rid of my RS airplanes and guns and stuff because it sat around looking messy. I figured I had to get rid of stuff, pare down my interests so that I could focus on a few and really excel at them. But that changed for me too. I don’t care if I am not the best shooter on the line anymore. I’ve fallen in love with flight again.

      I am certainly not going to buy more stuff… but I have what I need, and I can always get rid of stuff later. If your mindset changes as mine did… you may regret getting rid of stuff.

    3. Glen, that has been a conscious thought in my mind as well, based on stories I hear from other retired folk. I am trying to divide it into "Things I am doing now", "Things I will possibly do later", and "Things that simply are not going to happen". At this stage, just managing not to pick up a great deal of new things will be a win.


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