We all (particularly, those of us in the U.S.) live in an age when we constantly hanker and hunger for more and bigger and fancier things all the time. Never mind that a third of the world has no access to safe drinking water, a roof over the head or relief from the scourge of deadly diseases like monkey pox.
Our wants are neverending and the words excess or greed no longer carry any shame.
Au contraire, in the world we now inhabit not to want more or seek bigger toys, larger mansions and bigger bonuses is to wear the scarlet mark of a failure.
It’s perhaps for these times that Henry David Thoreau wrote many summers ago:
Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.
(Cited inÂ No, You Can’t Get an Upgrade, P.4, Week in Review section, NYT, April 26, 2009)
Aah Thoreau, arguable the greatest transcendentalist of his time. Do you also like the works by his contemporaries like Emerson and Walt Whitman?
We may have read some essays by the two but can’t remember them offhand.