Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Prof. Mathewes cites some malevolent spirits as basically wanting MORE.  It doesn't matter what, just more.  They want more of everything than others have, more than they have now. He likes a scene in the movie Key Largo, where Bogart says to 'Johnny Rocco', a bad guy, "I know you, Johnny.  You want more!  Isn't that right?"  Johnny says," Yeah, that's right.  And you - what do you want?"  Bogart says,"I want a world with fewer Johnny Roccos."

I label this lust and maybe madness.  That is the point: there is danger in too much.  Mae West said something like "too much of a good thing can be wonderful" but that is exactly the attitude that we have been warned against by generations of thinkers.  As we learned in our psychophysics class, all of our senses have thresholds, lower ones below which we can't detect, and upper ones where we begin to experience pain and damage.  So it is with our whole lives and everything in them.  There is too little, adequacy, and too much.

Mark Epstein introduced his readers to the Buddhist concept of "hungry ghosts", beings with a deep, everlasting need to eat more but being ghosts, they can't eat and therefore they can never be satisfied.  Like the Rolling Stones, they can't get no satisfaction.  We can sympathize with Oliver Twist when he approaches the food server and asks for more but Oliver and his buddies are underfed.  They need and can use more food.  That is not the same as a perversion of eating and eating and eating.

Between the human desire to excel and the modern tool of clever advertising to create and nurture all sorts of unending desires, it is not easy for us to say, "Enough", as in "I have enough" and "that is sufficient." The incessant use of superlatives, as in the most beautiful, the richest, the best, the fastest, and our instantaneous ability to compare ourselves with others all over the world count against finding satisfaction.  We won't be celebrated if we are in 563rd place - we must be #1.  So, it is easy to get into an arms race, attempting to give more, be more, succeed more. Peace!

Popular Posts

Follow @olderkirby