© — Clearly, comedian George Carlin has given us the finest description of stuff. However, since I have my own stuff, I’ll add what I can here.
I used to be a well-paid executive that could buy all the stuff I wanted. I had a beautiful home. Bought the finest cars. Had a spectacular art collection. Nice suits. Fine shoes. Attractive furniture. You name it, I bought it. Money always came easily to me, so I bought stuff.
There is something about stuff that creates a need in us. The more stuff you have, the more stuff you want. This appears to afflict those who have the most stuff the most significantly. In places where people have little stuff, as in third-world countries, the need for stuff is almost non-existent. Of course, we all want, and need, food, shelter, and clothing. But I have lived in friend’s homes in Communist Laos with less than two-dozen items that constitute stuff, and the homeowner didn’t seem to mind at all, or even notice.
As George points out, having stuff is a lot of work. You need to clean stuff, move stuff, store stuff, and otherwise care for stuff. Some stuff requires a commitment of many years of a financial burden. And then there’s the need for better stuff. One could have plenty of perfectly good stuff, and see a more attractive piece of stuff, of the exact same type and quality of the piece already owned, and crave the new stuff.
We have this thing called marketing, which includes advertising, that is carefully designed to build the craving for stuff. The competition among those offering stuff is intense. So, those in marketing have been highly creative, and honed their message over many decades. They have used the latest psychological theories, and surveyed thousands of people to find out just what kind of stuff they crave. They are very adept at this. They can now talk people into buying massive amounts of stuff they really don’t need. The classic example of this is the Pet Rock. And I even don’t know where to begin with Walmart.
I live in a town called Incline Village. It’s a beautiful place, right on Lake Tahoe. The people are great, and the lifestyle is spectacular. It’s a wealthy community; we jokingly call it Income Village. And it is stuff heaven! I know this well, as I have been one of Incline Village’s best stuff collectors. Well, I had to have at least as much stuff as my neighbors…right? Now I’m traveling to SE Asia to look into Buddhist monasteries to move into for a decade. I’ll be sleeping on the floor, and won’t have much room for stuff. So, I’m selling all my stuff; it’s going to be a great garage sale. I’ll get myself down to a handful of boxes that friends will hold for me in their garage. Admittedly, I am very attached to some of my stuff.
The best thing about having almost no stuff: freedom. Thank you very much, George.
Copyright – Robert W. Hansen – 2012