Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wantless and happy

Before the Wirtschaftswunder after World War II it never even occurred to people that fulfilling wishes might have a downside. First they were working hard to survive, then they were working hard to make their dreams come true. Nowadays almost all needs are being met in the western world and still we haven't stopped working hard. Instead we actively search for wishes to fulfill. Advertisements make us believe to purchase a certain product is our deepest desire, when in fact we haven't even heard of the product before seeing the ad. Funnily enough the German translation for perfectly happy is "happy without a wish" or "wantless happy". Taking this literally can open our eyes to a new way of consumption.

The first and only step is to view desires not as a mean to happiness, but as a burden. This may sound hard at first, since satisfying a wish makes you happy for a while. When it comes to material wishes, though, the temporary joy is diminished by the amount of work, time, money and space required to handle the increasing number of items in your household. This discomfort can be a fingerpost to letting go of your desires. From this perspective wishes are truly a mean to happiness - not when you fulfill them, but when you drop them.

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