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Old 07-09-2013, 06:21 PM   #21
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Wow, the four noble truths.
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Old 07-09-2013, 06:28 PM   #22
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Wow, the four noble truths.
Back in fashion somewhat...
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:30 PM   #23
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To each their own and all, but I guess I'm just dismayed at all the navel-gazing over issues like this.

If you are an adult, and still don't have a grasp of what is of value to you, and what 'balance' means to you, will you ever 'get it'? Can it be taught?

I'm reminded of the famous jazz quote:
Quote:
What's jazz after all?
"Man, if you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know."
--- Louis Armstrong
In googling to make sure I got it right (I thought it was Dizzy), I came across a bunch of good ones that I find applicable:

Jazz / Quotes - MusicBrainz

Quote:
"Life is a lot like jazz... its best when you improvise..."
--- George Gershwin

"I don't have a definition of jazz... You're just supposed to know it when you hear it."
--- Thelonious Monk usual useful and enlightening conceptions

"Boxing is like jazz, the better it is, the less people appreciate it."
--- [George Foreman]

"Talking about music is like dancing about architecture."
--- Thelonious Monk

"Jazz is a music made by and for people who have chosen to feel good in spite of conditions."
--- Johnny Griffin
-ERD50
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:08 PM   #24
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I know it seems a bit disingenuous--- [...] But still...I think she is on to something, just like the books like Affluenza.
Sure, but what surprises me is that her observations are considered insightful in some way. I mean, isn't this obvious to anyone, that material acquisition isn't a way to a fulfilling life? I am almost embarrassed to say it, it seems like such an obvious and trite observation -- life isn't about stockpiling money. "He who has the most toys wins" is a bumper sticker, not a real idea to guide your life, unless you are some kind of mindless drone.

So what surprises me in all this, personally, is that her observations are at all surprising to anyone, or controversial, or insightful, or noteworthy in any regard. To me, they are just ... obvious to the point of "well, duh."
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:03 PM   #25
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"... mindless drone.
Ding ding ding
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:41 AM   #26
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I mean, isn't this obvious to anyone, that material acquisition isn't a way to a fulfilling life?
."
No. It's called marketing. You can try sitting in front of the tube/radio/Internet etc etc with your aluminum hat on, but the constantly refined barrage of the MORE message eats away at the psyche of most people given enough time. That's why I have enjoyed discovering this forum. It's frequented by a few folks who have or are in the process of defining what really matters to them. In my experience that amount of introspection is actually pretty rare. Pass the aluminum foil please.
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Old 07-10-2013, 07:25 AM   #27
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I've always loved what is (probably mistakenly) attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson:
Indications are that Bessie A. Stanley is a better attribution for that quote.

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What I really hate is when people on talent shows like American Idol will talk about wanting to win so that they can give their families a better life. The implication is that unless you are rich and famous, life just isn't that great.
A recent study established a link between financial resources and happiness ("emotional well being"), specifically noting that there was a certain amount of money beyond which happiness itself isn't improved. The dollar amount was a household income of $75K.

Some of those on American Idol, specifically, who have said something akin to "wanting to win so that they can give their families a better life" were folks from truly poor families, with household income clearly lower than that $75K.
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:05 AM   #28
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I've always loved what is (probably mistakenly) attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson:

"He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction."
This is a pretty tall order.

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Old 07-10-2013, 12:25 PM   #29
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Competitive materialism is so basic, so ingrained in American culture. In elementary school, kids would compare whose parents took them on the coolest vacation, who had a swimming pool, sports/dance/music lessons (not so common as they are now), new clothes, etc. I remember being made fun of because I wore hand-made and hand-me-down clothes, and my mother cut my hair instead of taking me to a hairdresser like other girls in class. Even my cheap eyeglasses and old lunchbox were made fun of.

No wonder I wanted good clothing, jewelry, a beautiful home. And, all these things DID make me happier, contrary to those who insist that "things" can't possibly make a person happy. Yet I have reached the point where "more" doesn't mean "happier." "More time" just might.

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the constantly refined barrage of the MORE message eats away at the psyche of most people given enough time.
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Old 07-10-2013, 01:43 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by ERD50
To each their own and all, but I guess I'm just dismayed at all the navel-gazing over issues like this.

If you are an adult, and still don't have a grasp of what is of value to you, and what 'balance' means to you, will you ever 'get it'? Can it be taught?
It's not obvious to many people, and it can be learned.

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Originally Posted by ER Eddie View Post
Sure, but what surprises me is that her observations are considered insightful in some way. I mean, isn't this obvious to anyone, that material acquisition isn't a way to a fulfilling life? I am almost embarrassed to say it, it seems like such an obvious and trite observation -- life isn't about stockpiling money. "He who has the most toys wins" is a bumper sticker, not a real idea to guide your life, unless you are some kind of mindless drone.

So what surprises me in all this, personally, is that her observations are at all surprising to anyone, or controversial, or insightful, or noteworthy in any regard. To me, they are just ... obvious to the point of "well, duh."
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No. It's called marketing. You can try sitting in front of the tube/radio/Internet etc etc with your aluminum hat on, but the constantly refined barrage of the MORE message eats away at the psyche of most people given enough time. That's why I have enjoyed discovering this forum. It's frequented by a few folks who have or are in the process of defining what really matters to them. In my experience that amount of introspection is actually pretty rare.
I know a lot of people who are driven more by more money, bigger house, nicer car, newest gadgets/consumer electronics, luxury vacations, etc. than an otherwise meaningful life pursuing the kind of real happiness that can only come from within. While the marketing aspect has helped, it's even more insidious in that consumers push each other now, with a never ending 'keeping up with the Joneses' mindset. Many consume on automatic pilot now - the marketing just perpetuates it. Some people can see through/beyond it (many members here it seems), but too many get sucked right in, thinking that next acquisition/dollar will finally bring them "happiness." A never ending cycle that never brings anything but fleeting happiness at most...

Evidently it's not obvious to most of our citizens, 76% who reportedly live paycheck to paycheck. 76% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck - Jun. 24, 2013
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Old 07-11-2013, 08:57 AM   #31
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Indications are that Bessie A. Stanley is a better attribution for that quote.

A recent study established a link between financial resources and happiness ("emotional well being"), specifically noting that there was a certain amount of money beyond which happiness itself isn't improved. The dollar amount was a household income of $75K.

Some of those on American Idol, specifically, who have said something akin to "wanting to win so that they can give their families a better life" were folks from truly poor families, with household income clearly lower than that $75K.
Now that I have quit my PT retirement jobs my income will slip to around $75k, so hopefully I will remain happy! I actually spend quite less than this, and am very happy and content. But, I think what has caused this for me is acceptance of the fact that I will never have the wealth needed to "buy happiness". I have everything I truly need and am content with this. In order for money to buy me more happiness, I would need 10s of millions of dollars, as just a million would undoubtably just get me in trouble, or it would just sit in the bank with the other money I have.
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:17 AM   #32
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Michael Jackson.

Q.E.D.
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:35 AM   #33
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I know a lot of people who are driven more by more money, bigger house, nicer car, newest gadgets/consumer electronics, luxury vacations, etc. than an otherwise meaningful life pursuing the kind of real happiness that can only come from within. While the marketing aspect has helped, it's even more insidious in that consumers push each other now, with a never ending 'keeping up with the Joneses' mindset. Many consume on automatic pilot now - the marketing just perpetuates it. Some people can see through/beyond it (many members here it seems), but too many get sucked right in, thinking that next acquisition/dollar will finally bring them "happiness." A never ending cycle that never brings anything but fleeting happiness at most...

Evidently it's not obvious to most of our citizens, 76% who reportedly live paycheck to paycheck. 76% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck - Jun. 24, 2013
3/4? Crazy. I'd hate to live like that. I suppose that is why Payday Loan type businesses flourish, preying on people living paycheck to paycheck.

In addition to what you said, I also think part of what happens is that people who chase money and "success" end up feeling deprived and discontent at a deeper level (because basic needs are going unmet), and they try to solve that problem with bigger/better stuff. It's a temporary fix (having a shiny new ___ does feel good), but it fades quickly, and then you need to repeat the process over and over.

Most of the psychological research shows pretty conclusively that, beyond a poverty/subsistence level, having more money has almost no correlation with greater happiness.

I like how Joseph Campbell put it. A lot of people spend their lives climbing the ladder of success, only to find out that it was placed against the wrong wall.
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:50 AM   #34
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One of the reasons DH and I have really gotten into a sustainable lifestyle is that for us is seems to be the opposite of what marketing campaigns want us to do.

Instead of buying disposable items, we focus on resuseable products. Instead of buying more, we are getting rid of clutter. Instead of labor savings devices, we are trying to get more exercise. Instead of mowing and watering a front yard lawn, we could have been growing an edible garden or at least had low maintenance native plants. Instead of wanting a bigger house, we are looking forward to downsizing.

It took us a long time to realize, at least for us, this was a much better way to live. It has really decreased our annual expenses. too.
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:00 AM   #35
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I know it seems a bit disingenuous---Ariana Huffington talking up the simple things in life as a billionaire...kind of John Lennon singing about imagining there is no money and money can't buy him love (while enjoying lots of it!),
I had the same thought. Ariana Stassinopolous has been type A and hyper successful all her life; it takes a lot to become President of the Cambridge Union. So its a bit rich for her to be preaching about the simpler things in life. Of course she does know about the beauty of music and a life of the mind and everyone should experience those.
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:25 AM   #36
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Now that I have quit my PT retirement jobs my income will slip to around $75k, so hopefully I will remain happy! I actually spend quite less than this, and am very happy and content. But, I think what has caused this for me is acceptance of the fact that I will never have the wealth needed to "buy happiness".
I think the assumption we have to make when understanding that $75k number is that it reflect the income level at the acquisition phase of life, or at least factors in that the majority of one's adult life will be spend in that phase, and therefore the $75k includes the "cost" of saving for retirement, something you don't do in retirement. I suppose that means that the minimum amount of money a typical "happy" American household would need to spend would be in the $55k range (the $20k in savings necessary to provide for that $55k income through retirement).
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:32 AM   #37
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I know a lot of people who are driven more by more money, bigger house, nicer car, newest gadgets/consumer electronics, luxury vacations, etc. than an otherwise meaningful life pursuing the kind of real happiness that can only come from within.
Well this forum is incredibly money obsessed. I'm driven by saving for retirement......so money is probably more important to me than it should be. I don't desire material things, but do want to have financial independence.....so what's worse; spending money on material things or hoarding it?
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:40 AM   #38
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... part of what happens is that people who chase money and "success" end up feeling deprived and discontent at a deeper level (because basic needs are going unmet), and they try to solve that problem with bigger/better stuff. It's a temporary fix (having a shiny new ___ does feel good), but it fades quickly, and then you need to repeat the process over and over.
The fact that happiness, and not just that coming from new material acquisition, tends to be impermanent is part of the First Truth in the "Four Noble Truths".

See: Four Noble Truths - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Wow, the four noble truths.
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Back in fashion somewhat...
It's not really out of fashion, as it has been an ongoing Buddhism teaching for millenia. It's just that some people in the Western culture would rediscover it from time to time, and become instant gurus with pupils at their feet.

Come to think of it, perhaps Siddhārtha Gautama was not really the first to discover these principles, but only the first to articulate them?
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:48 AM   #39
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Well this forum is incredibly money obsessed. I'm driven by saving for retirement......so money is probably more important to me than it should be. I don't desire material things, but do want to have financial independence.....so what's worse; spending money on material things or hoarding it?
Ah! Ever since I started to get into RV'ing as a method of travel, I followed many RV'er blogs to learn about interesting places that they visit. Then, I found that the blogs of those who live full-time in modest vehicles with so little expenses are more interesting than those of people in palatial class As. Who's to say that the former are any less happy than the latter?

In fact, I have been thinking that those RV'ers who find happiness with so little are the true enlightened ones, who have achieved a higher level than us ER'ers, who are of course more enlightened than the toiling masses.
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:59 AM   #40
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In fact, I have been thinking that people who find happiness with so little are the true enlightened ones.
Were it not that some of them seem to be wearing their relative poverty as a badge of distinction, I might see your point. But in fact, as your Buddhist discourse suggests, it is not for humans to be stably happy, or enlightened for that matter. I check to be sure that my wallet is out of sight when someone is giving off the enlightenment vibe.

I really cannot see why the poor guy who must constantly fiddle with his rig to keep it safely on the road, and the rich guy (or gal) who has concerns about depreciation, roadway size, availability of good mechanics etc are fundamentally different. They each have an interest in a non-harmful fully legal activity that gives them some pleasure and meaning. More power too both!


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