We Want More, We Want More

More Not LessI suspect that most humans would say they desire to be content, but I also suspect we’d say there are comparatively few moments when we actually are content. Facebook updates and Tweets show us this.

How many complaints, bad news, and frustration do we read in undates? Quite a few. A second kind announces things to support, buy, attend, endorse, promote. Those messages say either help me, or your life is incomplete unless you __. Put in terms of contentment, some are saying, I’m not content because I don’t have X, and the others are saying, you ought to be discontent because you don’t have Y.

Understand, I’m not discounting the proper place for people to ask for help or to announce offers such as discount prices on particular products. After all, I pass along book bargains whenever I feel I can enthusiastically encourage others to buy because of a great price or a great story or both.

Rather, what I’m noticing is a cumulative effect of wanting. We want the snow to go away or we want the rain to come. We want the wind to stop and we want the air to be clear. We want flowers but we don’t want weeds, and we especially don’t want to be the one to pull them.

We want convenient travel, but we don’t want traffic jams. We want affordable public transportation, but we don’t want dirty trains or unkempt stations.

Our culture is programing us to believe that sitting and thinking is boring, that doing one thing at a time rather than multitasking makes us lazy or slow. So in the words of the child in the AT&T commercial, “We want more, we want more.” Hearing a child try to explain why we think more is better, is funny, but it also makes me aware that we think the reason is self evident. It’s really what the little girl ended up saying: more is better because we want more.

And we always will.

We want what we don’t have, and when we have what we want, we want more of it. Until we have too much, then we want something different.

Wanting, needing striving–all those are central to the human condition, and as it happens, central to a good story. But here’s the thing. When none of the stuff we want, no matter how much of that something we gain, brings contentment, perhaps C. S. Lewis was right when he said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

We aren’t content here the way things are now because we weren’t made for this here and now. We were made for some place else. Some thing more–further in and higher up.

Published in: on April 18, 2013 at 5:56 pm  Comments (2)  
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