Having It All


Consumption is often spoken of as the bane of modern life. Landfills; waste; exploitation; pollution - the list of negative side-effects of this way of life goes on, and more and more people stop to ponder Maurice Sendak's question: Is there more to life than having?

This might come across as a 'first-world problem', but the drive towards having can be aptly characterized as primal - even Maslow's hierarchy of needs is premised on people having what they need.

But what is it that people have? And is it what they need?

There is nothing inherently wrong with having, and if it fulfills a deeper desire than mere ownership, then so much the better. Consumption that tips over into excess, however, is the pitfall - like addicts, people can spend their lives chasing after having everything while being satisfied with nothing because the objects of their pursuit are the wrong ones. Meaningful having is premised upon a clear-eyed understanding of one's desires and motivations, and this in turn only comes with having - wait for it - insight into one's soul. Having this crucial quality is the only path towards actual satisfaction. And like anything worth having, knowledge of the self and the soul provide the kind of fulfillment that is complete, and meaning that is eternal - I hazard a guess that this may be an answer to Mr. Sendak's statement.