Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Happiness - available now in all shops



 
A short blog from me this week, as I’m in the throes of moving house – a process that concentrates the mind more than usual  about the folly of accumulating so much stuff!
Since time immemorial writers and thinkers have railed against a perception that their generation has gone beyond the pale in terms of its acquisitiveness, hedonism, skewed values and worship of Mammon to the exclusion of more spiritual pursuits. They have despaired at the shallowness and soulless materialism of their fellow human beings for believing that the route to happiness is through having possessions.
What on earth would Orwell, Ruskin, Confucius and co. make of the madness of the neo-liberals’ ordering of the world? Where an artificial ‘need’ for more and more possessions is manufactured, then the means of acquiring them is summarily withdrawn. And how did our once relatively tolerant society succumb, in such a short space of time, to the shameful scapegoating of immigrants, unemployed people and the poor generally, instead of identifying the true culprits for depressing the living standards of the majority – this ruthless government and its cronies in big business who pay poverty wages and fleece hapless citizens of exorbitant rents, food and fuel charges?
I will end with a poem written by Ian Thorpe, which is about the folly of remorselessly acquiring possessions as a means to achieving happiness.

The Aspirational
by Ian R Thorpe

May it be known
that we are what we own
Each measured by our possessions
 
After so many years
And an ocean of tears
We still haven’t learned any lessons.

In a civilisation
Driven by aspiration
to move upward in social position
Advancement of status
Is gained on the basis
Of realising material ambition

We start our accession
With the acquisition
Of a skateboard and DVD player
Progress to designer threads
Hair up in dreads
An illegal pharmacopoeia

You acquire your own gaff,
a millstone for life,
but it says you've arrived as a person
then you buy a sports hatch
and still don't spot the catch
though the burden of debt must be hurting.

Your standing will climb
When your kitchen design
Features red tiles and an AGA
And no - one will mind
you’re in organized crime
When your drink is Chablis and not lager

A picture of Mars
And a stick in a vase
A futon when you lie down to dream
A cow in a tank
An ethical bank
A therapist who tells you to scream
 
Books you never read,
A strange new - age creed
Wardrobe full of designer attire
A killer PC
A wide screen TV
All the objects of your desire

A new home in a loft
A remote Scottish croft
Or a gite in the distant Dordogne
Obsessive acquisition
To improve your position
Will inspire you upward and on

In life you acquire
Objects of desire
and the precious things all people need
These items you treasure
Because together they measure
The strength of your will to succeed.

Until you realise
all the things that you prize
have not brought you happiness
When the reckoning's done
you see that you've become,
enslaved by the things you possess

Thank you for reading.

Sheilagh
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