Madness…or Gratitude

In a classic cartoon short from around 1970, Earth is shown as voicing the collective demands of humanity by shouting, via speech bubbles, “more” … then “More” … then even “MORE.” Finally, at the end of this temper tirade, the hand of God destroys the earth in a split second. God then gets the final word: “No more!”

This prophetic little animation graphically depicts our current state of affairs on Planet Earth, short of the apocalyptic final scene, which for now, at least, is on hold. In the modern Western world, MORE is the watchword for our day-to-day secular life. Consume more, get more. Never stop consuming, never stop acquiring.

And what are we consuming and acquiring? Things. Possessions. Stuff. Ephemeral trinkets and shiny bric-a-brac. Fancy cars and smart homes. All sorts of external adornments, artificial exoskeletons, and transitory pleasures of the senses.

But this insatiable lust for temporal enhancements has come at a price. Unless God gets fed up with his creation, it won’t require God to deal the final, fateful hand for humanity. The earth itself has been belching NO MORE for decades, and now we are at the tipping point. But have we collectively been listening?

In contrast to this unbridled consumerism is the concept of voluntary simplicity, as enjoined by philosopher Henry David Thoreau. This idea puts the reins on unlimited avariciousness, which is a kind of madness. At this Thanksgiving, the idea of being content with one’s circumstances and grateful for one’s lot in life seems blasé, almost an anachronism. Yet, from a spiritual point of view, contentment and gratitude are food for the soul, much in the same way a sufficient Thanksgiving meal satisfies the belly.

We leave this life in the same way we came into it: possessionless. And so it would behoove us to remember, as we accrue more and more barnacles of possessions throughout our lives, that in the end, there is simply no more. But along the journey we can always be grateful. Especially on Thanksgiving.

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