Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Contentment vs peace When I sign letters I end them with “Peace,” Rebecca. What I really want to say is “contentment,” Rebecca. However, I feel uncomfortable offering up contentment to the receiver of my letter. I wish for contentment in my life, and the lives of my friends and family; but the fact is, simply, contentment seems to equate failure in Western society. Phrases such as “why can’t you just be content with what you have?,” erases the true meaning of contentment, implying that most of us can never reach contentment because we “need” more. The problem with this is that in a Capitalist society, we always “need” more. I use the word “need” here simply because “want” is not promoted. The truth is we may really “want” that fantastic new phone that not only acts like a phone but also as a camera, video camera, voice recorder, organizer, internet browser and status symbol, but that “want” quickly becomes a “need” in capitalist societies. I am my phone. I am my car. I am my toothpaste. And while we are at it, my toothpaste is better than your toothpaste (power) because mine not only cleans and protects my teeth but it whitens them and, because of the whitening aspect, has the potential of turning me into a superstar with great big lovely breasts and a fine round ass. I am my toothpaste thank you very much, and I need this toothpaste to satisfy me. The problem here is that satisfaction rarely accompanies the toothpaste, car, phone or even plastic surgery we so desperately “need” because we confuse our real sense of “need” with our sense of “want.” Now what does all this have to do with contentment? Well, if I don’t know the difference between my “needs” and “wants,” how will I ever reach contentment? Besides, being day two in the quit smoking business at hand, I am far from contest or peaceful. Granted I do not want to “rest in peace” which is why I am quitting in the first place, however, I am as far from content as can be! Say it with me: carrots are good, carrots are good . . . “yeah right!” Say it with me: I don’t “need” a cigarette; I “want” a cigarette.