Man Who Gave Up Money
Go to a mall in America on any given weekend, and you will see herds of consumers buying clothing and other material goods that they believe defines them as individuals. Now fly halfway around the world and visit a place like Tibet or a Japanese Shinto Buddhist temple, and we see individuals define themselves not by material possessions, but by their spirituality. Can a nation like the United States whose populace is so entrenched in possession be able to change their definition of self into a spiritual image; and if so, what would they have to give up on their spiritual journey?
One Sunday in 1969, just as Mr. Hatch was opening the massive car door for his ...view middle of the document...
As a child he may have understood better than the adults; a child sees things differently than adults, no pretense. As long as their needs are met, food, shelter, clothes to protect them from the elements, and love. “The spiritual life is actually a conscious return to our divine childhood….it is a child that makes progress. A child is always open to new feelings, new ideas, new dreams, and new ideals. In the spiritual life also, a seeker is always open to higher truths, higher thoughts, sublime ideals and soulful aspiration” (srichinmoy).
What is materialism and how does it reflect on the individual and the populace of a nation?
Materialism reflects the importance a consumer attaches to worldly possessions. At the highest levels of materialism, possessions assume a central place in a person’s life and are believed to provide the greatest sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction in life. Three personality traits are related to materialism: possessiveness, non-generosity, and envy. Possessiveness is said to include personal concern about the loss of ownership, a desire to control via ownership, and a propensity to retain possessions. Non-generosity is defined as an unwillingness to share possession. Envy is cast in terms of an individual’s desire for others’ possessions… Envy is closely related to resentment, (i.e., envious people resent those who own desired possessions) (Hunt, Kerman, and Mitchell).
“To such a person, people are what they have…although this mentality is not uncommon in affluent societies and it seems to prevail at least in part of the U. S. population…” (Hunt, Kerman, and Mitchell). Is this what the hippie observed when Mr. and Mrs. Hatch were getting out of their Cadillac and going into church? Is it all bad to have “things?” If we do not have anything how are we to share what we have with those that have less than us? I am reminded of Suelo when he was going to Ecuador to see the missionary. The missionary provided the Christian Indians an opportunity to raise his cattle and then be granted land and every other year get the calves for themselves. On the surface that seems good, the people can raise the animals and are able to use them to get what they need. But, in the process the forest was being depleted, after a few years of ranching it became a desert. Also, the people were buying televisions, is that something that was really necessary? Most important though is the unhappiness, and the “haves” and “have-nots” in the community created by the use of money. Prior to Western influence the natives had no poverty or problems associated with poverty until being introduced to the money system (Sundeen 85).
Suelo wanted to improve the lives of the indigenous people of Ecuador without getting them involved in the money system. He wanted that natural purity of the village life to continue to prosper with added benefits of clean water and food to support their needs. He...