The Utopian Impact of Desiring Less

“There are two ways to make a man richer: Give him more money or curb his desires.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

I would agree that man is born with the desire for love and happiness, but I also think that we are born with the desire for more things.

Consider for a moment the question: How would our world look In a different scenario, if people wanted less rather than more? The impact on society would be shocking:

1. Less Hunger – Currently, world agriculture produces enough food for every one of the seven billion people alive on planet earth. According to the World Health Organization, roughly over 850 million people worldwide are malnourished, while 1.6 billion are overweight. A world where people wanted less would result in a world where food was distributed more equally.

2. Less Poverty – Similarly, the world’s resources are unequally distributed. According to the World Bank, the richest 20% consume 76.6% of the world’s resources, while the world’s poorest 20% consume only 1.5%. A world where people wanted less would result in a world where our resources are distributed more equally.

3. Less War – While not every war throughout history has been fought for material gain, most of them have been waged for the purpose of gaining money/gold, territory, resources, or imperialism.

4. Less Crime – Most of the high crimes committed today are based on greed, selfishness, or jealousy.
Unfortunately, however, we live in a world that is inhabited by people. And people are ingrained with a desire for more. From the time we can comprehend the nature of stuff, we desire more of it and that is never going to change on a world-wide scale. The list above is going to continue because humanity is going to continue.
But, even if we can’t change the rest of the world, we can still change our own life. What if we could learn to truly desire less rather than more? What would be the affects? How would our personal lives look different if we wanted less rather than more?

Here’s what results in the change of desiring less:

1. More Happiness – If we stopped wanting more, we would become more satisfied with our lives. And if we became more satisfied with our lives, we would become happier people.

2. More Peace – One of the greatest steps to realizing peace in our lives is to simply desire less rather than more.

Happiness, true happiness, is an inner quality. It is a state of mind. If your mind is at peace, you are happy. If your mind is at peace, but you have nothing else, you can be happy. If you have everything the world can give – pleasure, possessions, power – but lack peace of mind, you can never be happy.
– Dada Vaswani

3. More Gratitude – If we would stop focusing on the things that we don’t have and start focusing more on the things that we already do, we would become far more grateful for the good things in our lives. This gratitude would extend beyond material possessions into the things that really matter: love, hope, and peace.

4. More Friendships – Consider how our friendships would be impacted if we could rid ourselves of the desire for more. We would become more generous, more willing to help, and more honest in our dealings with others. Our friendships would become better, stronger, and deeper.

Related: Actions speak louder

5. Less Stress – Our desire for more causes most of the stress in our life (not all of it, but most of it). We work in high-stress careers so that we can earn more money to buy more things or just make the monthly payments on our homes and cars. We have been enslaved by credit card companies because of the purchases we have made. If we could replace our desire for more with a desire for less, we would remove much of the stress in our lives.

6. Less Jealousy – Our desire for more causes us to envy the neighbor’s car, clothes, and jewelry. We become jealous that they own more stuff than us and soon our jealousy leads to resentment and bitterness.
While we may never fully enjoy the advantages of a world that desires less, the personal benefits above are freely available. Imagine your life being happier and more peaceful with less stress and jealousy, if we could only shake this nasty desire for more.

Nonetheless, we learned long ago that to gain love and happiness trading more things brought that to us, and that because of it we met more people. Today, we have evolved into a different society one in which trading is not any more personal, rather more enslaving.
People only work to make more, and they want more because they get a sort of high off of having bought something. This happiness though is only short-lived and so we buy more and more. We need to break this dependence on short-lived happiness and turn to more concrete long term solutions.

Source

Think Positive, Think Different

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4 thoughts on “The Utopian Impact of Desiring Less

  1. I would suggest that you are very wrong in your statement “I also think that we are born with the desire for more things.”
    I have never seen any rationale that supports a genetic desire for more things however, there is ample evidence to support that those habits our learned from our family, our peers and our culture. There is also a mass of evidence supporting the concept that commerce in general is driving the desire for more, for bigger, and for better!
    If we start thinking for ourselves, instead of believing everything we see on TV and read on billboards, then we have started on our journey towards basic needs, and away from excesses. That has to be a good thing!

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