Mark Gold discovered he didn’t need stuff — and has gone on to ignite real, interconnected abundance. But let’s take it one step at a time. What if the rest of us who have been “Pursuing the American Dream” also discover that we don’t need stuff. What would happen?
Full, horrible confession: once, on the first day in Athens of a month-long, wander-the-back-roads trip to Greece with a friend, I was actually suckered into buying a bulky, formal fur (fur! can’t remember what kind of fur, but fur) jacket that cost I think $350 (what? I would never, ever buy such a stupid expensive item here at home). That jacket doubled the bulk of what I was carrying, and I actually lugged it the whole month with me. Then, when I got it back, I took a good look at it, and wondered how I had gotten so far out of my right mind. All that jacket was good for was the once-a-year trip to the opera! I sent it to my mother, where it languished, in the back of her closet, for years.
Here’s an excerpt from an article inspired by the author’s meditation on the so-called coming end of the world this Saturday, May 21, 2011. Oh, how imagined crisis concentrates the mind!
Zen and the art of being a Kerouac wannabe
By Bob Patterson (about the author)
In the film “Point Break,” the surfer/bank robber, Bhodi (Patrick Swayze) advises the Establishment, in the form of FBI agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves), to “think it through.”
Have the banksters used the “think it through” method to assess the long term effects of the wave of home repossessions?
What will happen if the new masses of homeless Americans have a morphic resonance style collective epiphany moment and find that they have learned the Zen and the Art of Being “On the Road” lesson?
Isn’t literature rife with variations of a story about a traveling wise man who preaches to the people that they can be happy without a storage unit full of superfluous material possessions?
Wouldn’t it be dangerous for capitalists to face a mass movement of the Zen philosophy of renouncing extraneous material possessions? Isn’t America built on the concept that “Greed is good” and that if the Jones family next door has a flat screen TV (don’t they wear out more quickly? [“Mommy, is “planned obsolescence’ a Zen concept?”]) your family needs a bigger one?
Here is a hypothetical example: if you are traveling around Australia with a suitcase and you find some amusing tchotchke that would be a perfect gift for someone 12,000 miles away, should you buy it and lug it around with you for the rest of the trip or should you pay the postage and send it on its way? (Isn’t it ironic if the postage fee will be more than the cost of the book you want to send?)
If you are always on the move, you tend to only buy those things you know you need such as a very light battery powered alarm clock and a flashlight. (Kids will tell you that a cell phone is a flashlight.) Even a dedicated life long sloppy (and slovenly?) person will quickly learn the advantages of knowing precisely where things are in the suitcase, so that they can be located quickly in the dark without the need to empty the entire contents of the suitcase on the hostel bunk, just to find the elusive item. Suppose the item you need is the flashlight? If you dump the suitcase on the bed, you would need the flashlight to sort through the contents to find the flashlight. Hence even a slob will come to adopt the “a place for everything and everything in its place” philosophy while being “on the road.”
Wouldn’t it be very dangerous for the recovery, if massive numbers of people who have been made homeless via foreclosure suddenly learn and begin to preach the advantages of renouncing material possessions?
The German concept of Schadenfreude explains why TV interviews with people, who have just lost their home by tornado, flood, or foreclosure, attract large audiences, but what would happen if, instead of a crying victim, the interview produced an interviewee with the happy-go-lucky attitude who shrugs and says: “I learned I didn’t need it”?
The happy wanderer such as Chang Kai Kane, the guys on Route 66, the Fugitive, Sal Paradise (symbolism?), the Lone Ranger, Dr. Gonzo, etc. is amusing and entertaining but true patriotic Americans must never forget that such cultural rebels are the antitheses of American values and must not be permitted to weave their web of subtle philosophy heresy that repudiates American ideas and culture.