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Lofty Thoughts and Simple Living

by Sunil J

That was a phrase from my childhood. If my memory serves me right, my father said that was the principle by which Mahatma Gandhi lived. I had forgotten all about it, and something made me think of it today. Google did not turn up such a phrase, which is strange, because someone would have put those 5 words together and it should have been indexed by Google.

I am certain that those words have made a huge impact in my life. I may not lead a simple life and my thoughts might not be lofty, but I wish…

At no point in my life did I lead a simple life, even when I thought I did. I always wanted something more, just like Oliver Twist. You cease to live a simple life when the things that you acquire are not for your needs, but your wants. As any marketing student will tell you, yesterday’s want is todays need and what you want today will be something that you can’t live without tomorrow. Of course, it is their job is to make sure that your luxury is converted to a necessity. Have you even seen a dog chase its own tail? That is what we do when we try to satisfy our wants. I used to laugh at that, but I wonder who is laughing at me now?

At times I thought I had lofty thoughts, but then as I grew up I realized that it was I who thought that those were lofty thoughts. I too have those rare moments when my thoughts surprise me by growing beyond me, but those are rare and I know that it is not just me. Everyone has their moment where their thought grows beyond the confines of their brain.

I know my thoughts are not lofty because I know I want more of everything and the things that I can’t live without today, were the things I wanted yesterday. If you strip down your wants, all you will be left with will be food, clothing and shelter. I would say I can’t imagine living without a computer or broadband access. But the truth is, you need those because you want to do something. Play, communicate, learn, work etc. But, how many e-mails did you sent this week? How many hours did you chat because you needed to, not because you could? How many hours did you work from home?

Gandhi once said, “there is enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed”. We are creating a resource shortage in the world because we want more. And the only way we can have more is if we are competing with others for more. To compete, we learn more, we work more and in the end we do not have enough time to enjoy what we slaved for.

Because I am spending so much effort to be competitive, I do not have time for any thought other than selfish thoughts and that is how I know my thoughts are not lofty.

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4 comments

Nirmala February 16, 2011 - 9:44 PM

Very much thought provoking! I like this post! 🙂

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Sunil J February 20, 2011 - 10:23 PM

Thank you. 🙂

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ElizOF February 10, 2011 - 4:01 PM

“Because I am spending so much effort to be competitive, I do not have time for any thought other than selfish thoughts and that is how I know my thoughts are not lofty.”
Very interesting point there and a sincere one. I think we all have selfish needs; varying by degrees.in how we choose to express those needs. 🙂
E

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Sunil J February 10, 2011 - 4:12 PM

Definitely, all of us have selfish needs. The word selfish is a bit dramatic, I guess. Self interest perhaps?

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