Towards Freedom – Materialism and Possession

I think it fair to comment that a swathe of humanity is somewhat obsessed with material things; houses, ‘phones, cars and maybe even yachts. There is a desire for the less concrete material things, the man-made things, like position, status and kudos. These are the markers, the accoutrements of the show-and-tell story of success, material success. People attach a lot to objects and stuff. Some houses are brimming. There is a like of the shiny, the medals, the trophies of societal conformity. One can even have a trophy wife and post-nominal letters. These things can be taken away, an event which causes distress and suffering because of the attachment, thereto. People have possessions and are possessed by them. That which they are attached to has power over them. In the hunger for acquisition rarely does it occur that people are giving their power over to their possessions.

If you are to be free then the equation of freedom is that the fewer things that have material power over you there are, the freer you become. In the limit of no possessions, one might wander the streets penniless dependent upon the hand-outs of others. This, depending upon mind-state, is a state of powerlessness. This can also not be free, because of the dependency. Is there perhaps a happy medium? Well in a world where relative might operate, there is. One can have only those belongings which one actually needs and that suffices. Many acquire way more than this, perhaps in a vain attempt to satiate some hunger, some hole in being. Their “happiness” is correlated somehow, to number count of material accoutrement. It is straightforward to see that, in such cases, the thinking behind is faulty.

Even then it is likely that some degree of clinging to accoutrement occurs. This clinging is needy and not free. If one uses, with respect the needed things, knowing that their use is a temporary gift of the universe and without a sense of entitlement, there is less attachment. Non-attachment without respect is wasteful and profligate, it engenders a throw-away society. Non-attachment with respect is perhaps a hallmark of a free being. In this one has no belief that the universe owes us a living or anything much at all. Thereby one is grateful for the loan of the material things offered, yet not attached to having them.

Materialism implies a lack of spirituality, which comes in many flavours and degrees. Despite all the reason, logic and justification, many find that some sense of spirit is the icing on the cake of life. Without it life is incomplete, unfinished. In our times spirit seems to be dying in favour of material, it may be that this underlies the tremendous levels of world angst and anger. This is an opinion for you to consider.

There are many wise quotes that suggest materialism is a hollow path, that whilst shiny and bauble laden, offers no lasting happiness or peace. This gnawing materialism is insatiable; at the end of its rainbow is the pot of enough, which cannot be found because for those so oriented it simply does not exist. This elusive enough, often sought, can cause suffering. It is sought with the wrong mind-set and motive and ergo, is elusive.  There is a Buddhist expression which I am fond of; hungry ghosts. A ghost then is a being divested of spirit seeking always to quench a thirst and silence a hunger pain, in the netherworld of materialism. If you don’t believe in “actual” ghosts, perhaps you can see the manifest hungry ghosts walking alongside you on our streets? They are quite common, and they do come out during the day.

In order to walk towards freedom, it is necessary to reorient in respect of the material so that it all but ceases to have power over you.  Despite the prevalence of totems, relics and the like, they have no inherent power. The power is only in the mind of the reverential and acquisitional. This power is a mental construct attached by the being who holds it. These attachments can bind and hold.

Objects can be the talismans of memories, markers of stories and anchors of such. They evoke baggage and strengthen its hold. To be free of the past is to reconcile and dissolve it. To evoke and bolster it is unwise. In this respect sentimentality is a burden.

A major part of the obsession with materialism is, as I have hinted, this show-and-tell competitive social behaviours based in comparison mind and exploited by the advertiser. This fear of missing out on the latest grooviest thing is the marketer’s dream and a fundamental weakness in the herd of consumers. So many buy stuff they do not need so as to partake of a show-and-tell life. This to the extent of living beyond means in many cases. A trophy cabinet is of little solace when the creditors foreclose. You could say that this attraction to shiny baubles is a little primitive and yet pervasive.

If one looks ever outward to the material world for “happiness”, reward and acknowledgment, the inner world becomes barren and untended. There is no balance, no centre. It is difficult to be free when near perpetually off balance.  In this respect simplicity is a counterpoint to acquisition, where need as opposed to want or desire, is the basis of interaction with the material world. Not everyone can tolerate the idea of monastic sparseness, yet relative comfort without excess is liveable for most. And in not feeling owed, or attached, knowing that your tenure of goods is transitory not guaranteed, equanimity can be found. The concept of ownership and permanent ownership at that, is a human invention. Nature can at any time challenge human perceived ownership of goods and irrevocably so. This construct of ownership and possession is of human origin and thereby a part of the illusion of the common dream, the prevailing world version.  The mantram of “must have” is chanted daily by millions and it is not a mantram of peace or fulfilment. It is mantram of hunger. “Must have” is not free.

In order to be free, one must at least lessen the power which things and awards have over one. There needs to be a responsible lessening of attachment, perhaps in a stepwise manner. Slowly the umbilical to the world of materialism needs severed. To be possessed by possessions is to be hooked to them and their purveyors. And short of a full-blown exorcism it is best to wean yourself towards autonomous living and thinking. This addiction to materialism is powerful and it holds power over most.

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Aside from soccer and Ukraine, there seems to be a lot about corruption in the news of late. French rugby boss, South African cash in the sofa, lordly PPE and EU. There are certain types of people who don’t think it wrong to award contracts to their mates even if they are paid for with public money. There are no laws concerning inviting speakers to lecture at your university. This is a favour asked and often results in a favour returned. It is perfectly legal. No itchy backs there. CVs are built up nicely for promotion and assessment exercises.

In some cultures, a bung is considered a part of the deal.

Ron the gangster gave me a job breaking car batteries as a sweetener {said with a London accent} for my dad who bought his lead. I did not get any special favours I sweated just like everyone else. It was a favour, in time Ron might have asked my dad to take his lorries off site… perhaps with some additional silver cached.

This is how corruption begins. It is a thin end of the edge, something innocuous which builds to a multimillion pound deal to be the face of a tournament. FIFA has a long tradition of corruption. Innocuous favours can quickly blur edges into corruption. We don’t know how much David Beckham other nations got to see. I guess his exposure to the UK was carefully reduced.

“I will pay for the wallpaper in your flat old chap.”

This is borderline to illegal, certainly not ethical in public office.

Usually after several sweeteners there is an ask. Then the whole thing starts to escalate.

In Zambia we were close to a number of Indian merchant families, playing badminton with them on a regular basis. I learned about the partition of India from them. When stock arrived in store, we would get a call. If dad had any foreign exchange allowance left, there would be a favourable Kwacha for Sterling exchange. Not illegal but again no itchy backs.

I suspect that the Sussexes are in so deep now, it probably cannot be stopped. To my eyes it will end in tears in due course. There is something iffy going on there.

What I don’t get is that people who already have a lot of money, want more and bend rules so as to get more. Is it the risk taking or simple gluttony?

Toltecs according to Théun consider money to be crystallized power. Here power can mean knowledge, positional power, power by association, personal power as in vitality. There is no denying that money is an enabler. People can “bought”. One can build spaceships or buy blue birds if you have enough dosh.

A long time ago I was able to “materialise” a considerable amount of money. I materialised a job offering shed loads of cash, but then got out of the contract.

Right now, I am powerless in the material plane sense and by pecuniary amount. I have no power over anyone else. I am nobodies’ boss or supervisor. Neither am I an underling.

I can no longer materialise money. I am virtually unemployable. {I have tried.}

Power is the third natural enemy and many yield to the temptation of pecuniary gain, whether legal or not. Some argue the toss that they deserve huge salaries. Premier league football is a ridiculous example. Do they really think they deserve or need a million quid a week?

My theory is that I did not yield to that third natural enemy and passed the test at a relatively young age.

There is another side to money or silver, argent, as they call it here. It is a human invention and pertains to the material plane, to materiality and materialism. Although technically not inherently evil, basically neutral, it has evil undertones and effects. Wherever evil is, so is money. This cannot be said to be the case for good.

Everyone has heard about the famous thirty pieces of silver. 30 is the number of the dark jewel manipulation! Silver is the dreaming symbol for the Tonal or the materialised world.

Worldly goods and money do not loosen the ties to the wheel of rebirth and there are material karmic effects from the greed for and misuse of money. Trump is embroiled it numerous lawsuits, it is his karma.

If you cling to materialism, you will, like Arnie, be back. If you are corrupt there is evil karma to face. Often a fair portion of those engaged in corruption get some kind of comeuppance in the same lifetime.

I am wondering if this corruption discovery theme is going to evolve and increase as this age draws to a close. Things need a cleansing…

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