Did you hear that Gandhi’s possessions are controversially going up for auction?
My favourite part of this story is the seller’s assertion upon India protesting the sale, that he’s doing it to promote the ideals of Gandhi:
My intent never was to create any sort of anger or animosity towards the auction, it was the opposite: to promote Gandhi’s words, actions, and to promote non-violence in any way we can,” Otis told The Daily Beast, a news website.
Because obviously paying upwards of $20,000 (the reserve bid) to own the meager possessions of a man who believed in living modestly is a step towards embodying his philosophy. Never mind the international incident that ensues. If India wants these things they should just pony up the money to buy it like anybody else.
Maybe we should try to get private collection of the possession of all the people (alive or dead) in the world who voluntarily don’t own much. Declare them an endangered species or perhaps a menace to society. In these hard economic times (are you sick to the teeth of hearing about HARD ECONOMIC TIMES?) these people are doing the unthinkable by not buying stuff they don’t need.
Honestly, we are so stupid sometimes.
We says things like money can’t buy you happiness or love, but we try to do it all the time. And entire marketplaces have cropped up purporting to sell us these things:
- If I take up yoga, I better take a trip down to my local yoga-wear store, and don’t forget the yoga accessories. Lululemon is my new yogi master.
- I can buy a miniature zen garden at Chapters, you know if I only want a little zen. Why be a fanatic?
- I can buy meditation cushions, music, rocks, books, incense. Because really, how could I achieve transcendence without the right accessories?
- The marketplace now takes these words, these spiritual values and stamps them on merchandise: my MP3 player is called a Creative Zen (double whammy — my MP3 player will not only give me Zen, but a creativity boost), my remote control is called Harmony
- Valentine’s Day (need I say more). If you love me, you’ll buy me jewellry.
- Have you seen commercials where owning something (like a car) is compared to having a spiritual experience? I thought so.
While real poverty — the kind where you can’t feed yourself or your family — can indeed be cured with money, poverty of the spirit cannot. Ironically, too much money causes poverty of the spirit. When we have too much money we get into a bad habit of paying other people to do the things we should do ourselves.
So let me remind you (and myself):
- You cannot buy your own peace, happiness, love, or courage.
- You do not embody a philosophy, a value, or a belief by owning, wearing, or buying something that purportedly represents it.
- It is better to make something yourself badly than pay someone else to do it well. (There may be some obvious exceptions to this rule, but I think you see where I’m heading on this.)
- God don’t take cash at the gate.
And thus ends the sermon for today. Totally did not see the size of that rant coming.
However, there may be a sizable pile of stuff on my front lawn with a “FREE” sign on it in the near future. Don’t take it if you don’t need it. And please for the love of Gandhi don’t put it up at auction. India’s already irate, I certainly don’t need China protesting that I’m giving away all their stuff too.