When is enough…. enough?

When is enough….. enough? No matter how wealthy and privileged you are, it’s not always easy to stop some shiny new object or prestigious new job from capturing your attention.

Laozi saw human greed and ambition as the cause of conflicts and wars, and passionately argued that the best way to stop them was for people to rein in their desires and learn to be happy with what they already have.

We see similar arguments being made today with just as much passion against excessive materialism and conspicuous consumption – and with similar results. No doubt that’s because it’s easy enough for us to point fingers at other people and say that they have enough, but almost possible for us to say the same thing about our ourselves.

「天下有道,卻走馬以糞;天下無道,戎馬生於郊;禍莫大於不知足,咎莫大於欲得;故知足之足,常足矣!」
When the world follows the Way,
Warhorses work on the farms.
When the world doesn’t follow the Way,
Even mares in foal are conscripted into battle.
There is no greater crime than wanting too much;
There is no greater misfortune than being discontented with what you have;
There is no greater evil than greed.
Knowing when enough is enough and being satisfied with it is true contentment.

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