“A sense of wider meaning to one’s existence is what raises a man beyond mere getting and spending. If he lacks this sense, he is lost and miserable.
“Man and His Symbols, C.Jung
“Having the fewest wants, I am nearest to the gods.”
Why is it that we are constantly dissatisfied with what we have? The LCD TV must be replaced with a LED TV. The car needs changing because it’s 3 years old and the PC no longer has that solid, par performance we desire. The answer is: The economic model in vogue requires people to be DISSATISFIED because if people cease to organise their lives around having more and more, the economy is in a terrible danger of griding to a halt.
Our consumerism supports this economic system which feeds on our buying power. Hence, we are constantly bombarded with adverts showing new products, new functions added to old ones or cutting edge technology we simply cannot afford to ignore. Summarising, we are encouraged to consume and we bite the bait, relentlessly.
Let’s go back to the idea of dissatisfaction. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory (1954) proposes that there are a number of needs a human being seeks to fulfil in life. In his famous representation of this hierarchy, a pyramid, the most basic and fundamental needs such as the physiological and the safety needs are at the bottom. Towards the top, the need of love, belonging to a community, esteem and self-actualisation – curiously, everything that MONEY CAN’T BUY. Moreover, a number of studies into the source of happiness also concluded that once some minimal income is attained, the amount of money people have matters little in terms of bringing happiness. Don’t we have reasons to be unhappy? What really matters in life cannot be purchased!
Ok, but what about the pleasure we all get from buying a brand-new LED TV set? Well, we have to ask ourselves the reasons why we may derive satisfaction from the act of buying. Is it to keep up with the Johnsons or to replace another subconscious need? Whatever the primal reason, the happiness acquired is not long lived. Just like a child loses interest in a new toy within a couple of weeks, people certainly lose interest in their recently-bought source of happiness and, therefore, the feeling of ecstasy will fade away just as easy.
You might be wondering: What has all this got to do with myths and the purpose of this blog? We have the right to discover our destiny, to discover our personal myths (myths here taken as the heroic journeys we have full potential to pursue in life). To which extent are we living according to our own myths or simply conforming to what society expects us to believe as appropriate / normal? To which extent are we doing the best we can to develop our full potentialities? This is an age when we have our egos (Freud, 1923) deluded by aspirations which do not tally with our individual myths (or the journeys we, consciously and unconsciously, have planned for ourselves). I’m in a continuing quest to find the myths I live by. I’m determined to develop my individual self (Jung, 1912).