Actually, I don't think you'e wandering off the point at all. But you've
highlighted the point in your post (below): "Quality" isn't synonymous with
"new". There's nothing wrong with posessions per se, and indeed, certain
posessions may have a lot to do with Q., but consumerism isn't actually
about posessions at all! - it's about buying them. So most of the 'best'
consumers are ones who don't actually own all that much, becasue they throw
stuff away as fast as they buy more stuff (stands to reason, or where would
they keep it all?). The problem is, that it looks exactly like heroin
addiction: you need more and more to stay in the same place, and in reality
you're actually sliding backwards. The main reason for this is that there is
no distinction drawn between "happiness" and "pleasure", so many folk
believe, quite reasonably, that if you can just get enough moments of
pleasure and string them all together in a continuous line, what you will
have is happiness. And of course, it doesn't work.
So, the trick is to learn to discern between "happiness" and "pleasure", and
between "quality" and "new", and that's where a notion of "Quality" comes
Actually, I should declare that I do have a Mercedes, and get a lot of
pleasure from it, and have done for the 120,000 miles I've done in it. but
that doesn't negate my point, because the reason I've got it and other such
'spiritually unnecessary' toys is precisely because I'm not a consumer. In
other words, I don't waste. I don't buy things that wear out (as far as
possible), I make or buy things that 'wear in'. And there are certain
materials which seem to inherently epitomise "quality"; stone, wood, and so
on. Because they 'age' gracefully.
Now I'm in danger of wandering off the point, but this is what I got from
Pirsig, this attitude to quality, and I honestly feel that it's stood me in
good stead (unlike an awful lot of the apalling crap we came out with in the
'60s). And certainly, I look around every day and marvel at how so many
potentially really intelligent and skilled persons and organisations in
diverse areas make the most staggering blunders, and I think "it's because
they lost sight of quality." Low quality situations have a way of blinding
even the wisest.
And I honestly believe that it's precisely this which causes the ills of
consumerism, not the other way round.
Looking back over this post, I'm sorry - it seems a bit smug, which wasn't
what I meant at all. I should explain I'm 47 with family and stuff and,
honestly, not wealthy in terms of income. It's just that, well, a £1.00
saved is actually a great deal more than a £1.00 earned. (tax etc). And over
27 working years, if you don't waste, you accumulate.
p.s. for all those who worry about the terrible state of the world today,
it's a hundred times better, for more people, than when I was a kid!
----- Original Message -----
Sent: 24 May 2001 18:43
Subject: MD needs
> While I have enjoyed the recent "consumerism"-based posts, I do think that
> need to be more aware of Bodvar's assertion (correct, IMO) that there is a
> danger in drifting too far from MoQ-ista world and becoming just another
> AOL-sounding chat room. But the current discussion has reminded me just
> caught up I am in the consumer-based culture, and I was wondering if the
> offered an explanation or a way out, besides the stereotypical
> responses, e.g., having more "things" makes us more attractive to a
> higher-quality mate, allowing for more procreative opportunities, blah
> blah. I am at a point in life where I live a fairly comfortable,
> middle-class lifestyle, and I'm able to make occasional purchases that I
> always thought about owning. The problem is, it's never enough. I saw
> new Lexus sport coupe the other day and told my girlfriend how much I
> it and she said "If you had it you'd still be miserable", and she's right.
> If I had it I'd then want the Mercedes "fill in the blank" model, and on
> on. Is this due to the stifling nature of a "static" existence? Does the
> new vehicle or any commodity represent a temporary respite from the static
> thing, perhaps erroneously perceived as a "dynamic" occurrence? Am I
> trivializing the MoQ? as Lila is obviously not a "self-help" book. Yet
> of my attraction to ZAMM and Lila was a sense of transcendence, conscious
> subconscious maybe. Perhaps these insatiable needs are merely to prevent a
> static complacency, yet "complacency" can be a very dynamic event in terms
> contentment, I would think. Is "Quality" in our personal lives merely a
> measure of all the "things" we now have, or hope to, acquire?
> P.S. If this post represents a drift outside the framework of the MoQ then
> apologize in advance; ignore me as my girlfriend does.
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