Revolutionary calmness

Image: Teddy Kelley

Resisting the world’s attempts to depress us

A friend of mine recently shared the below quote on Facebook that jumped out, slapped me in the face, and brought me a poignant reminder to get my focus on the important things in life:

“The world is increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturiser? You make someone worry about ageing. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new smartphone? By making them feel like they are being left behind. To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our messy, human selves, would not be good for business.” — Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive

These words capture so aptly the state of western society today. Our world has been setup in such a way as to compel us to always want more. We are encouraged to never be satisfied. Contentment is as good as mocked.

And that is why, as Haig says, calm and contentment is a revolutionary act.

It is revolutionary because it is so counter-cultural.

Even though I find myself nodding in agreement with his words, another part of me can sense how enslaved I still am to this system.

We claim to want peace and freedom in life, but if the price of that peace and freedom is contentment with what we already have and a rejection of an endless need for more, how many of us are prepared to pay that price?

If I’m honest, I know I’m not.

I’d like to be, but I’m not yet there.

But is it any wonder that this endless need for more also coincides with more and more of us struggling with anxiety, worry, and depression?

And if our society continues to becoming increasingly dissatisfied and discontent, surely we’ll soon reach a point that the price is worth paying?

How depressed do we let ourselves become before we simply refuse to play the world’s game any more?

This quote serves as a real warning for me. I don’t want my life to be defined be discontentment.

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