Wednesday, March 17, 2010

One of the Wisest Things I've Ever Read

At a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island, Kurt Vonnegut told his friend, Joseph Heller, that their host, a hedge fund manager, had made more money in a single day than Heller had earned from his wildly popular novel Catch-22 over its whole history.

Heller said, “Yes, but I have something he will never have: Enough.”

[It seems to me that this is the whole problem with being American in a nutshell. This is why we are a nation of obese materialists who are pretty unhappy compared to a lot of poorer nations. It's why Obama is having such a damn hell of a time getting a decent healthcare system put in place--greed--not wanting to share with others, even though a lot of us have more than enough.

On a personal level, it's why I'm 30 lbs. overweight, drink too much, was hooked on antidepressants, and have credit card debt. Truly comprehending what Heller said would fix nearly every problem that most of us have.

I don't know why this particular quote has been on my mind all day today, but it has. So it goes. And God bless you Joe and Kurt, wherever you are.]

19 comments:

The Dish said...

So true. So true. But how do we reteach ourselves?

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Dish,
I think we reteach ourselves by noticing the truth of it. You can only change something once you are truly aware of it.

Love,

SB

Bethany said...

Ah!
Thanks for sharing this SB.
Perfect.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

You are welcome dear Bethany.

Ms. Moon said...

Yes. Exactly. And perhaps that is what I was writing about today when I was talking about the perfect life. Enough. When there is enough. Reminds me of something Bob Dylan's father told him which went something along the lines of the marketplace is always filled with things we do not need.
I was sitting on the porch swing with Mr. Moon's arms around me a little bit ago and Owen was in my arms and I thought, "Oh my god. Am I going to die now because isn't this it? What we all say we want? To grow old with our love and our grandchildren around us?"
Owen was not around us, but he was there in my lap and he looked between me and his grandfather and he smiled at us and the rain came down and dripped off the oak trees and really- that was so much more than enough.
And I know it.

ashtree said...

Oh, SB. I was feeling a little bit like a bum for taking off work next week even though I am in school full time and it's spring break. I don't work much and I live pretty simply. And I'm happy! I've realized since being a poor student that I really don't need much in life to be happy. How easily we lose sight of that simple fact.

Anyways, thanks for sharing. I'm going to think of that quote often and not let the rich bastards get me down.

Love,
Ash

Jeannie said...

It's true - it's hard to be content. Advertising doesn't help. Neither do the snotty people.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Ms. Moon,
You KNOW it. Yep, that's the key. You are very rich indeed.

Love,

SB

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Ash,
You are very wise. It is better to have quality free time than a lot of damn material junk.

Love you. Enjoy your week off.

SB

Petit fleur said...

Yes,it is wise. It is also part of either Buddhist or Taoist philosophy, the idea of knowing when enough is enough.

I think we're doomed, personally.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

PF,
Yes, I am despairing too.

Love,

SB

Jennifer Rains said...

My reality check when I want, want, want, and have to have, is this: What do I really NEED? For some 'want' overpowers what is really necessary for a happy life, then they start to lose sight of it. Love Ms. Moon's comment--perfection, I feel you babe...and Ashtree, wonderfully put. Great post all around SB.

Love ya,
Jenn

Steph(anie) said...

I wanted to thank you for this. I read it yesterday and it sent me off on a journey of the internet variety, and I forgot to comment.

Mel said...

so true. I have often thought we're mostly trying to fill some gaping void in our lives and very few people are lucky enough to know what enough or satisfied or peace fill like. Plus our vile culture has addicted us to salt and sugar and endorphin rushes and we need the alcohol and the pills to slog along or sleep or numb ourselves a bit. I think we're mostly doomed too, although I like to pretend we're not, for my kids' kids' sake.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Steph,
I am pleased that you wanted to learn more. Thank YOU.

Love,

SB

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Thanks, dear Jenn. I appreciate the compliment.

Love you tons,

SB

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Mel,
You are a sweetheart, and again, I hope you are right.

Love you.

Verity Mae said...

That shit is magic

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Verity,
I thought so too. I just bought a bunch of books written by Joe Heller. I wanted to know more.

Thanks for reading and commenting. Come back lots.

SB