The Declining Utility of More Stuff

At a certain level, our modern consumer society is built on a truth and a lie. The truth is that if you’re living below Maslow’s Threshold of safety and security, a little bit of stuff can make a huge change in your mental and emotional states and the quality of your life. If you’re outside alone at night, naked and cold, your’re miserable. If somebody brings you inside, gives you clothes to wear, a warm blanket, a fire to sit by, warm food to eat and a comfortable bed to sleep in, then you move from unhappy to happy pretty fast.

The lie is the siren song of our culture. If that much stuff will generate that much instant happiness the lie goes, then ten times as much stuff will make you ten times happier. A hundred times as much stuff will make you a hundred times happier. A thousand times as much stuff will make you a thousand times happier. And it follows that Bill Gates lives in a state of perpetual bliss!

~ Thom Hartmann (1951-05-07 age:66) Threshold: The Progressive Plan to Pull America Back from the Brink page 14