By Victoria Lynn Hall
While listening back to this episode, I thought of a conversation that I had with my cousin, Dr. KD Farris, many years ago during the holidays in which I asked her what she wanted for Christmas.
“Less.” She answered simply and profoundly.
For a second I was taken aback, disoriented, even ashamed, and then my soul got louder than my ego and I think I replied, or at least thought, something to the effect of:
“Wow. Good answer. Yes. I want that too.”
However, had she not have replied so unconventionally, I might not have known that was what I had wanted or needed. Even in the question I asked her, I was adhering to convention, to a cultural norm and a growing societal mandate (no doubt egged on by the demands of capitalism) that we want some thing for Christmas even if it is the last thing we need.
The evidence that having too much materially can be a problem is all around us. Whole careers and industries are now built on a rising need for people to declutter and/or organize their “stuff” and there are interventions and treatment centers for shopping addiction.
We can point to billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates or Elon Musk as the poster children for greed and economic inequality but how much do we buy into the same mindset that created them and why? Do we think to question how much our culture; advertising; institutions; corporations; and political ideologies influence our idea of what we want? Do we ask ourselves what would really make us happy or are we being told what is supposed to make us happy and then wondering what is wrong with us when we either can’t achieve it or, we do achieve it and still remain dissatisfied?
Could achieving “a world that works for all” be as simple as taking an honest assessment of ourselves and our lives and figuring out what really does and doesn’t work for us? Perhaps we need to ask ourselves not just what we, our children and others need more of but how much some of us may want, crave and need “less”.
Jesse and I discussed how wealth inequality ultimately doesn’t really work for anyone in episode 22 of Ask Jesse, The Pursuit of Happiness.
I liked that episode so much I also revisited it and broke it down further here.
In this episode I mentioned my problem with the oft repeated talking point that the American Rescue Plan and its child tax credit would, “cut child poverty in half!”. Jesse talks more about that in this clip from Episode 34:
Click here to find more information on International Children’s Month and how you can be a part of it.
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A Los Angeles native, Jesse Crall graduated from UCLA’s English Department before working as a copywriter, script reader and project manager for an engineering firm.
A self taught artist and creative entrepreneur, Victoria Lynn Hall lives in the Kansas City area with 4 spoiled cats. She believes in art and the magic of kindness.