I'm working my way through an advance copy of Peter Rollins' latest work, Insurrection. And while I'll have more to reflect on later in a directly religious tone, this passage I read this morning sums up our chief problem when it comes to living a simpler life. We know what we should do, but like many of our religious or moral beliefs, it's so difficult to put into practice.
Many of us would agree that having a better car, nicer home, or more possessions will not really make us happier. We are all able to concur that such things are not worth giving too much attention to and that we should not let our relationships suffer in order to achieve them. The problem, however, is that we often walk away from such conversations and act as if we do believe they will make us happier and that making our relationships suffer in the pursuit of them is worth it. While we are very quick to say that we do not believe, we continue to act as if we do.
Because it is not our beliefs that provide the power here, but rather the beliefs bearing down on us from another. It is the beliefs of the magazines and television advertisements that hold the operative power, beliefs that we have internalized but refused to acknowledge. We continue to believe through the unconscious affirmation of the others' beliefs, thus allowing ourselves to reject, ridicule, and renounce the very things that continue to dictate our material actions.
In the past year, I've spoken with a lot of people who want to simplify their lives, but claim it's too hard. What they believe doesn't always easily translate into action. And, they continue to live complicated lives in the pursuit of things they really don't want.