These days, particularly after spending four years repairing and decluttering my house in order to sell it, I prefer to order most books on inter-library loan. I’ve been bothered by the amount of stuff we threw out in the last two months, the sheer volume of useless detritus. This book caught my eye and I bought it because I know I’m going to need a constant reminder of the subject.
I found myself browsing fountain pens and ink online in the past two weeks, just for comfort, but I have five fountain pens and eight bottles of ink, so it made no sense. I use them all every week, but to get more would simply add to the burden, they would not get used. I wanted to explore these desperate feelings of want that crop up.
Join a group on any subject on the Internet and there is a wild chase to buy “all the things,”to buy the adored object, the epitome of cool for that particular month. The latest baffling trend I saw is for a Japanese planner, which is imported and wildly expensive, has nice paper, and looks not much different than the planner that everyone was wild about last year, except it engenders huge import fees and costs about $75 or more and you can get more than one cover and extras and stickers. Everyone HAS to have one.
It’s strange how I can readily pooh-pooh this planner but talk about a new coloured pencil and I feel the pull to buy it. It is a compulsion, I feel it too for various things. We all have our tendencies for adored objects. As well as attachment to things, I get attached to certain kinds of harmful foods, so I thought this book might have some insight on that as well.
Hooked!: Buddhist Writings on Greed, Desire, and the Urge to Consume edited by Stephanie Kaza.
The blurb for this book says in part:
“At one time or another, most of us have experienced an all-consuming desire for a material object, a desire so strong that it seems like we couldn’t possibly be happy without buying this thing. Yet, when we give in to this impulse, we often find ourselves feeling frustrated and empty. Advertisers, of course, aim to hook us in this way, and, from a global perspective, our tendency to get hooked fuels the rampant over-consumption that is having a devastating impact on the world’s stability and on the environment.
According to the contributors to this unique anthology, Buddhism can shed valuable light on our compulsions to consume. Craving and attachment—how they arise and how to free ourselves of them—are central themes of Buddhist thought. The writings in this volume, most of which have never been previously published, offer fresh perspectives and much-needed correctives to our society’s tendency to believe that having more will make us happier.
Hooked! includes a range of writings on how to apply Buddhist thought and ethics to understand and combat the problem of over-consumption as individuals and collectively.”