Sunday, February 06, 2011

Sensation vs Materialism

When society chose to follow the erratic footsteps of the degraded Bacchus instead of the joyful dance of Dionysus, it began to confuse materialism with sensation.

At first glance, I suppose, our society looks terrible sensation oriented -- the flashing neon signs of Broadway, the almost naked bodies on billboards, our obsession with food and exercise. Originally, perhaps, we want these things for the pleasurable sensations they give us. But after a while we develop a craving for sheer quantity and lose sight of quality all together. So it seems that we are materially oriented, and that is a fine distinction to make. We want more things -- more cars, more money, more clothes, more drugs, more fun -- but we're frightened of touch, of making real contact with another person.

Craving spiritual ecstasy, we mistakenly seek material fulfillment. We chase after a phantom, and when we catch it -- in the form of more money, more food, more sex, more drugs, more drinks, more oblivion -- we find that we have been chasing ephemeral happiness when we should have invited lasting joy.

Robert A. Johnson, Ecstasy: Understanding the Psychology of Joy


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