Within our Torah community, discontent is something we often discuss. It’s pervasive in this day and age, and likely always has been.
We see it played out in the exodus story – the people complaining about their meal delivery plan not being as diverse as what they had available to them in bondage. Rather than continuing to celebrate their freedom from bondage, rather than being thankful for the daily food they were delivered, rather than being in awe of the historic event they participated in, they instead obsessed upon that discontent of temporary gastrointestinal displeasure.
Always looking for something to make us feel better, why are we not satisfied with ‘enough’. When is it ‘enough’?
Why do I feel like the dining set I’ve had for 20 years needs to be replaced? It’s sturdy, it expands to seat extra people, it’s scratches and worn finish could easily be covered over. What creates that desire to have more, to replace what already exists? It seems so easy to justify whatever we perceive as our desires – and that self-justification and subsequent acquisition only temporarily lulls that lusty appetite for more.
I could dive into the psychological manipulations of the marketing gurus from decades past, or the social manipulations being currently driven by mass data mining and artificial intelligence. But it goes back much farther than that.
The desire to have what is perceived to be better than our current holdings, our current space, our current position, this drive to have what was not ours, it’s making us miserable. And it seems our species is entrenched with it as part of our genetic make-up. It seems we’ve always been looking for more.
This discontent has upset the entire global structure and clouds our perception of how life should truly operate. We think we can improve upon every natural thing, but instead corruption and destruction lies in our wake. Our self-importance and striving to improve our lots are threatening to wipe out important species, and draining our natural resources.
Where does it stop? How do we turn this gluttonous belly of society into a functional form?
What is your discontent? How can you accept your place, your space, your allotment in life and embrace contentment?
Are you out of line? Am I?