The consumer treadmill

Men do not desire to be rich, but to be richer than other men. John Stuart Mill 1806 – 1873 Treadmills are wonderful — for exercise. Otherwise, being on a treadmill means spending a lot of time and energy but not making any real progress. Unfortunately, we’ve become a nation that spends an awful lot of time on the consumer treadmill. Let me explain what I mean. In the past few decades, the standard of living has increased significantly. Yet our feeling of well being has actually decreased. So many people are earning more money and buying more things, but …
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What are you missing?

There are none so blind as those who will not see. English Proverb During the commuter rush hour on a morning in January 2007, a young man stood playing a violin in one of Washington D.C.’s metro stations. Roughly 2,000 people passed him as they entered the station. Most barely noticed him, though a few stopped and listened for a short time. At the end of an hour of playing, he had collected $32. To the casual observer, he appeared to be a typical street musician in blue jeans and a baseball cap. But he was anything but typical. He …
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Merry Christmas… or Happy Holidays?

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. Roy L. Smith 1887–1963 Last week, one of my neighbors put up a yard sign saying “Christmas is all about JESUS.” I couldn’t help but think that their message presented a very narrow interpretation of the Christmas season, and one that somewhat misses the point. I agree that Christmas shouldn’t be a consumer-driven, consumption-focused holiday. But if we go too far in the other direction — defining the holiday with a Christian perspective that excludes other beliefs — then we’re still forgetting the spirit of the season. Jesus …
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