What We Really Want From What We Buy
When I was a young boy, my parents took me to my first professional baseball game. A strange sensation that has since occurred many times washed over me. As I climbed the stands, I was saddened because I knew this moment would soon pass. Beauty and beautiful moments can have a paradoxical impact on us. On one hand, they light a fire in our souls, reminding us how good life is. On the other, they remind us that most of life is not like this. Then, we are saddened, yearning for the good, true and beautiful, knowing that beauty is fleeting.
Nobody can prove my next claim, but I think it's true, whether or not it's factual: When we encounter true beauty, we behold something of the Divine. We peer into our deepest potential. We catch a glimpse of Eden, that mythic place of perfection from which we've all wandered and to which we all long to return, whether or not we believe it is a literal place on a map.
We'd give everything we own to live in such beauty, but we cannot. So, we surround ourselves with as much of it as money can buy, yet we are unfulfilled. Why? Because we cannot buy true beauty; we can only behold it.
Could it be that what we really want is not the object we can purchase but the virtue we find beautiful in that object? Its goodness? Its beauty?
If you enjoyed this post, please visit this post I wrote two years ago, which makes the case that what we really need is not ownership but access.