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It is a famous slogan, standing prominently on the gates of Auschwitz. In a twist of the most profound, I feel that in some insidious manner, this conception has survived the invasion of the Nazi Empire, and exported an idea equally insidious as that of the dangerous idea that was destroyed in the embers of the second world war.

In the modern capitalistic world, it somehow appears that in the vestiges of the American Dream, and its western counterparts, there is an exhortation to even greater labour, to spend more and more time working, so that one may buy more things, and that in things one will find solace. Work, time spent on the clock and on the job, will give you the means to freedom.

In essence, I describe the triumph of materialism, the triumph of the idea that not only are wants unlimited, but that wants ought to be unlimited. That the main duty is possession, the duty to buy more stuff, to gain more things. So many people nowadays, even I find in my own house, we have so much stuff so much that we don’t ever use. Things bought today, for the express purpose that it is conceivable that some day we might find the use for it. Things bought to satisfy potential wants.

The mind boggles. It is clear to me I think, even at this stage that such an argument is fallacious. It does not follow that continual spending will eventually enable you to buy what it is you desire. Its a trite proposition that money will let you buy the husk of a thing, but the core of it can only be given. Sex can be bought, but not love. Acquaintance purchased, but never friendship. I need not illustrate with anymore trite examples. Suffice with these ones.

The real problem is that of the essential conflict. The few people I’ve managed to talk about this with have recognized the fundamental truth. The things that you want to do our in fact the very things that work prevents you doing. If you work for so many hours, in so zealous a pursuit, you’re not able to do the things that make life worth living. You have a big house, but no time is spent in it. A fast car, but no time to drive it. You have all the things, but ultimately are denied the ability to use them. It’s surprising that no one realizes this. Rather what may be surprising that if they do realize it, that they chose to ignore it. Not preferring to make any changes, or make plans in the management of their time, they just accept that they do not have the time at all. The mind boggles.