Saturday, March 28, 2009

Plenty O' Nuttin'

The Gershwin brothers, George and Ira, were wise fellows to write a song that captures the essence of life. Aside from its catchy melody, 'I got plenty o' nuttin', is endearing for its message speaks to everyone as it compels one to reflect in a time of excesses being violently stripped away due to the winds of change in the global economy. While it does relates to many in this economic crisis, what struck me most about this song is also the emotional and spiritual aspect of contentment in our lives.

Porgy's simple philosophy of being contented with the basic essentials of life is perhaps the most profound to understand or accept in today's world. Many of us have forgotten the fact that when we want something, there is always a lack in our lives; a hole that we can never fill. No doubt, it is great to have ambition and to challenge oneself to be seemingly greater. But the 'greed is good' ideology will result in a backlash for we often do not know when to tow the line and end up in deep trouble. This is due to the fact that our goals and standards are set against others and therefore, we always have this sense of lack in our lives for there will always be someone in a better position or station in life than us. In this light, the greatness that we seek are mere ornamentation against a weak foundation of self.

What then, are the basic essentials of life? Obviously, it really depends one's definition and what one derives contentment from. For me, I derive contentment from both the material and spiritual aspects of life. Materially, contentment comes from the full knowledge of that I am fully provided in terms of food, shelter and warmth for myself, family. Other than that, my economic situation does not matter that much for while I enjoy the luxuries of life, wealth is nothing but an ornament. Therefore, what good is a well furnished house that is built on weak foundations and in a unsuitable location? Spiritually, I am content with a nice, small group of people with whom we can mutually support each other emotionally as well as enriching ourselves by constantly engaging in lively conversation. Of course, my spiritual needs can never be complete without God in my life.

It is only when we stop wanting that we are made whole.

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