In an economics class in my early undergraduate years of study, a professor stated that human needs were ever-growing, and must be met. This, he stated, was human nature and our economic system was structured to meet those demands. I challenged this unquestioned, sacrosanct commandment that growing needs and demands must be met.
How many parents would agree that their children’s ever-growing “needs” and “demands” are sacred rights that must be met? Needs are indeed a core element of human existence, but limitation is equally a part of life. Catering to needs without limitation is a recipe for disaster, in this case leading to sustained childhood and immaturity.
On the world stage, the impact of this recipe for disaster is palpable as the burning of fossil fuels pushes us ever closer to extinction. And yet I hear even Alan Chartock, the very intelligent President of and commentator on WAMC/Northeast Radio, suggesting that fracking in New York is inevitable given the endless demand for more energy. Again, I hear demand as an unquestionable, unstoppable sacred right that we will even let bring total destruction to the home of our physical bodies, planet Earth!
It is hard not to feel powerless and defeated as we watch the world melt before our eyes. However, as Laurens van der Post—Jung’s friend and biographer—once assured me, Jung was convinced that a monumental change in an individual would indeed change the world.
We are all holograms of the greater world. Cast a light on any of us individually and you will find the world; as within so without.
Following this axiom, we are all empowered to change the world by addressing the mirror of insatiability that reflects deep within our own lives. What is it that we are addicted to? What insatiable need and demand reigns unchecked in our lives? What is it we cannot get enough of or do without? Is it self-importance? Can we not help but check our Facebook likes and status? Can we not turn off our cell phones—even to sleep, shower, make love, eat, drive or watch a movie?
Are we addicted to the critic of failed perfection chanting away inside us? Does the voice of failure, doom and gloom dominate every waking moment and every night of sleeplessness, unchecked by limitation? Are we caught in the ceaseless throes of self-pity, itself a bottomless pit of tortured need, unchecked by any limitation? Are we driven by compulsive actions to fill our voids with substance, “love,” worry, and more and more stuff?
If we look hard enough, we will find insatiability in some form in all of us. Even extreme modesty can mask an insatiable need to control the self; even control requires limitation if it is not to secretly harbor an unchecked addiction to power.
Deciding to use less power, to buy a fuel efficient car for instance, does not necessarily solve the energy insatiability issue. First of all, we must question whether an ego addiction to being “better than” or “smarter than” isn’t hiding behind the persona of environmental consciousness. If this be the case we are not advancing beyond a fixation at the level of insatiability. Truly conquering insatiability requires brutal honesty with the self. We must cut through all our self-illusions and face the truth of our habits. Why do we really do what we do? Are we ready to move beyond our addiction to insatiability?
Decisions and behaviors that flow purely from the true needs of the self will accept the limits necessary to maintain health and balance. Every individual who brings themselves into this alignment steps beyond the myth of the sacred right to insatiability. Every individual who achieves this maturity advances beyond illusion into energetic reality where insatiability is properly housed as the quest of spirit to journey into the unfathomable, into infinity, sober of spirit, unending in flight. Ready for that insatiable quest?